The new, cost-effective Aged Care Assistant (ACA) program is promising powerful support for aged care providers, assisting their COVID-19 protection commitment as the risk of influenza rises and staffing challenges increase.

The ACA training and placement program – pioneered by Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), Altura Learning and DASH Group recruitment – is asking providers to assess and register their workforce requirements as soon as possible.

“It is important we build on the national support network to be able to link providers who need a staffing safety net, with trained aged care assistants,” said LASA CEO Sean Rooney.

“The Aged Care Assistant role has already been successfully implemented in several homes, relieving pressure on professional care staff at a time when COVID-19 is challenging care resources and workforce numbers.

“The flu season is starting soon – along with its historical staff shortages – and the benefit of having assistants to provide surge capacity and help back up care staff is a strong consideration.

“Staffing issues are also likely to be compounded, with the crossover between COVID-19 challenges and influenza.”

The Aged Care Assistant role includes:

  • Meal preparation, delivery and dining assistance
  • Recreation and social assistance
  • Bed making and linen distribution
  • Administrative duties

“We have worked carefully with the industry on the Aged Care Assistant role, to ensure it is totally focussed on supporting care and helping existing staff,” said Altura Learning CEO Yvie Webley.

“The streamlined recruitment, training and placement system aims for ease of implementation by aged care providers

“It can be flexible, spanning numerous duties as required, but the overall emphasis is on assisting aged care operators and staff to maintain residents’ care quality and safety during these difficult times.”

Screening for ACA candidates will include:

  • An interview
  • Personality and aptitude testing
  • Reference checks
  • Police Check
  • Influenza vaccination

Successful candidates will then undertake a 10-hour course, consisting of 19 modules including aged care orientation and assistance tutoring, to prepare them for site-specific workplace training by their employers.

“There has been widespread interest in the program from providers and people seeking jobs, spanning from capital cities to regional centres,” said DASH Group National Manager Aged Care, Sarah Buckley.

“The ACA program is an exciting initiative that helps our aged care sector during a tough time, while also providing positions for many experienced workers who are suffering unemployment.

“Aged care providers have two options for engaging aged care assistants – they can employ them directly or use a labour hire arrangement through DASH Group.

“Regardless of the employment model, providers can be confident that candidates will have undergone the same fastidious screening and training program.”

Workers displaced from people-focused sectors including hospitality, retail, tourism and the airline industry are being strongly encouraged to apply for ACA roles, along with student nurses and individuals who are completing their Cert III or IV in Individual Support.

“The ACA program is about helping maintain continuity of care for our most vulnerable older Australians during some of the most challenging times we have seen,” Mr Rooney said.

“We have worked with both aged care providers and employer groups to make sure it provides practical backup, building capacity but not taking jobs away from current staff.

“I encourage providers to consider its great value, especially as we head into the winter season.”

To list your interest in the ACA role, as an employer or a candidate, please register as soon as possible.

Media Contact: Nick Way 0419 835 449 nickw@lasa.asn.au