Strategic Action 14
Transitioning the industry and workforce to new standards
Embedding long-lasting cultural change is fundamentally about inspiring people to act differently. It requires galvanised industry leadership to be visible, collaborative, and unified.
Industry leaders needs to actively drive cultural transformation in a manner that empowers the sector as a whole to improve – ensuring consumers and the workforce to derive maximum benefit from new approaches to quality care.
A starting point will need to be supporting the existing workforce to enhance their skills. Embedding a positive, proactive, professional culture across and within all organisations is imperative.
The establishment of the Council was a critical step towards a more transparent and open engagement with all parties seeking to have a respected, skilled and well supported aged care workforce.
The Council brings together, for the first time, provider CEOs, an employee representative and a consumer representative – who together will lead structural change across the industry.
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Strategic Action 5
Developing cultures of feedback and continuous improvement
Incorporating performance feedback into service improvement is at the heart of good practice.
To embed consumer-centred care in practice and creating a workforce more responsive to changing service demands, the industry must embrace a culture that values feedback from consumers, their families and carers and demonstrate how this feedback is applied to improve care.
It is widely accepted that consumers and community members add value to the decision-making processes surrounding planning, policy development and service delivery in human services.
Aged care service provider’s boards or managing bodies should include consumer and community advisory committees to enhance consumer voices in service delivery.
The Aged Care Quality Standards, which commenced on 1 July 2019, has meant that all boards and managing bodies need to consider clinical indicators associated with consumer outcomes of care such as unplanned hospital transfers, falls, pressure injuries, and use of restraints (chemical and physical), all of which impact significantly on quality of life and can be prevented.
Employee job satisfaction and retention can also be promoted by creating an environment that draws on staff insights and perspectives on the organisation of work, care practices and service design.
In September 2020, the Council will release the first Aged Care Industry Workforce Study which will report on sentiments held by the aged care workforce for more than a decade. This study will be supported by the release of industry benchmarks.
Strategic Action 6
Establishing a new industry approach to workforce planning, including skills mix modelling
The aged care industry does not have a standard approach to workforce planning, including skills mix modelling.
As industries evolve it is not uncommon to find industry-wide capability gaps. Through the taskforce consultations it became clear that workforce planning is a capability gap broadly across the industry, as is the approach to care planning and assisted decision-making.
The relationship between staffing in aged care service providers and the quality of care provided is complex. Aged care service providers need to build and adjust their workforce, including the mix of skills needed, to support innovation through different models of care or to enable specific care interventions according to the demand for their services.
There are two underlying and unique workforce planning challenges for organisations delivering aged care services:
- Older people accessing care will be at different stages of life:
- Many are seeking sufficient support to enable them to pursue an independent life in the community, where care services can include a combination of assisted living services and health services ranging from wellness to post-acute care support (where needed).
- The care required will not necessarily be limited to clinical interventions modelled on hospital practice but may call for supporting living well, through improved functioning (for example, through physiotherapy) or safety interventions (for example, speech pathology for improved swallowing).
The care and support needs of older people, whether in their own home or in residential care settings, will change over time (particularly as a result of the progression of disease) or as a result of an event like a fall. The nature and extent of care needed, including clinical care, will vary accordingly.
A number of Council Directors worked with the Australian Government on the sector’s response to COVID-19. The pandemic has heightened our focus on workforce planning.
Creating a modern learning infrastructure
Without significant research into capability gaps, and tailored content development, training investments are unlikely to provide universal or comprehensive capability uplift. Training responses need to be targeted.
The Council has taken an innovative approach to support a systemic approach to digital learning and development, as an integral part of workforce capability planning.
The scope of this project is focussed on development of a sustainable approach to digital learning that is future-focussed, enabling providers to address the current and emerging training needs in an efficient, cost effective and evidence-based way.
The technology capability underpinning this project will enhance the agility of employers to respond to capability gaps – leveraging ‘best of breed’ training programs and approached currently available online.
When commissioning this project, the following principles were applied:
- Learning is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ proposition – standardised, centralised online training packages leads to vendor lock-in, less agility and higher costs over time
- Provider autonomy in all training and development is paramount, acknowledging every workforce and every workplace culture has both universal and unique characteristics and requirements
- The true impact of training and content delivery systems will remain hidden without ability to capture key outcomes-based metrics such as impact on individual performance, employee engagement, team effectiveness, and business-process improvement.
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