Before I commenced at Altura Learning as the Learning and Development Manager, I spent 12 years working in Residential Aged Care. I still remember my first day in our nursing home. Coming from the acute sector as an Registered Nurse (RN) I had a certain framework in my mind around health care. I have to say that really didn’t extrapolate to the aged care sector! What I discovered is that the role of the RN is completely different as it is much more diverse and far more responsible. I was impressed by how involved most families are in resident’s care and how much better they were communicated with, but I was certainly challenged by the differences in the workforce. I was used to having a much greater proportion of staff who were registered and enrolled and therefore required different levels of training and support but the flipside was that Aged Care staff were often there because they loved it. I also found Aged Care was much more heavily regulated than acute care and was in a constant state of review and change, whether that was a change in the funding, government recommendations or the acuity of the people requiring care.

1. Aged Care organisations are preparing for the new Aged Care Quality Standards effective in July 2019.

Supporting recruitment was one of the biggest parts of my role. To be honest, it was a challenge at times. I know how hard it is to recruit staff that are ready to go, empathetic and the right “cultural fit”, and share the same values as your organisation. Once you find them you want to hold on tight to them and never let them go! Certainly from ongoing discussions with our members, appropriate staffing remains an ongoing issue and will continue to do so when reflecting on the media reports leading up to, and commentating on, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and from the recommendations in the Aged Care Workforce Taskforce – Strategy Report. 

At the moment, most Aged Care organisations are preparing for the new Aged Care Quality Standards that have an increased consumer focus and will come into effect in July 2019.

2. What do you need to demonstrate for Standard 7?

The Consumer Outcome for Standard 7 – Human resources says, “I get quality care and services when I need them from people who are knowledgeable, capable and caring.” This means that your consumers (residents, clients and customers) will be asked that question. How do you plan to demonstrate that?

The Organisation statement for this outcome is, “The organisation has a workforce that is sufficient, and is skilled and qualified, to provide safe, respectful and quality care services.”

The full requirements for this standard can be found here, but essentially what you need to demonstrate is:

  • That you have the right staff and staffing numbers to meet the requirements of the people you care for
  • That your staff are kind, caring and respectful of each person as an individual encompassing their values and attributes
  • That your workforce is competent and has the qualifications and knowledge required to support those in your care
  • That your staff have the ability to meet the requirements of the Standards
  • That you regularly assess and review the performance of each staff member

3. How Altura Learning can help you meet Standard 7?

I don’t believe it’s going to be as easy as showing the Assessors your rosters and training records with the new Standards, but don’t worry, here at Altura Learning we’ve been designing our Learning Solutions to support you so you can easily demonstrate the great work you do.

  • Values driven recruitment: It can be costly and time consuming to perform pre-employment personality tests but recruitment is expensive so you want to be able to choose the right person the first time. Quite a few organisations use our courses around dignity or person centered care during the recruitment process. Prior to an interview you can ask your candidate to view a course and then to provide a summary of the learning points, or how they felt about a scenario. During the interview, you can refer back and ask the candidate how they would have handled this situation. It’s also a great method for assessing literacy and comprehension as well as the ability to follow instructions.
  • Customise our LMS with your policies and procedures: Our Learning Management System (LMS)/authoring tool allows you to customise questions around your organisation’s policies and procedures or values so that you can communicate what really matters to you. It’s also a great way for the learner to recognise immediately that you have a learning culture ingrained in your organisation.
  • Accreditation: When it comes to accreditation, this approach can help you demonstrate from your initial interview you are ensuring that your staff meet the values contained in the standards.The requirement states ‘The workforce is competent and the members of the workforce have the qualifications and knowledge to effectively perform their roles’.

4. How to ensure your staff is qualified?

The most obvious ways to meet this requirement are:

  • When you are employing staff, ensure they have the appropriate vocational qualifications.
  • Employ trainees that you can grow and mould to your organisation whilst they complete their vocational qualification.
  • You can also upskill your workforce with vocational skill sets to meet your operational requirements.

As vocational qualifications are informed by, and aligned to, industry standards it makes it super easy to demonstrate that you meet this requirement with what is viewed by many as an industry minimum.

Our Altura Learning Academy is a Registered Training Organisation that specialises in Aged Care and is able to deliver full vocational qualifications or skill sets that can be customised to your organisation’s policies and procedures. Our Academy builds on our existing resources so we can offer you a continuum of education solutions to meet your needs.

5. How to ensure your staff have evidence of ongoing learning?

Upskilling: If your staff require upskilling in an area that isn’t linked to a vocational unit you will need to show you’ve measured knowledge and competency. Altura Learning has over 150 titles our library ranging from mandatory/compulsory type courses to all manner of clinical, health and safety, human resources and individual support courses.

Measuring knowledge and competency: To measure knowledge your staff can watch our video and then complete our Essential assessment and then use this knowledge combined with their experience to reflect on their practice in our Extension assessment. If you need to measure competency, most of our courses will have a skills assessment in a form of our Evidence assessment to enable you to easily demonstrate this.

Answering specific issues / problematics: If you have an issue or need to update your staff, you can use our Quick Reference Guide as a Toolbox talk, or send them the Essential assessment to demonstrate a specific knowledge. For example, you have had an increase in pressure injuries and want to demonstrate that your staff have been trained as an intervention to reduce them.

Assessing the values of dignity and caring: You can also use our new Case Scenarios or Training Games in our Coordinator Resources to keep assessing the values of dignity and caring by framing questions around these areas. Of course, as our training is video story based scenarios, we’ve already built the values of person centred care, dignity, privacy and caring into all our courses. We also have a whole suite of courses under our Individual Support Collection that covers areas such as cultural diversity, LBGTI, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and Spirituality that will allow you to train and upskill your staff and demonstrate that you meet the requirement that ‘workforce interactions with consumers are kind, caring and respectful of each consumer’s identity, culture and diversity’.

6. Build an educational plan to meet your strategic goals

Our Learning Pathway which allocates our courses to Fundamental, Developing or Advancing levels allows you to plan and build your staffs’ capability by supporting you to develop an education plan that is outcome focussed to meet your operational and strategic goals.

7. Assess, monitor and review the performance of your staff

For the requirement ‘regular assessment, monitoring and review of the performance of each member of the workforce’, you can use our suite of assessments to demonstrate this requirement along with your performance reviews.

8. Altura Learning courses are mapped against each requirement list in the Standards.

Finally, you will need to demonstrate that your ‘workforce is recruited, trained, equipped and supported to deliver the outcomes required by these Standards’. We’ve mapped our courses against each requirement listed in the Standards, so if you need to upskill or increase the capability of your staff in a particular area, just check our mapping guide to check which courses will meet your needs. Of course, your staff will need to have an understanding of the new Standards, so we are producing a course in conjunction with the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (available April 2019) to assist you with this.

If there is anything else we can help with you to assist you as you prepare for the new Standards, please don’t hesitate to contact me at nicola.burton@alturalearning.com 

Nicola Burton
Learning and Development Manager
Altura Learning