An inter-university study has found that Aged Care workers don’t have enough time to meet older peoples’ emotional and social needs due to time pressures and workplace culture.
The study, conducted by a team from the University of NSW, Macquarie University and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, has found that many aged care workplaces do not allocate enough time for residents’ social and emotional needs to be met.
The study’s lead author, Professor Gabrielle Meagher from Macquarie University, said that her research shows that aged care “has not been matched with appropriate funding, staffing levels or a mix of staff skills” to address the needs of aged care residents.
“The Australian aged care system has to meet increasing levels of demand, and to respond to the increasing complexity of needs among older people.”
“Care workers routinely observe that older people’s emotional needs are left unmet in the system designed to support them,” said RMIT’s Wendy Taylor, who worked on the study.
“In the aged care system today, overlooking older people’s basic social and emotional needs has become part of accepted business practices.”
Research by the Flinders University and the University of South Australia, conducted on behalf of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, shows that aged care residents receive only about half of the care time they require.
Along with insufficient staffing and time, the study also included high rates of social isolation and over-prescription of medication as factors which led to older people’s social and emotional needs being left unmet.