A new online program to embed interprofessional education (IPE) in aged care organisations nationally will be launched early next year, following the successful implementation of IPE programs by two aged care providers.
The website-based toolkit called IPEAC (Interprofessional Education in Aged Care) is being funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre to support aged care providers in facilitating student placements at their facilities.
The new resource is being informed by the experiences of two major providers, Brightwater Care Group in Western Australia and Helping Hand Aged Care in South Australia, which have been running IPE programs over recent years in order to increase professional collaboration between students from all health disciplines in their facilities.
Following the success of the IPE programs and the demonstrated benefits for residents, the Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre is now funding the development of the online toolkit to support the uptake of such programs at aged care facilities across Australia.
The evaluation of the providers’ programs, also funded by the Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre, investigated the impacts on residents, students and facility staff.
Improved perceptions of aged care: evaluation
The report, released this week, found students said they were more likely to consider a career in aged care following an IPE placement.
The evaluation also found the students had more positive perceptions of working in aged care after their placement, and there was improved knowledge of other professionals among both students and the facility staff.
The IPE programs also provided additional support and social contact for residents, the evaluation found.
“Allied Health, nursing, medicine, care workers and pharmacy staff all contribute to the care needs of the elderly and so collaboration between these disciplines in supporting clinical placements in residential aged care facilities provides many interprofessional learning opportunities,” it said.
Toolkit to support IPE programs
Following the success of the IPE pilots, Brightwater Care Group and Helping Hand were now applying knowledge from their projects to create the IPE toolkit for residential aged care staff.
“The development of this toolkit will enable aged care staff to support interprofessional education and practice and to facilitate interprofessional student placements,” according to the evaluation report.
The IPEAC program is a website-based toolkit for aged care providers to facilitate student placements at their sites. It is due to be released early next year.
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