Ensuring you can easily facilitate visitor access within your Residential Aged Care Facility without diverting your experienced staff from providing quality care is now easier than ever.

Streamlining the communication and visitation for aged care residents is being assisted through the training of Visitation Assistants, thanks to a program developed by Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), in partnership with Altura Learning and DASH Group recruitment.

Already being implemented in Victorian RACF, many of those trained have come from the customer service side of the airline industry, which has suffered major unemployment due to flight restrictions from COVID-19.

The Residential Aged Care Visitation Assistant (RACVA) role promoted by the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) is based on the Aged Care Assistant (ACA) role which commenced earlier this year by LASA, Altura and DASH, to give additional staff to support aged care professionals.

“Communication between residents, families and friends is critical and these specially trained staff already have great experience in helping and working with people,” said LASA CEO Sean Rooney.

“Also, as all relevant State health authorities allow more visiting in aged care, these visitation assistant workers will further assist the linking of families and residents.

“While it is critical to maintain the safety of residents, it is also important to facilitate family and friends visits in a safe way as the rate of COVID-19 cases decline throughout the country.

“This is about providing the most vulnerable members of our community with continuity of care, through supporting care professionals. It is not in any way intended to replace Certificate III qualified staff.

“We would love to see them undertake a Cert III in Individual Support following this, should they desire to remain in our sector, as they derive meaning and satisfaction through caring for older Australians.”

The RACVA role includes enhanced Personal Protective Equipment and infection control training, the Altura ACA training course, confidence in the use of communications technology to assist residents, a police check and mandatory influenza vaccination.

Key duties include:

  • Working with residents to facilitate safe communication
  • Scheduling in-person visiting with families and residents and supporting them with infection prevention and control guidelines
  • Enabling visits outside the service, for example having visits in a garden or other open spaces with physical distancing
  • Assist family members to understand and comply with infection prevention.
  • Using technology-based communication arrangements such as iPads and other devices
  • Assist residents to participate in online social gatherings

Visitation Assistants can also help with meal distribution and supervision, help with mobilising care recipients, assistance with non-intimate hygiene, bed-making, assisting nursing staff with monitoring any changes in a resident’s condition and front of office activities.

“Altura Learning is highly regarded and well positioned to provide the training program to support these roles at this important time,” said Altura Learning CEO Yvie Webley.

“The training has two components, aged care preparedness which is focussed on staff and resident safety, and role preparedness which includes modules on communication and dementia.

“It’s important to note that this role is designed to support the existing staff who are providing care, so the training has been designed around this.

“Included in the training is a workplace assessment to ensure that the Residential Aged Care Visitation Assistant is working safely and appropriately within their defined role.”

“This employment program is playing a crucial role in assisting our aged care providers in one of the most challenging times of our generation and will prove to be a valuable solution going forward,” said DASH Group National Manager Aged Care Sarah Buckley.

“Our program is already being used by Residential Aged Care Facilities to ensure residents and their families are able to keep in touch and support aged care staff. This program is an excellent reflection of how Older Australians are being supported to maintain their relationships with family and friends whilst living within a residential aged care home.

“We already have glowing feedback from the providers and also the Residential Aged Care Visitation Assistant themselves.

“We are offering a unique opportunity for those who have fallen victim to cutbacks in industries such as hospitality and tourism, to keep working and offer their vital skills in an industry that needs it the most.”

Employers and RACVA candidates can register at www.dashgroup.net.au/agedcare