Experiences, education and support needs of residential aged care staff caring for older adults with mental-palliative comorbidity

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Goullet, Jillian (2021) Experiences, education and support needs of residential aged care staff caring for older adults with mental-palliative comorbidity. Research Master thesis, Victoria University.

Abstract

Australia’s ageing population is contributing to an increased demand for residential aged care services (RACS). At the same time, these services are increasingly providing care for older adults with long-standing mental disorders (e.g., major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia spectrum disorders) and life-limiting physical illnesses requiring palliative care. These older adults have multiple care requirements, including cognitive, behavioural and palliative care needs. However, RACS care staff are often ill- equipped to care for them. The aims of this study were to: (i) examine the experience of RACS staff caring for residents with mental-palliative comorbidity, and (ii) identify their initial and ongoing education and support needs. An interpretative phenomenological analysis approach was used, incorporating semi-structured interviews. A purposive sample of 12 RACS staff participated in semi-structured interviews. The study identified several strategies to enhance mental-palliative care in RACS. The overarching theme was conceptualised as Adopting a person-centred approach to care. This was supported by five main themes: Understanding each person, Complexities in assessing and managing pain, Preventing and responding to behaviours of concern, Organisational provision for staff development and wellbeing promotion and Engaging in interdisciplinary collaboration. These findings may contribute to a greater understanding of the experience of RACS staff caring for residents with mental-palliative comorbidity and highlight areas for improvement in the education and support of staff caring for this cohort.

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/42957
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4203 Health services and systems
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords residential aged care services; RACS; RACS staff; Australia; older adults; mental disorders; mental illness; palliative care; mental-palliative comorbidity; mental-palliative care; education; support; interpretative phenomenological analysis; interviews; wellbeing
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