A handbook for people who work in residential aged care
“The royal commission heard 50 per cent of residents in aged care are depressed and getting treatment for mental health is impossible.” Sydney Morning Herald 15.7.20
In Australia, the accreditation process for residential aged care homes that receive government funding, comprises of announced and unannounced visits by assessors from officials from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission assess whether or not individual care homes are complying with The Aged Care Quality Standards. These Aged Care Quality Standards revolve around the individual, with a focus on the identity, culture, and physical, emotional, spiritual etc. wellbeing of each resident.
Quality Standard 4.3b: ‘Services and supports for daily living promote each consumer’s emotional, spiritual and psychological wellbeing.’
The Aged Care Quality Standards, which came into effect on 1st July 2019 are made up of eight standards, with many of these standards relating to the emotional wellbeing of residents, yet very few staff have training in this area. Most employees in aged care homes are so task-focused, with often unreasonable workloads that there isn’t time to provide the emotional care, apart from small pockets of time. I recommended each care home have a dedicated emotional support carer. Some do. They are often called Chaplains or Pastoral Care Coordinators. Most care homes however, leave it up to the Leisure and Lifestyle team members to provide emotional care, yet their time and expertise in this field are limited. This manual is designed to equip anyone involved (including cleaners and office staff etc.) in residential aged care, so they can confidently attend to the emotional care needs of the residents.