Good news for geriatric medical training

Medical students and other student health professionals in Adelaide just got access to a whole new aged care teaching and research centre – one of the government’s 16 TRACS funded projects.

Above: University of Adelaide medical students with Resthaven residents at the new Adelaide G-TRAC Centre. Photo by Michael Mullan.
By Keryn Curtis
South Australian aged services provider, Resthaven Incorporated and the University of Adelaide, have unveiled a new teaching and research aged care centre, known as the Adelaide G-TRAC Centre (Adelaide Geriatrics Training & Research with Aged Care).
The new centre, located at Resthaven’s facility in the north eastern Adelaide suburb of Paradise, was officially opened last week by Minister for Ageing, Mark Butler
Developed with the support of funds from the Department of Health and Ageing and Health Workforce Australia under the Teaching and Research Aged Care Services (TRACS) initiative, the new Centre aims to offer innovative solutions to increase the knowledge, capacity and skills of aged care and health professionals; engage in research to improve the health and wellbeing of the whole community; and promote positive and healthy approaches to ageing.
Minister Butler said the new model is similar to a teaching hospital and incorporates aged care services with research and education.
“We have teaching hospitals in the health sector but we have not traditionally had teaching aged care centres,” Mr Butler said.
“What this enables us to do is to bring together the right mix of education and clinical practice to develop a more effective approach to aged care.”
“For residents, that means a more complete service that caters for their changing needs and is more responsive, making use of the latest research and evidence about care and support.”
“For students, workers, providers and the aged care sector more generally it is about creating the best possible learning environment and making aged care an attractive and exciting industry to work in.”
“In particular,” said Mr Butler, “aged care staff will be able to ‘mentor’ students on clinical placements, provide input into, and review curriculum development, and ensure students have practical skills and exposure to working in aged care.”
A new benchmark
Resthaven chief executive officer, Richard Hearn, said he was delighted for Resthaven to be working in partnership with the University of Adelaide to provide essential opportunities for medical and clinical training in geriatrics and aged care. 
“Resthaven has a tradition of working with tertiary institutions to offer students real-life experience in aged care,” said Mr Hearn.
“An appropriately skilled and available medical future workforce is a significant need for the community. We are happy to further extend our resources through this important work with the University and to increase medical and clinical placements in aged care.”
Mr Hearn said the innovative centre, which uses a building that has been converted from a low level care ‘lodge’, has the potential to set a new benchmark in training medical and other health professionals through valuable real-life experiences working with older people in a hands-on learning environment. 
“The potential to improve health and wellbeing, with a positive approach to ageing, resonates with Resthaven’s purpose, to offer outstanding care and support for older people and their carers,” he said.
A unique education and training experience
Above: Professor Justin Bileby and Assoc Professor Renuka Visvanathan with Minister Butler at the launch.
Professor Justin Beilby, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide described the new centre as a major step forward.
“This centre supports better training of our students in ageing medicine, as well as providing us with a base for research into the many healthcare issues faced by older Australians and those who care for them,” Prof Beilby said.
“For our students, this centre will provide exposure to the full range of health and aged care services, giving them a unique, hands-on education and training experience.”
“For our researchers, the centre will become a vital research hub, helping to provide answers to many questions about geriatric health and care, and in turn providing great benefits to the community.”
The new centre is one of 16 Australian Government funded aged care learning and teaching hubs being established around Australia to model the best available aged care, which incorporates training and research into clinical practice. 
The centre is affiliated with the specialist geriatrician service of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as well as the Alzheimer’s Association South Australia and the public health rehabilitation, mental health and palliative care services for older people. 
The G-TRAC centre complements the Nursing Hub at Resthaven Mitcham, another collaboration with the University of Adelaide, through the School of Nursing and Midwifery.
The centre is one of two South Australian TRACS projects.  The other centre, called Vita, is a collaboration between ACH Group and Flinders University.
Tags: g-trac, justin-beilby, resthaven, richard-hearn, tracs, university-of-adelaide,

2 thoughts on “Good news for geriatric medical training

  1. There are actually 4 South Australian TRACS projects out of a total of 16 nationally.

    The other 2 you havent identified involve a collaboration led by UniSA with Helping Hand Aged Care and a project led by Resthaven (in addition to its partnership with U of A for the GTRAC project)

  2. Resthaven has a TRACS Project funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, to develop Resthaven’s Framework for Teaching and Research for all its services and staffing groups.

    This project is identifying areas of excellence for Resthaven in clinical, service, organisational and lifestyle areas, and is exploring how Resthaven can demonstrate leadership in these areas in partnership with the tertiary and VET sectors for future aged care workers and for its existing workforce.

    This project is being undertaken in partnership with the University of Adelaide and TAFESA.

    This project is one of 16 TRACS projects currently funded by the Department of Health and Ageing across Australia, as indicated above.

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