Position Paper reveals unintended consequences of Regulation on aged care workforce

A recently published position paper delves into the unintended consequences of excessive regulation on the delivery of aged care services and the overall well-being of the aged care workforce. The paper argues that while regulations are necessary to address instances of poor care, an environment of high regulation can lead to task-based care, diminished independent decision-making, and the development of learned helplessness among the workforce.

One of the key concerns highlighted in the paper is the impact of learned helplessness on the quality of care provided to older individuals and the well-being of the workforce. Learned helplessness is a psychological condition wherein individuals give up trying to control their own outcomes, even when they possess the ability to do so.

To counteract the negative effects of learned helplessness, the paper emphasises the importance of wise leadership, timely feedback, and psychological training. It suggests that fostering hopefulness among the workforce is crucial for maintaining a high standard of care. This involves creating a sense of connection, achievement, and purpose in their daily working lives.

The paper also acknowledges the need for a more balanced approach to regulation. While regulations are essential, they should consider the psychological impact on the workforce and encourage innovation in care delivery. It calls for a shift from a solely task-focused approach to one that fosters independent decision-making and empowers the workforce to provide high-quality care.

“Whether the residential aged-care sector requires more, less or different regulation is a moot point … the best ways to strengthen the overall quality framework for Australia’s residential aged-care sector, policymakers and aged-care leaders should test the impact of regulation at the point of care”

Jauncey S. (2023) Position paper – Helpless to hopeful: Improved organisational
culture, staff wellbeing and quality of care.

In addition, the paper explores the role of technology in supporting the aged care workforce. It suggests leveraging technology to deliver psychological training based on appropriate feedback, which can help mitigate the psychological impact of learned helplessness.

“Technology can capture and showcase the achievements of the frontline workforce, ultimately improving their well-being and the quality of services provided”.

Jauncey S. (2023) Position paper – Helpless to hopeful: Improved organisational
culture, staff wellbeing and quality of care.

The position paper emphasises the need for a balanced narrative and fair representation of the aged care workforce by the media who often focus on the negative and issues-based editorials. It recognises the daily delivery of high-quality care across Australian organisations, often overshadowed by negative perceptions. By addressing the unintended consequences of excessive regulation and promoting a culture of hopefulness and support, the paper advocates for a better future for Australia’s aged care workforce and the individuals they care for.

The paper can be downloaded here.

A recruitment drive will soon commence inviting new aged care facilities to join the combined research program between StewartBrown, ARIIA and Appellon which starts in approximately two weeks’ time. For further information about the program contact Appellon via their website.


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