Assisting older people from doing their day to day tasks and providing clinical care can be incredibly rewarding
Some roles in the industry don't require huge degrees
Aged care has a variety of roles that require individuals of different temperaments and personalities
Depending on your aspirations and goals for working in the aged care industry, there are a lot of different jobs available at multiple skill levels that are integral to the day to day service delivery.
Working in aged care can be demanding, complex and very hands-on, however, it is an incredibly important career having an instrumental effect on older people and their time in residential aged care facilities or receiving home care services.
Why a career in aged care?
Not only is aged care a great and important industry to work in, but there are a lot of career avenues and training opportunities for future growth.
The roles in aged care all have different responsibilities and require certain skills and varying personalities of individuals that fill these positions.
Besides the clinical side of aged care, there are a number of jobs that can translate well into the industry, including hospitality, administration, primary health and allied health, and human resource jobs, or higher up jobs in corporate, leadership and managerial roles.
To get more information about what qualifications you need for the below jobs, read our article about training and qualifications, or to find out more about what roles and duties you will need to undertake in each role, read our article here.
Aged care worker or residential support worker
An aged care worker or carer tends to provide home care services at home. Depending on the type of care your client requires, you will generally help your client with their day to day needs and follow a set personal care plan.
This could mean visiting a number of clients a day for a couple hours or involve round-the-clock care for a client who has high care needs. Sometimes, some aged care workers live with their clients if they have severe health problems or very high care needs.
This could be assisting with basic daily jobs like cooking, cleaning or transport, or helping with food, fluids and personal hygiene. Also usually respond to any requests or help a resident needs.
A residential support worker works in aged care facilities and assists older residents with everyday tasks like an aged care worker would.
Additionally, residential support workers can provide emotional support or companionship to residents to keep them engaged.
Community support worker/ lifestyle worker
These workers can provide support across a range of places, including in nursing homes, in group homes or in day programs.
Community support workers or lifestyle workers aim to encourage residents or older people to get involved in community service programs, which can help with any rehabilitation or personal development.
For example, a lifestyle worker could put together a calendar of activities for three months that includes balloon volleyball, weekly bingo sessions or host book clubs and hobby meetings.
Lifestyle workers also provide programs in a group or one on one sessions that engage older people mentally and physically, and can provide important social interaction opportunities for residents.
Additionally, lifestyle and community support workers can keep older people engaged with their own personal hobbies and make sure they have extra assistance if required or provide equipment to facilitate their hobbies and interests.
Assistant in nursing (AIN)/ enrolled nurse (EN)
An assistant in nursing (AIN) supports other nurses or health professionals, like doctors, in residential aged care.
Some of the support includes everyday tasks, like making beds, bathing and personal hygiene, and cleaning rooms or other areas in the aged care facility.
AIN's provide the delivery of care and services to residents as well, including administering medicine and updating or reporting on residents' health.
An enrolled nurse (EN) is a step up from an assistant in nursing and can provide a further step of medical and clinical care to residents. An EN is usually a succession role before moving into a RN position.
They usually are in a supportive role under Registered Nurses.
EN's hold accountability for their practice and care, and need to stick to any delegation and supervision rules provided by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.
Registered nurse (RN)
Aged care registered nurses (RN's) are the highest form of medical and clinical care within an aged care facility.
A RN can administer medicine to residents without the direction of doctors and will lead most health care plans, medication management, infection control, and other important forms of care for residents.
Additionally, another step up from an RN is a nurse practitioner (NP), who has more autonomy in their role and has extensive knowledge in clinical care. An NP can diagnose and treat a patient's illness and has more autonomy in their role.
RN's can also provide service in higher roles in aged care facilities, like as a Director of Nursing, overseeing all care and service delivery of all staff, or Care Coordinator, who organises care for residents and sets up care plans for staff to follow.
What has encouraged you to look into a career in aged care? Tell us in the comments below.