Direct care workers including personal care assistants, support workers and allied health staff are being offered the chance to learn or refresh their knowledge on several aged care-related topics free of charge.
Offering introductory modules for those new to the sector, and refresher-level content to those with some knowledge of the industry, the Equip Aged Care Learning Modules are being funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.
Targeted at anyone with an interest in the care of older adults, the free course highlights key concepts on contemporary aged care topics and encourages participants to continue their learning by providing additional resources.
All 14 modules cover care-related topics including the role of personal care workers, nurses and allied health professionals working in aged care; person-centred care; palliative and end-of-life care; trauma-informed care and supporting people living with dementia.
Other modules include prevention of falls, wound management and pressure injury prevention, hearing health, cross-cultural awareness and oral health promotion.
The modules, each of which take around 10 minutes to complete, can be accessed at any time and in any order.
There are no exams or assignments. However, there are short quizzes that need to be completed for participants to gain insight into their learning. A free, downloadable certificate of completion is available for each module.
The course’s introduction coincides with the news that by 2031, nearly 20 percent of Australians are expected to be aged 65 and over – four percent more than today.
However, the demand for care will only keep growing.
There are currently around 370,000 aged care workers in Australia. Despite this, a recent report by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) found that the country is facing a shortage of at least 110,000 direct aged care workers within the next decade.
The report, Duty of Care: Meeting the aged care workforce challenge, found the shortfall will balloon to more than 400,000 workers by 2050 unless urgent action is taken.
Australia spends well below the average of countries known for high quality aged care systems such as Japan, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries.
As part of its report, CEDA outlines 18 recommendations that it believes will help address the issue. These included getting more people into training, improving training courses and outcomes, and investing in ongoing professional development.
See here to find out more about the courses on offer.