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Three workers were full-time and three
part-time. Some individuals only did one
task, such as the personal care worker, the
domestic assistance worker and the nurse,
while others did more than one task, such
as social support and management, centre-
based respite and transport and centre-
based respite and OT work, Dr Aird explains.
Among the insights, Dr Aird says the
centre-based respite workers often had
lunches in 10 minutes “on the fly” while one
of the field workers returned to the main
office “to have lunch or go to the toilet.”
The research also compared how staff
were feeling at the beginning and end of each
work day to note any change and all but one
had the same level of happiness regardless,
she says. The level of stress workers felt was
very low right across the six of them apart
from the person doing the management work.
“We found that the stress that they
felt was really about their clients in terms
of situations where they felt their needs
weren’t being met.”
While all workers carefully planned
travel to minimise time spent on the road
and maximise time with clients, the nurse
highlighted the impact unavoidable double-
tracking had on other clients, Dr Aird says.
“She tried to plan so that she doesn’t
waste time driving because if she spends
an hour driving around that’s one less
person she can see.”
The fixed nature of services that were
inflexible to clients’ changing needs was
another issue raised, says Dr Aird. For example
the domestic assistance worker reported
clients may get more or less support than
what they actually needed at a particular time.
The study also included survey results
from 75 clients receiving community-based
services from the same organisation about
all the services they received from any
organisation and their satisfaction levels in
response to quality of life questions.
The majority of the older clients in the
study were women (86.7 per cent) and
most respondents were over 80 years (60
per cent). All clients were having at least
one subsidised aged care service, with one
person receiving 42 different services.
However, one client incorrectly
reported they were not receiving services
from this particular organisation raising
the issue that clients don’t always
understand where the services they
access come from and that they are being
subsidised by the government.
Overall, clients report quite high levels
of satisfaction with living conditions,
health services and social care services,
which is not surprising as they receive
services, says Dr Aird.
The main areas of least satisfaction were
capacity for work, which was related to their
own concerns about their physical state,
reliance on medical treatment to be able
to function, and their levels of pain and
depression. While the strongest predictors of
quality of life in general were their mobility and
opportunities for engaging in leisure activities.
In terms of the overall relationship they
were looking at, she found “a great mutual
admiration between the staff and the
clients,” Dr Aird says. “That was palpable,
One client reported the organisation in
the study had changed their life, while a staff
member said they loved working with older
people of a different generation, she says. n
Map shows the
combined travel of
support workers over
a one-week period
aaa community care review | 29
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