As Australia’s population continues to age, demand for passionate and skilled aged care workers is only going to grow. This makes aged care one of the industries in Australia with a particularly promising job outlook.
Whether you have a family member moving into a retirement village or you’re looking to work in aged care homes, it’s important to know the different types of services available in the industry. Knowing the different sub-sectors can help prospective workers figure out the certifications and qualifications that they might need. For future residents, it will help them understand the care options available to them and how it might suit their personal requirements.
Residential Aged Care
When you think of aged care, residential care is typically what comes to mind. The retirees in residential homes require assistance with everyday tasks. This includes cleaning, cooking, shopping and maintaining personal hygiene. Most residents will also need regular health checks. As a result, these retirement communities are often near hospitals and other medical facilities.
Aged care support workers assist with everyday necessities. In such a role, you have to help the residents around the clock. Since administering medicine and health check ups may be required, health professionals are also needed in such settings. This includes registered nurses and enrolled nurses. Additionally, an in-home GP needs to be available 24 hours a day.
In some cases, as a residential support worker you might have to care for younger individuals with disabilities and/or mental health issues. Because of this, one of the preferred qualifications for such a role is a Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention. Other relevant qualifications include a Diploma in Nursing or a Diploma in Community Services.
Home care services are for retirees who want to retain some independence. Essentially, home care allows retirees to have some support while still being able to live at home.
Similar to residential aged care, home care involves assisting with cooking, cleaning, shopping and transportation. Companionship is also important as you will be required to assist retirees when they go out for social events. Additionally, home care packages usually include assistance with home maintenance/modifications and technology.
One of the main differences between home care and residential care is availability. Depending on the retirees needs, home carers might not be as readily available as residential aged care workers. Some retirees will need care around the clock, but some will only require regular visits.
If you want to work as a home carer, a Certificate III in Individual Support will give you a general overview of the legal and safety protocols involved in such a job.
There are three main types of short-term care. The first is short-term restorative care. This is when an older person is showing signs of slowing down mentally or physically and requires some support. Usually, this type of care is needed when an individual does want to commit to a long-term care package.
The second type is transition care. When an older person is ready to leave the hospital, short-term care might be needed to help them transition back to living at home or at a retirement village.
Lastly, respite care is when a carer (usually a relative) is unable to assist an older person for a period of time. This might be due to the carer needing a break or having other important commitments.
With restorative and respite care, the nature of the job is quite similar to home and residential care. When it comes to transition care, however, the job often requires registered nurses for pain management and administering medicine.
Palliative care is for individuals who are unlikely to recover from an illness. The aim of palliative care is to provide as much comfort as possible for the patient. This might also extend to comforting the patient’s family and friends.
There are two major parts to this type of care. First, the care workers must provide relief from physical pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. Secondly, the carer must provide psychological and emotional support. Some patients might need cultural and spiritual support as well.
This is an emotionally challenging job that requires a lot of physical skills as well as a solid understanding of psychology.
Palliative nurses work in such settings. These nurses will have formal qualifications as a registered nurse in addition to post-graduation studies in palliative care. Because religious and spiritual support are often required, chaplains also work in retirement villages or hospitals. A degree in religious studies is often required for such a role.
Before you move into the aged care sector as a retiree or as a worker, it’s essential to understand the different service types. Not having a good understanding of these services might put you in a commitment that doesn’t meet your personal needs and preferences. Consider the types we’ve discussed above and figure out which one suits your particular requirements.