South Australia now has a state of the art teaching aged care centre with last week’s opening of the ‘Adelaide G-TRAC Centre’ at Resthaven Paradise campus.
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, said the new model was similar to a teaching hospital and incorporated aged care services with research and education.
“We have teaching hospitals in the health sector but we have not traditionally had teaching aged care centres,” Mr Butler said.
“What this enables us to do is to bring together the right mix of education and clinical practice to develop a more effective approach to aged care,” he added.
For residents, this may mean more complete service that caters for their changing needs.
“For students, workers, providers and the aged care sector more generally it is about creating the best possible learning environment and making aged care an attractive and exciting industry to work in,” Mr Butler said.
Pictured is Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery student, Daniel Girgis, who said working at the G-TRAC centre, had deepened his appreciation of the nuances of working with the elderly.
"All the staff have always been superb teachers, as well as kind and approachable. As a result, I feel well prepared to become a doctor in just less than two years from now," he said.
Mr Butler explained aged care staff would be able to ‘mentor’ students on clinical placements, provide input into, and review curriculum development, and ensure students have practical skills and exposure to working in aged care.
More than 200 older South Australian residents living at Resthaven may benefit from the centre’s stronger alliance of health and research with aged care, medical and geriatric training, rehabilitation and outreach services.
The model project was a partnership between Resthaven and the University of Adelaide with funding from the federal government.
The federal government had invested $1 million towards the centre’s establishment and a further $430,000 has been provided to the University of Adelaide to offer a more comprehensive blend of training, research and clinical services.
“By 2050, we need to almost triple the size of the current aged care workforce and we need a highly skilled and flexible South Australian aged care workforce to meet projected demand,” Mr Butler said.
Professor Justin Beilby, executive dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide said the new centre would be a major step forward.
“This centre supports better training of our students in ageing medicine, as well as providing us with a base for research into the many healthcare issues faced by older Australians and those who care for them,” Professor Beilby said.
“For our students, this centre will provide exposure to the full range of health and aged care services, giving them a unique, hands-on education and training experience.
“For our researchers, the centre will become a vital research hub, helping to provide answers to many questions about geriatric health and care, and in turn providing great benefits to the community.”
The new centre is one of 16 federal government funded aged care learning and teaching hubs being established around Australia to model the best available aged care, which incorporates training and research into clinical practice.
The centre is affiliated with the specialist geriatrician service of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as well as the Alzheimer’s Association South Australia and the public health rehabilitation, mental health and palliative care services for older people.