Introduction to Aged Care and Disability Support
The aged care and disability support system aims to provide compassionate and dignified care to vulnerable individuals. As people grow older or live with disabilities, many require assistance with daily living activities and healthcare needs. Quality aged care and disability services support people’s well-being and independence in the community.
Key Features of the Sector
The aged care and disability sector has various services catering to diverse needs. Key features include:
- In-home care: Nursing, housekeeping, meal preparation, etc., are provided in a person’s home. Allows people to live independently in their community.
- Residential care: 24/7 care and accommodation provided in aged care facilities for older people who can no longer live at home safely.
- Disability support services: Support people with intellectual, physical, sensory or psycho-social disabilities. Services aim to develop people’s capacity to participate in the community.
Workers and volunteers play a significant role in service delivery across the system. Developing a skilled, compassionate and well-supported workforce is crucial for providing quality care.
Delivering Person-Centered, Compassionate Care
A compassionate, person-centred approach is vital across aged care and disability services. Some critical factors for achieving this include:
- It is taking time to establish rapport and trust with service users. This requires patience, empathy and active listening.
- Valuing service users as unique individuals with rich life experiences. Recognising their autonomy and goals.
- Developing care plans collaboratively with service users and their loved ones. Considering their preferences to guide care.
- Respect people’s dignity and privacy, e.g., knocking before entering rooms and keeping people appropriately covered during personal care.
- Supporting people to maintain independence for as long as possible, e.g. encouraging mobile residents to dress themselves day-to-day.
- Creating a welcoming, home-like environment, e.g. allowing people to display personal belongings/photos.
- Close observation and monitoring to identify changes to people’s needs and preferences over time.
- Adjusting care approaches promptly as requirements change to continue providing optimal support.
- Proactively addressing issues causing distress, e.g. treating causes of pain and providing emotional support during grief.
Specialised Nursed Care
Access to specialised nursing care is essential for maintaining health and well-being. This includes:
Skilled Nursing Care
- Registered and enrolled nurses onsite at residential facilities 24/7 to carry out advanced health assessments, coordinate external health services, and administer medications and treatments.
- Nurses help develop holistic care plans that consider people’s medical needs alongside social, emotional, and spiritual well-being goals.
- Specialist dementia nurses and caregivers trained in evidence-based techniques for supporting people living with cognitive impairment and associated behavioural symptoms. Strategies focus on understanding the reasons behind behaviours and responding with patience and empathy.
- We are creating secure environments and engaging activities tailored to the remaining abilities of people with dementia. Focus on supporting independence while also preventing risky situations.
- For individuals approaching the end of life, providing relief from pain, symptoms and psychological distress.
- Specialised palliative care nurses collaborate with health professionals to support restful dying in place, i.e. at home/residential facility, according to a person’s preferences.
- Emotional and spiritual support for the dying person and family to improve the quality of remaining life.
The aged care and disability sector is invaluable in supporting community members needing help. With demand increasing, focusing on compassionate, relationship-based care fit to each individual is critical to enabling health, participation and dignity as people grow older or live with disabilities. Specially trained nurses make essential contributions regarding more complex health needs.
The aged care and disability support system provides vital services to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. As demand grows with an ageing population and rising disability prevalence, we must develop a well-trained, compassionate workforce to meet emerging needs. Most importantly, quality nursed care must focus on nurturing human relationships, maintaining dignity, and providing personalised support that is responsive to each individual. By investing in evidence-based care centred around empathy, respect and clinical excellence, we can enable people accessing aged care and disability services to have the best quality of life possible as they grow older or live with disabilities. Although the care journey presents challenges, maintaining personhood and community connectedness until the end ensures our elders and disabled citizens live and pass with humanity.