Aged care, also commonly known as nursing home facilities, provides support to the elderly who either need additional help in their homes or provides accommodation and health care for those who can no longer live on their own. Workers in the aged care industry have to ensure that the elderly in their care can continue living their life in great condition.
As people grow older, their mobility can become restricted and problems start to arise in the body. To combat these problems, there are certain medications and prescriptions that can be given. This is one of the main responsibilities of aged care workers, ensuring that they administer the correct medications. Other help that the workers may provide includes using special equipment such as patient hoists which they are trained for, or even ordering from aged care equipment suppliers if the equipment starts to become faulty. Other roles include providing access to specialised care and supporting conditions such as dementia.
Besides medical assistance, there are still other responsibilities for aged care workers to ensure the residents’ well-being while being in their care. Aside from their health, their safety is also an important aspect to ensure. There are many training modules that workers go through to make sure that they know how to handle the residents’ safety properly. These include safe work practices, learning policies such as disinfection and sanitation, learning how to use equipment properly, implementing anti-fall strategies and learning infection control strategies in hospitals. Should any accidents happen, the staff would be required to submit an incident report.
Aside from these serious responsibilities involving the residents’ physical health and well-being, there are also other things that aged care workers do for their mental health. These are the jobs that differ in each aged care workplace, as many different activities can be added. These include things such as weekly events; perhaps a game of bingo every Monday. There’s also arts and crafts activities, group discussion sessions, exercise sessions and many others. There could also be activities for specific residents such as puzzle therapy or even simple things such as having discussions and reminiscing about their past. Music therapy has become increasingly common in aged care facilities. This form of therapy has been proven to have mostly positive outcomes on aged care residents, particularly those that are suffering from dementia. Music and song, in many cases, has temporarily reconnected those suffering with dementia with their loved ones and assisted with memory loss. Aged care workers often choose to play music to residents in an effort to improve their quality of life.
Although these procedures and activities are set in place, there are still other things that could be added to improve the aged care sector. There are some things used that can have other uses aside from their normal use, such as an air compressor. Sometimes, aged care homes may have issues with understaffing, lack of appropriate equipment or old and faulty equipment. For example, an air compressor is used in aged care facilities for equipment such as ventilators. With the recent worldwide virus, air compressors became more needed for ICU beds and ventilator functions. With a survey consisting of ICU directors, it was found that intensive care bed capacity may be increased by 191%, ventilator numbers by 120% and additional staff needed by 250%. To help with this problem, aged care facilities could, if they have not already, partner with an air compressor service to meet the high demand. As an alternative to just normally renting air compressors.
Other than for this use, an air compressor can also be used for more decorative purposes. Décor and design techniques may not seem significant against ensuring the resident’s safety and well-being, however, as the residents in aged care homes are spending most if not all their time in the facility, it’s also important to make them feel like they’re as close to being at home as possible. Some aged care homes even build their facility to imitate that of a closed community, with individual or shared small houses with gardens. Some residents may get homesick and so it’s important to try and eliminate or limit that feeling by making the facility feel more like a home than a hospital. One of the ways to improve décor is to add an aquarium. Studies have shown that there are positive benefits of human interactions with pets, including reducing stress. Although dogs are great pets, they may have present some disadvantages if brought to aged care facilities. Fish, on the other hand, do not require human interaction, which provides fewer risks such as allergies. This is where the use of an air compressor comes in, as it can be used to bubble these aquariums. The facility could lease an air compressor for this purpose.
With the importance and prominence of aged care facilities, the need for improvement will always be present to ensure that the facilities are always giving the best quality service to all residents. There have been recent changes by the government to try and improve the service quality and safety in aged care facilities. These include improvements such as establishing a real-time information sharing system and restricting the use of physical and chemical restraints.
Physical restraints refer the use of equipment such as belts or straps to limit mobility and restrict the free movement of residents. Chemical restraints refer to medication given to control the behaviour of residents, such as lashing out or shouting. Minister Ken Wyatt, in his media release speech, said that restraints should only be used as a last resort, and so the changes in regulation intend to minimise the inappropriate use of restraints. It is now required for providers to satisfy several conditions before restraints can be used. This includes an approved assessment by a health practitioner. Aged care facilities will always be around, and with Australia’s ageing population, aged care workers will continue to be needed. To ensure that the elderly in aged care continue to have a high-quality life, improvements will continue to be made for years to come.