Aged Care & Related Careers
Caring for the aged
If you want to work in the aged care sector, there are several rewarding career options for you to consider – however all of them will enable you to make a meaningful difference in your local community.
There are two major options when considering aged care work:
- Home Care Services are for the elderly who, preferring independent living arrangements, hire carers to provide personalised support in their own homes on an as required basis.
- Residential Care Services are provided in Aged Care Homes, where carers support a larger body of aged clients who are too old or frail to live on their own. Aged Care Homes generally provide assistance with hospital visits, physiotherapy as required, social outings and general needs.
For the purpose of this article, we will primarily focus on career options related to Residential Care Services.
Service Coordination Assistants
Residential Care Centres provide support for a large number of elderly people. Service Coordination Assistants organise various activities to ensure that residents are kept in the best physical and mental state possible; from social activities to foster a sense of community and belonging, to daytrips and outdoor activities to help maintain their health and provide engagement with society at large. These activities have also been designed to foster the development of relationships between residents – as a way to ward off depression, which is commonly considered to be one of the most important elements to life expectancy amongst the elderly. Service Coordination Assistants are tasked with not only organising activities, but also with running activities, while engaging with residents and ensuring that their needs are met.
Research from the National Ageing Research Institute indicates that approximately 35% of the population in residential care and 30% of the elderly who prefer independent living arrangements will experience depression and related issued. It is therefore vital that aged care workers develop the knowledge and skills required to, quickly and accurately, identify the signs for anxiety and depression in older people. Untreated, anxiety and depressions can significantly impact health and wellbeing.
Medication safety for the elderly is a big responsibility that requires a great deal of care and attention to detail. The older people get, the more medicines they will likely have to take. This, combined with physical and mental illness, is not an easy task to remember or to complete. As people get older and their bodies deal with the repercussions of advanced aging, medication is required to minimise damage and manage risks involved with being more susceptible to illness and injury. Carers will need to carefully fill prescriptions, correctly administer medication at particular times of the day and night and keep the patients’ doctors updated on any side effects.
This position requires the ability to quickly and accurately register patients and update records while maintaining a calm, professional and reassuring atmosphere. Medical Receptionists are often the first point of contact between resident and facility, and as such, they are integral to how residents initially perceive the facility – which accordingly colours their expectations and future experiences. Medical Receptionists must also be apprised of all organisational policies and national/state laws concerning aged care – as the first points of contact, they are often required to answer a variety of questions and address any initial concerns which new/potential residents and their family members may have.
Nurses are a pillar of the community, particularly for the elderly who rely heavily on the medical community for both their physical and mental health. Generally, nurses are tasked with supervising Service Coordination Assistants, Medication Administrators and Medical Receptionists. Aside from their supervisory role, nurses are also heavily involved with physiotherapy work and nutrition management.
With the right training, from the right institution, you can go a long way towards making a positive, meaningful and lasting impact on community.
For more information on the aged care sector, go to: http://www.myagedcare.gov.au