Responder Assist is the Centre of Excellence for emergency worker mental health. Our goal is to improve emergency worker mental health in Victoria. Read more.
We need your support to continue offering help to the helpers, including aged care workers who look after our loved ones and who many of us will rely on ourselves for support in old age.
Those of us working in or who know people working in aged care experience how it can be incredibly rewarding, but equally physically and emotionally challenging – many people in aged care have experienced trauma, loss, and grief at some point in their lives, which can impact both staff and residents.
Understanding the traumas that staff and residents have experienced and enabling the provision of trauma-informed care is critical for wellbeing. Trauma-informed care is an approach to providing care under the assumption that those being cared for, or carers themselves, may be experiencing symptoms of past and present traumas. Recognising potential trauma facilitates the offering of care that encourages recovery from trauma and avoids triggers.
Through research, we have found that the need for workplaces and staff to understand trauma and provide trauma-informed care is largely unmet in the aged care sector, and with this in mind, we launched our Trauma and Aged Care Information Hub. The hub houses a set of free digital, video and downloadable resources that have been expertly designed in collaboration with industry partners and experts to improve workforce capability to provide better care to residents and support employee safety and wellbeing in the aged care sector.
Alongside these resources, our Training and Workforce Development team began adapting the Psychological First Aid and Trauma-Informed Care training courses we offer for a range of demographics to reflect the unique needs and nuances of aged care.
Mindful of the different backgrounds of potential users, these tailored courses provided an introduction to key principles of Trauma-Informed Care in a more accessible format with added media and relevant case studies. These are supplemented with specialised programs for staff and managers. The Skills for Life Adjustment and Resilience (SOLAR) wellbeing program, an online early intervention tool developed by Phoenix Australia’s researchers, was also applied to the aged care project.
Through the resources and training housed on our Trauma and Aged Care Information Hub, we can support the delivery of sector-wide, trauma-informed care to provide a person-centred approach that builds a sense of safety, control, and empowerment for the trauma-affected individual, while allowing staff look after their own wellbeing.
The hub ensures aged care staff and managers have access to training in trauma-informed care, including advice on self-care and support for aged care residents living with dementia or experiencing adverse physical, social and psychological impacts.