The aim of the newly established registration body is to restore Australia’s faith in the aged care sector by upholding a standard of practice for workers listed on the national register.
For two years, the Australian College of Care Workers (ACCW) was developed by professional care workers to fill the gap in missing regulation and industry-accepted practice.
The ACCW provides a registration platform for workers in the aged care sector, it sets a minimum standard of practice for registered care workers, and establishes a system of Continuous Professional Development (CPD).
Founder and Director of ACCW, Janet Lawrence, says the Aged Care Royal Commission has shown that the sector needs big reforms, along with increased transparency and accountability, so older people receive high quality care while living in residential aged care facilities or receiving aged care services.
“The Australian College of Care Workers is an essential solution to the problems identified by the Royal Commission concerning the aged care workforce, in both the care they provide and the conditions they work in,” says Ms Lawrence.
“The Royal Commission, through the voices of victims and their loved ones, has uncovered an unacceptable level of abuse and neglect of older Australians.
“It is clear that we must act now, we cannot wait any longer. We need to treat every Australian in care with dignity, respect and compassion.”
Members of ACCW will receive industry recognition as a qualified aged care professional worker, networking, employment opportunities through a workforce job-seeking platform, better career pathways through CPD, and advocacy for the carer workforce.
ACCW intends to encourage confidence towards the aged care sector again and raise the level of care provided by aged care workers and professional carers.
Along with allegations of abuse and neglect from aged care workers, the Royal Commission also uncovered that many aged care workers experience underpayment, lack of training, low levels of respect and poor work conditions.
But at the same time, aged care providers report issues with finding quality and experienced staff to their facilities, and retaining that worker for a long period of time.
Ms Lawrence explains, “The registration of care workers will provide much needed accountability and trust in the workforce and ensure that the negligence of a few is not repeated and doesn’t tarnish the reputations of the many carers who provide outstanding care to older Australians.
“The launch of ACCW is an opportunity for the aged care sector and government to correct past failings to ensure that no Australian is left behind and treated poorly.”
Industry peak body, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) believes this new registration body will allow providers and the wider community assurance regarding the suitability of potential staff in caring for older Australians.
LASA’s General Manager Policy and Advocacy, Tim Hicks, says, “LASA welcomes all efforts to improve the skills and qualifications of care workers and looks forward to seeing more detail about this initiative.
“A national register of aged care workers will help to protect older Australians and employers from employees unsuitable to work in aged care.
“LASA also supports a well-designed National Code of Conduct for aged care workers, developed through meaningful engagement with providers, that is supported and administered through a body such as the Australian Health Professionals Registration Authority.”