A PROJECT from the Illawarra Retirement Trust (IRT) Group and the University of Wollongong (UOW) which improves learning environments in the aged care sector today received more than $500,000 funding under the Federal Government’s Teaching and Research Aged Care Services initiative.
The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, said the Federal Government would provide funding for projects across Australia to create integrated aged care teaching centres. Details of the specific funding were announced in Wollongong this morning by Federal MP for Cunningham Sharon Bird, and Federal MP for Throsby Stephen Jones.
IRT Group CEO Nieves Murray said the partnership with UOW would allow for best-practice modelling for education in aged care, through the combining of teaching, research and the delivery of care in the same setting.
“This gives the aged care workforce the chance to have their training in a clinical setting – our care centres become the classroom,” Ms Murray said.
“In this hybrid education environment, students will be exposed to the full gamut of medical conditions and the different models of care over an extended period of time. This allows students clinical hands on experience in the management of clinical conditions.
“There is growing demand for aged care services – in fact, by 2050 almost 5 per cent of all workers will be working in the aged care sector.
“In Wollongong alone there will be a 70 per cent increase in people aged over 65 – this program will go a long way towards shaping an education system to deal with the future demand for quality care services,” Ms Murray said.
The Head of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health at UOW, Angela Brown, said the partnership would allow both organisations to share their expertise.
“Students of nursing, psychology, exercise physiology and dietetics will learn how to apply their skills in practice,” Ms Brown said.
“Researchers will work on topics of immediate relevance to the care of the elderly and we hope to use the specialist courses we have on leadership to maximise the benefits of the project.”
Mr Butler said that overall 16 grants will be provided to universities and aged care facilities across the country under the Teaching and Research Aged Care Services initiative.
“The projects will cover a range of disciplines including nursing, psychology, medicine, physiotherapy and occupational therapy designed to support the training and professional development of workers in aged care,” Mr Butler said.