The Australian aged care industry has undergone significant change over the last decade. We have seen industry reforms in both residential and home care, such as consumer directed care providing wider choices for older people. The Royal Commission into Age Care Quality and Safety highlights the need for organisational change in residential aged care.
What does Organisational Culture Change Mean for Aged Care Boards and Senior Managers?
- Greater accountability
- Increased transparency, open disclosure when things go wrong.
- Adaptability to a changing market with new expectations.
- Spotting what’s important to consumers and creating that experience
- Consumers are more aware of their rights, less afraid to complain or use social media
- Increased regulatory monitoring e.g. the use of physical and chemical restraint
The paradigm has changed forever. Aged care service providers must be able to do things differently. The interim report identified three main areas for immediate action:
- Increase funding for homecare packages to reduce waiting list times
- Reduce reliance on chemical restraints
- Prevent younger people with disabilities entering aged care facilities
Leading Organisational Change in Aged Care
Leading change in aged care starts with determining if your organisation and the people who work in it are change ready.
- Do you think staff can easily make required shifts? Can they be flexible?
- What’s their attitude like to change? Are they optimistic or a little jaded?
- What might be some barriers to change?
- What supports might they need?
- How might you positively influence them?
Create an Environment for Individuals to Change
Most people don’t like change, they like certainty and change involves uncertainty. This creates tension, triggering emotions such as anxiety or even anger. While it’s very important to validate these feelings when they arise, people can get stuck in these negative emotions. How easily individuals move forward is largely influenced by how leaders frame, communicate and lead the change.
Be Realistic and Open about Changes Required.
It’s important to be honest about change. Staff can tell if you’re being authentic or not. Sometimes once the decision to make change is made, there’s an expectation that it will happen quickly. Remember, change is a process, not an event. It requires patience. Often, it takes baby steps to build momentum.
The Royal Commission report provides an opportunity to rethink your business and what areas might need to change. AgeWorks can help you undertake your own audit to identify, what these areas might be, help to see problems as opportunities as well as prepare your workforce.
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Aged Care Workforce Strategy
The current broken aged care system does not get the best out of people. While there are calls for major workforce change and recognition that services are limited by workforce issues (e.g. difficulty in recruitment, suitable skills) services still need to operate.
We understand that increasing staffing ratios, in itself, is not the total answer. Workforce plans and building capacity takes time. We believe that most people in aged care have a positive attitude and want to do the right thing, often they need more guidance. There’s an opportunity now to also rethink essential processes to free up their time.
We also recognise that not all are suited to the caring role and these individuals may prove difficult to manage. Through our human resource expertise, we can provide you with the right technical help. Ultimately, culture relies on the quality of your people. We help you to ensure you have the right people on board, attract new talent, but importantly identify the talent in your existing team and bring out their best. Building culture and leadership is key in the new world of aged care.
Changing a Culture of Overusing Chemical Restraint in Aged Care
Services are now being required to change culture around chemical restraint. Does your clinical governance set you up to succeed? Does it include a well thought out plan? For example, is there a policy around best practice, a commitment by leadership to allocate the resources, a medication advisory committee with ability to engage prescribing doctors as well as educate staff and families?
Our team is multidisciplinary which includes a medical specialist. With this level of experience, we understand the role of doctors and how to work with them. We can help educate all your team about chemical restraint, where it may be necessary, how to ensure there is informed consent with regular review as well as achieving best practise around de-prescribing.
Manage your Culture or Your Culture will Manage You!
- Many people struggle to come to grips with what culture actually means, what a great culture looks like in practice and how to build it. We’ll share our secrets and help demystify it.
- Sometimes when there are frequent changes of manager, staff can become resistant to change. Sometimes managers struggle with getting started, how to announce change so staff come on board and don’t sabotage. We can provide mentoring and coaching to help your leadership team along the way.
What to do if Your Organisation or Board has an Issue with Organisational Change
If you feel your organisation is stuck, its important to be honest about it and get help. As the landscape is changing quickly you can’t afford to be left behind.
The Biggest Mistake Boards and Managers Make With Organisational Change
The biggest mistake that boards and managers make with organisational change is to see it as purely an operational activity. Many leaders have mastered the key steps of creating a vision, reorganising, restructuring, etc. It’s when leaders ignore or minimise the people side that perfectly good initiatives fail. Typically a common mistake is weak and inconsistent communication during change.
Support AgeWorks Provides to Rectify Issues with Culture and Workforce
There are many nuances when it comes to culture. While there are some measures e.g. sick leave rates, cost of WorkCover, there are more subtle areas that you need to be on the alert for. We can help you to understand what these are and how to deal with them so the organisation can move forward and thrive in these challenging times.
We believe our core expertise lies in our ability to help people to successfully navigate change. We are used to working in complex environments that require immediate action. This means we’re experienced at rolling up our sleeves and working alongside people. We want you to be successful in your business. When it comes to change and transformation getting the right expertise makes all the difference.
For more related information, consider our training for leading teams during times of organisational change.
Call AgeWorks today for a confidential chat about changing organisational culture in aged care.