The importance of volunteers within the aged care sector cannot go understated. They make up a significant proportion of the total aged care workforce, and without them, the sector would simply be unable to provide the level of care and support that is required (Aged Care Guide 2021).
In light of this, the Australian Government has recently accepted Recommendation 44 of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which has direct implications on the way volunteers are deployed across the sector.
What is Recommendation 44?
Recommendation 44 is the proposed Volunteers and Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (View the full report here). This full recommendation is inclusive of the following:
From 1 July 2021, the Australian Government should promote volunteers and volunteering in aged care to support older people to live a meaningful and dignified life and supplement the support and care provided to them through the aged care system, whether in their own home or in a residential care home, by:
- increasing the funding to the Volunteer Grants under the Families and Communities Program – Volunteer Grants Activity in 2021–22 to support organisations and community groups to recruit, train and support volunteers who provide assistance to older people
- requiring, as a condition of approval and continuing approval of all approved providers, that all aged care services which use volunteers to deliver in‐house coordinated and supervised volunteer programs must:
- assign the role of volunteer coordination to a designated staff member
- provide induction training to volunteers and regular ongoing training to volunteers in caring for and supporting older people, complaints management and the reporting of reasonably suspected abuse or neglect
- retain evidence of provision of such training
- providing additional funding, and expanding the Community Visitors Scheme and changing its name to the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme, to provide extended support for older people receiving aged care who are at risk of social isolation.
What does this mean for you?
Following the Australian Government's acceptance of Recommendation 44, as of July 1 this year, funding will be provided to develop and implement strategies to build the capacity of Volunteer Involving Organisations. This will primarily be achieved through establishing online volunteer management services and breaking down barriers to volunteering for identified priority groups (Australian Government Department of Health 2021).
Whilst it is unclear when exactly there will be specific legislative requirements around providing and reporting on the education and training of volunteers, it is something that can be expected in the not-too-distant future. When the time comes, it will be advantageous to approved providers to have already established and implemented systems and processes to support volunteers with mandatory training.
Managing Volunteer Training Within the Ausmed for Organisations Platform
At Ausmed, our mission is to inspire and enable health providers to improve their care through effective education.
Our new Ausmed for Organisations offering is our latest delivery on that promise. Within the platform, you can easily manage all your volunteer training programs alongside your existing staff training.
Organisation Managers can simply add Volunteer as a new Job Role within the platform, add the relevant users to that Job Role and enrol them in their dedicated training plan. This too can be built within the Ausmed for Organisations platform by utilising our extensive content library, your own in-house content or other 3rd party content you see fit.
You also have the ability to report on your Volunteer training independently of all other staff training, meaning you will already have all the systems in place to meet the requirements as outlined in Recommendation 44 b for when they come into effect.
If you would like to learn more, or find out how you can deploy Ausmed for Organisations within your own organisation, feel free to book in a time to speak to us here.
- Australian Government Department of Health 2021, Australian Government Response to the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Commonwealth of Australia, https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/05/australian-government-response-to-the-final-report-of-the-royal-commission-into-aged-care-quality-and-safety.pdf
- DPS Publishing 2018, Aged care volunteers ‘give a little and change a lot’, Aged Care Guide, https://www.agedcareguide.com.au/talking-aged-care/aged-care-volunteers-give-a-little-and-change-a-lot
- Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety 2021, Final Report: Care, Dignity and Respect, Commonwealth of Australia, https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-03/final-report-volume-1_0.pdf