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Australian uni to conduct study to future-proof tech needs of older people

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for better communication technologies across all age groups and it is particularly important for many older people who live in aged care separated from their families and friends

A new study launched by the Menzies Health Institute Queensland Australian Aged Care Technologies Collaborative aims to bridge this gap by increasing the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of care of older adults in ageing services through technology.

The Director of Griffith University’s Healthcare Practice and Survivorship Program stated that aged care facility providers and older people don’t know what they need in terms of technology, what’s available and what might help them.

The institute is conducting four surveys about technological needs in aged care – from the perspective of people over 65, carers, industry providers and health professionals.

The aim is to determine their personal needs are and the needs of their community in terms of technology. The results from the data will help develop a website that will help people and inform them of the choices available.

She said one of the main problems with older people and technology was the purchase of items such as phones, tablets, or computers that they weren’t able to operate or did not fix their immediate problem.

So we end up with a lot of discarded technology. The team also wants to know how technology will help with mental health and active health, and find out what people currently use and what they would like to see in the future that may assist them.

For example, nursing homes could benefit from the implementation of video-conferencing facilities to help connect residents with their families and friends if visiting in person is not possible due to COVID-19. It’s all about future-proofing.

This Australian Aged Care Technologies Collaborative (AACTC) brings together an interdisciplinary group of academics, industry partners and end-users, to create the first Australian collaborative dedicated to technologies within aged care services in acute care, residential care and community areas. We aim to increase efficiency, effectiveness and quality of care of older adults in ageing services through technologies.

Supporting those in elder care

According to an earlier article, the University of South Australia will offer a six-month course in aged care as part of a Federal Government recovery package to help upskill Australians in areas critical to a post-pandemic economy.

Drawing on the University’s deep expertise and industry connections in allied health and nursing, as well as advanced online education capabilities, UniSA is inviting applications for a Professional Certificate in Aged Care, starting in late May. The qualification will be delivered via UniSA Online, the University’s innovative in-house 100% online study arm.

The new six-month program will set graduates up for a career in one of the country’s fastest-growing sectors and will be available at the heavily discounted price of $1,250.

It will be open to people who have completed Year 12 or equivalent, who pass UniSA’s entry-level numeracy and literacy test or who have sufficient work experience. The course is aimed at people who have been displaced in the workforce due to COVID-19 and wish to re-train for entry into the aged care industry.

Graduates who complete the fast-tracked certificate will also have the opportunity to continue their studies to complete a Diploma in Aged Care and subsequent pathway into bachelor’s degrees in health, nursing or social sciences.

The Federal Education Minister stated that 20,000 places in nursing, teaching, health, IT and science would be made available through the delivery of six-month online courses offered by universities and private providers.

The courses aim to help unemployed people gain a new skill via remote learning while in isolation or unable to work.

The UniSA Vice-Chancellor noted that aged care has been identified as “a critical area of need for Australia at this time and during the recovery phase from the coronavirus epidemic, which has crippled the economy and left millions of people out of work.

The new short course in aged care has been developed in close collaboration with industry and will offer media-rich course materials, including high-quality videos, the latest technology and interactive learning, all carefully structured to suit individual learning styles.

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