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More support needed to tackle dementia and depression among ageing Australians

Residential aged care workers need more support in tackling dementia and depression among their patients, new research from the Institute of Health and Ageing (IHA) shows.

In a study of more than 250 aged care workers from 21 aged residential aged care facilities in Melbourne, researchers found that employers needed to do more to boost staff confidence in dealing with the two conditions.

The results showed study participants rated autonomy, trust, support and job stress as the most important factors in their ability to manage patient dementia.

Whereas study participants said that job satisfaction and knowledge of the illness were also important factors in their ability to treat patients suffering from dementia.

Lead Researcher and IHA Director, Professor Marita McCabe said the results highlighted the importance of investing more in training and support for aged care workers.

“Both dementia and depression affect a significant proportion of older Australians, with a higher prevalence of both conditions among patients in aged care facilities,” Professor McCabe said.

“What our findings demonstrate is the need for a greater focus on training and support programs for aged care workers and the need for further research in this field.

“Our findings demonstrate the importance of fostering work environments in which autonomy is promoted and there is support and cooperation among aged care staff. This will lead to better outcomes for residents.”

The study was funded by the NHMRC and is collaboration between the IHA and the School of Psychology at Deakin University and the Department of Psychiatry at Monash University.

The IHA is pleased to support National Carers Week; 11 to 17 October.

The IHA is part of Australian Catholic University. It promotes positive ageing by investigating the impact of people’s experience on the ageing process, as well as developing, implementing and evaluating interventions that improve the quality of life of older people, their family and carers.

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