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Do residential aged care staff have time for research?

An academic survey carried out by researchers from La Trobe University has found that most aged care staff don’t have the access or time to read research evidence that could improve the care they give to residents.

Surveying Victorian residential aged care staff, the study asked them to list three research priorities they felt were relevant to the care they provide.

The most common responses were workforce issues – staff ratios and retention – managing residents with dementia and the funding of aged care.

They responded that it was a mix of these three areas that was making their job more difficult. They felt they were unable to adequately care for the increasing number of residents with dementia due to a shortage of skilled staff and inadequate funding.

The researchers concluded that although there is a wealth of academic research on dementia, due to time constraints and poor access, it is hard for staff to translate these ideas into practice.

Although the study was limited to Victorian RACFs, the authors believe the results reflect the international literature and likely reflect the sentiments Australia-wide.

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  1. We don’t have time for research, and often just do some “light reading” at home to try to keep up. I believe the department should do the research and just tell us what is best practice instead of enigmatically alluding to it on Quality visits . The agency often will tell us ” we are not here to be prescriptive but that’s not quite right.” Aged care providers would appreciate a little guidance on best practice instead of trying to reinvent the wheel all the time. Time is always short as there is so much to do.

    • G’day Linda,
      Perfectly reflects how RACFs are struggling to walk on a tight rope between and dealing with assessors individual interpretation of the rules. They say when they arrive that they “are taking a snap shot” of what is happening today and then drag up something from six months ago as if it’s current and unresolved!
      I’ve always advocated for standardised documentation in every facility so we all know the expectations. The system we have is just so predudicial and time consuming that we now have to spend an additional forty hours a week on forms etc to remain compliant. It’s nonsense and we are going broke at the same time!