The model received high praise from industry leaders who were recently invited to attend one of the 33 interactive training sessions designed to introduce the new model to more than 2,000 members of staff.
“What you and your team have 'created' is inspirational, and I would go so far as to say visionary for the aged care sector,” commented Dr Michael Bauer, from the Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care.
The model was developed over the course of one year from more than 60 hours of focus groups and working groups with relatives, families, staff and volunteers.
The main philosophy behind Arcare’s new relationship centred approach has been to shift their focus to the development of positive relationships rather than on the management of problems.
Marie Sheahan, from Charles Sturt University, was equally glowing in her praise. "It was a privilege to attend this training and to see the energy staff demonstrated for the possibilities offered by a relationship centred approach. Arcare’s model and the values that underpin signal great hope and optimism for the future of elder care," she said.
“I think that we have concentrated enough on the ‘problems’ with individual people, our organisations, and the entire aged care sector," Daniella Greenwood, Arcare’s strategy and innovation manager, said.
“Arcare has engaged stakeholders in creative conversations about how we might build on the things that are working really well, and also about what might be possible for the future of our organisation."
The first step in implementing Arcare’s relationship centred approach has been the development of a new consistent staffing and employment model.
“We have asked staff to commit to working more shifts, and to working with exactly the same elders every time they come to work so that strong relationships can develop,” Ms Greenwood said. “This is exactly what families and elders asked for in the focus groups, but the real surprise has been the overwhelming enthusiasm from staff."
Consistent staff assignment has been rolled out in three Arcare residences and is being rolled out in all of Arcare’s 19 residences over the next 12 months.