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12 Jan 2024

Media releases

New training program equips aged care workers with skills to support culturally diverse seniors

 

Settlement Services International (SSI) has launched a new learning program to train aged care workers on culturally safe service for seniors from diverse backgrounds as a proven way to boost health outcomes and quality of life.

The offering is a response to feedback from aged care providers that there is a need for practical training directly addressing the real-world challenges faced by workers. It also offers solutions to the recommendations in the government’s Aged Care Diversity Framework, which has called for better training to support providers in accommodating the diverse characteristics and life experiences of seniors, such as arriving in Australia as a migrant or refugee.

With a target of training 14,600 people within 18 months, SSI aims to help unlock the proven benefits of this person-centred approach for Australia’s ageing population by significantly raising the skill level of direct care workers in interacting with culturally diverse seniors. In doing so, it will reduce barriers for seniors accessing healthcare, increase customer satisfaction and business performance for aged care providers, and improve retention of direct care workers within the short-staffed industry.

 

About the diversity e-learning modules

The online program is delivered in seven accessible e-learning lessons, which can be completed on any laptop or mobile device in approximately 90 minutes. The content is aimed at supporting direct care workers and covers the following topics: ‘what is culture’, ‘caring for people from culturally diverse backgrounds’, ‘culturally responsive support’, ‘communication’, ‘getting to know your client’, ‘understanding trauma’, and ‘self-care’.

Iggy Pintado, Head of SSI’s Home Care Workforce Support Program, says the learning program will support new and existing workers in providing the highest level of support.

“The feedback from seniors is that they want access to support from carers who understand and have respect for their culture, and we know that culturally responsive care leads to better health outcomes. The sector has been crying out for a practical training program like this,” Mr Pintado said.

The program is available free of charge to participants in the government-funded Home Care Workforce Support Program, with a flexible paid option for aged care providers. A variety of customisable plans are available for small and large teams, organisations, or providers seeking ‘blended’ learning with in-person workshops to further extend learning outcomes.

 

Inclusive support approach for Australia’s ageing population

Working Future, a 2023 Australian government white paper, identified that migrant workers will be key to filling worker shortages in the aged care sector in the coming decade, with a total of 110,000 additional home care support workers needed by 2030 to meet the unprecedented demand from Australia’s ageing population. Approximately 37 per cent of Australians aged 65 and over were born overseas, further emphasising the need for all workers to learn about navigating cultural contexts and nuances to avoid cultural misunderstandings in a care setting, which is viewed as a key challenge for the aged care sector in the coming years.

Janet Irvine, SSI Diversity Training Manager, says equipping our workforce with the confidence and capability to understand and work inclusively with different cultural perspectives is central to any worker in Australia. “Aged care workers are working in culturally diverse teams and with clients from a range of backgrounds. This e-learning will take people beyond the compliance level training to something more practical and relevant to their everyday work.  They will increase their awareness of how culture influences them and their work with clients and equip them with information, tools and resources to tailor the care they provide to all their clients.”

SSI’s new learning program has been informed by their more than 20 years of experience, reaching approximately 60,000 people from diverse cultural and social backgrounds each year. Their workforce of industry-leading experts in multicultural engagement collectively speak more than 100 languages. Preview the program for the aged care sector here.

SSI’s learning management system also includes tailored e-learning solutions for local government, with NGO and corporate diversity training solutions added in early 2024.

 

Media inquiries

Tom Hines

Phone: 0423 328 050
Email: tom.h@think-hq.com.au

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