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Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) is helping to improve healthcare access for elderly Queenslanders by providing aged care staff with free and engaging education on the community services and hospital supports available for aged care residents.
Clinical Nurse Consultant Meegan Beecroft said the specialist CARE-PACT* team – tasked with improving the quality of care for frail, elderly residents of aged care facilities – had introduced monthly face-to-face training sessions run at the hospital.
“The aged care sector has one of the highest turnover rates of staffing in the health industry, so we need to invest into providing ongoing training and education about how they can access specialist and community services for the people they care for,” she said.
“It’s vital that all staff know about the options available as aged care residents are a vulnerable group who aren’t in a position to research community and hospital services.”
The first education session, which focused on behavioural issues, booked out in a day.
CARE-PACT Clinical Director Dr Terry Nash said the 2019 education program would feature other hot topics including falls prevention and managing deteriorating patients.
“Our team makes hundreds of phone calls to nursing homes every week to understand the major clinical issues and community concerns so that those gaps can be bridged with education,” he said.
“We’re gearing the education toward how aged care nursing staff can respond to individual patient needs and the most likely scenarios they will encounter when caring for residents.
“We’re also inviting community support services to come and reinforce what they can do and their referral processes.”
Dr Nash said the education program provided a two-way opportunity to improve processes and care.
“Our ultimate goal is to ensure residents in aged care are able to receive the best care for their needs, in a timely manner, and in the most appropriate environment,” he said.
“We’re working towards establishing a cycle of shared information, where we can provide the training nursing homes want and need.”
*The Comprehensive Aged Residential Emergency and Partners in Assessment, Care and Treatment (CARE-PACT) team collaborate with residential aged care facilities and community services to provide a centralised contact for clinical support, resources and education, and a central referral contact for acutely unwell residents to allow specialist review or consultation.