Aged care providers in the Wairarapa are setting competition aside to pool their resources in the name of quality elderly care.

Arbor House Trust (Greytown), Carter Court Rest Home (Carterton), Roseneath Lifecare (Carterton) and Wharekaka Rest Home (Martinborough) piloted a joint workplace training collective with the support of their industry training organisation, Careerforce.

Robyn Brady, Nurse Manager at Arbor House Trust shares, “When you’re a smaller rest home or independent facility, you don’t have a big organisation supporting you that provides a clinical educator to go and do training. So it usually falls to the clinical manager to do that as well as performing the rest of the role.”

The rest home collective supported by their Careerforce Workplace Advisor, Jo Rea, started bringing together their caregivers who are working their way to achieve NZQA recognised qualifications at Level 3 and Level 4. The managers and their Advisor take turns in facilitating discussions on different topics. They leverage on each other’s expertise and experience and provide guidance on what is expected of the caregivers as they undertake their assessments.

“I think training staff is crucial. It underpins everything. Doing it this way, we share the load,” says Lynley Batson, Carter Court Rest Home Nurse Manager.

Each of the participating rest homes have committed to providing their staff time to attend these sessions once a month, adjusting their roster to support their training. Stacey Smyth, Roseneath Lifecare Clinical Services Manager affirms this: “Management at all levels need to be committed. I think consistency is really important.”

At the group session, there is a positive vibe. Caregivers are encouraged to discuss their work challenges and share how they overcome these challenges in their own rest homes.

Dana Huhu, a caregiver at Carter Court Rest Home says, “What I love about it is you get an insight as to how other teams work and it’s a great way to support each other and feed off each other…learning what works for them. Having the support network is a big help.”

“We’re all in the same boat. We all have the same issues, and our caregivers are finding that. Through these joint training sessions, they can tap into other people’s skills and experience and knowledge to improve their practice,” says Robyn Brady.

Corlette Doherty, Manager at Wharekaka Rest Home support this view, “There are so many benefits pooling resources like this. Our residents ultimately benefit with the quality of service and care our caregivers provide.”

Word is getting out about the positive experience that caregivers had during the training collective pilot.

Following this successful initiative, more and more staff are proactively putting their hands up to be part of the next group of training intake.

PHOTO CAPTION: Southern Wairarapa Collective Staff in Training (Photo by: Mark Tantrum)

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