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Residential aged care providers have a little over a week to participate in a DoHA-funded, ANF project into staffing inputs and residential care needs.

By Yasmin Noone

Residential aged care providers have a little over one week to get involved in a Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) funded project which will attempt to find out how staff are being hired, rostered on to work, and organised in aged care facilities across the country.

The Staffing Inputs and Residential Care Needs project, conducted by the by Applied Aged Care Solutions (AACS) on behalf of the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF), will create a picture of what the Australian residential aged care workforce looks like.

Through the collection of extensive survey material, the project will yield information on how many staff are being rostered on to work with residents, what various shifts are like, what the skills mix employed is, what type of care needs specific staff tend to and how care is provided.

Managing director of AACS, Dr Richard Rosewarne, said the confidential survey will ask detailed information about a facility’s 24-hour roster over a two-week period. And although it takes around four-hours to complete, he said, the end-result will be worth it.

“We are trying to look at what each type of staff does in relation to the care of residents and how that differs for different types of residents,” Dr Rosewarne said.

“The project will look at the sort of residents that staff are caring for. It won’t be looking at staff ratios but it will describe how people are responding to residents in the care provided and how this care varies across the sector.

“The information provided will help the industry, government and consumers to look at how it can support residents.”

The survey results will also help to identify and inform models of care and other factors that should influence staffing levels and skills mix in the future.

Around 180 facilities have been involved since the project first kicked off in July last year.

“To get involved, people have to complete a survey that covers nursing, lifestyle and allied health roles. They will answer questions about their facility’s roster like when staff worked, how long they worked for and what roles they have.

“…We’d like to get around 250 facilities to participate – the more the merrier as a larger data sample will give us a broader picture of the sector, to report back to the sector.”

A spokesperson for the ANF has confirmed that the union will not use the results.

When data collection by AACS has been complete, the survey results will be presented to DOHA to provide the government with an overview of the sector as a whole.

Specific feedback will be given at various feedback sessions held throughout the country, after the results are released in September this year.

DoHA funding was provided to the union as part of the 2010/11 Federal Budget after it indicated it was willing and able to manage the project in collaboration with industry stakeholders. 

“The report that produced will enable the industry and government to assess and deal with the of staffing and skills mix into the future,” a spokesperson for the ANF said.

“It’s important to determine the link between staffing levels and quality care…And it’s important that facilities get involved.”

Organisations have until June 8 to participate. However, Dr Richard Rosewarne said, the deadline can be extended for facilities that complete the survey close to the closing date.

To register, contact Dr Richard Rosewarne or Sergio Salzano at Applied Aged Care Solutions (03) 9836 8852 or fax (03) 9836 8853 or via email: helpdesk@agedcaresolutions.com

Tags: 201011-federal-budget, aacs, anf, doha, rosewarne, roster, skills-mix,

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