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What is person-centred care for older people, and why is it important?

by Elizabeth Harmon

Like many developed countries, Australia has an ageing population. In 2017, 15% of Australia’s population were aged 65 and over. This equates to 3.8 million people. Yet, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare predicts that by 2057, this will rapidly rise to 22%. By 2097, this will increase further to 25% or 12.8 million people in Australia.

With a longer life expectancy, there is a growing need for services in the health and aged care sector. But are the current systems sufficient, or would person-centred care for older people positively affect individuals and even the economy?

What is person-centred care for older people?

Traditionally, professionals have made decisions for patients based on symptoms and scientific evidence. But whereas this focuses on someone’s physical state, it is now understood that emotional needs can be equally as important. As a result, there is now a shift towards more person-centred care for older people.

Person-centred care

Although there is no single definition of person-centred care, it refers to patients being respectfully treated as an individual. Their needs, values and preferences are considered at all stages, from planning and delivery to evaluation. Patients and their families (or those significant to the patient) have their voices heard and are put at the centre of every decision. Professionals work alongside them to find the very best solutions for everyone.

For those working in the aged care industry, it means taking the time to understand what is important to every patient. It requires building their trust and working together to create individualised care plans.

Why is person-centred health care necessary?

An increasing amount of research is being carried out to understand the benefits of person-centred health care, with more still needing to be done.

But by considering the views of the patient, the overall outcomes can be far more effective. It can also create a much more positive experience for the individual, family members and care professionals. This will ultimately help to improve the quality of life for the ageing population.

One interesting piece of completed research is from The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare. This suggests that patient-centred care also helps to decrease costs. With the government already spending billions per year on the aged care sector, this change could help reduce pressure on already overstretched systems and ease the ageing population’s financial strain on Australia.

Develop a rewarding career in person-centred care for older people

Are you interested in a career in senior care? You’ll need plenty of patience, strong communication skills, be able to provide emotional support and be responsive to the needs of others. In return, you’ll find that working in senior care can be incredibly rewarding. Each day, you’ll know that you’re making a real difference in the lives of many elderly people. Plus, there will likely be lots of exciting changes to come, as person-centred care is more widely adopted throughout the country.

Personal care giver

Whether you decide to become a Personal Care Giver, Respite Care Worker, or Accommodation Support Worker, working in the public or private sectors, providing excellent person-centred care is essential. To give this confidently, effectively, and safely, you’ll need to develop your skills and further your knowledge of various concepts and practices. Get started with the CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) course, which includes some practical work placement components too. It’s delivered and awarded by experienced Registered Training Organisation (RTO), alffie.

This course will help you learn how to follow established person-centred behaviour supports, work legally and ethically, provide individualised care plans, support independence and wellbeing, facilitate the empowerment of older people and much more.

Enrol in CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) and start your journey today towards a more rewarding career, providing person-centred care for older people across Australia.

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