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ACH Group innovation recognised in national aged care award

hesta innovation winner

ACH Group’s work to attract more nurses to the aged care sector has been recognised in the 2019 HESTA Aged Care Awards announced yesterday.

ACH Group’s Student Placement Team has taken out the Team Innovation category in the awards, which recognise Australia’s most innovative and proactive aged care organisations, teams and individuals.

ACH Group was one of four finalists in its category and 12 finalists in the national awards.

Samantha Manoel, Student Placement Manager at ACH Group, said the award provided recognition of the organisation’s aim to attract more nursing students to work in aged care by developing a strategy to improve the experience students have during their university placements with ACH Group.

“We identified that negative stereotypes were a significant factor in the shortage of nurses working in the sector,” Ms Manoel said. “We set out to develop a strategy to demonstrate first-hand to students that working in aged care can be a rewarding job and career.”

The team has developed a number of student placement initiatives to change student perceptions, including a pre-placement education day, providing an informative online orientation, developing an induction booklet and conducting pre- and post-placement student evaluations. Since these changes in 2012, more than 4,000 students have had placements in ACH Group services.

“Post-placement feedback shows that students now consider aged care as a unique and dynamic work environment, with 68 per cent of students saying they were interested in working in aged care compared to only 40 per cent who said they were interested prior to their placement.”

Ms Manoel said pre-placement education day touched on a range of areas including healthy ageing, dementia, the admissions process and relationship building. “We find that this day helps alleviate any stress or uncertainty about working in an aged care environment,” she said. “Students are given an insight into all aspects of care from all disciplines, including allied health offerings and early intervention initiatives. We want people to understand that the aged care workplace is a place that’s dynamic, and that it’s about supporting people to live a good life.”

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said this year’s finalists were selected for their outstanding compassion, leadership and innovation in improving services and standards of care in the aged care sector.

“This year’s finalists have pushed the boundaries and developed innovative services and programs that rise to the challenge of providing high-quality care to the growing number of ageing Australians,” Ms Blakey said.