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Wollongong's elderly care framework

A new framework for nursing care of older people could help banish public fears of mistreatment of relatives and boost the confidence and skills of staff, its developers claim.

Developed by the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia, the Gerontological Nursing Competencies (GNC) framework aims address a lack of specialist knowledge in the care sector.

It comes as Australia investigates the quality of aged care in the country after revelations of some cases of violent and neglectful treatment of the elderly emerged late last year.  

The GNC includes 11 core competencies, some covering pain manangement, health outcomes, and palliative care.

UOW school of nursing researcher, Victoria Traynor, who helped develop the GNC, said it would help reassure a worried Australian public.

‘A competency framework says if you’re working in aged care as a registered nurse you should be competent in these areas,’ she said.

Professor Taylor said the framework will also be useful for both nurses and their employers.

‘Using this framework will contribute to the delivery of high-quality person-centred care by enabling staff to know what aspects of aged care are the most valuable and the standards they are expected to reach in their individual practice,’ she said.

Aged care provider HammondCare assistant manager, and nurse, Alex Blanch participated in a trial of the GNC and said it helped improve nursing practise.

‘So many nurses want to be better at their job and this shows them how to get there, which has a big impact on job satisfaction and ultimately the quality of care we provide,’ he said.

King’s College London (KCL) older person’s fellowship clinical lead Nicky Hayes said while competencies were useful, downplayed on what the UK might learn from UOW's work.

‘Whilst we should learn from other countries work on competencies, we should not attempt to transplant them directly into the UK services,’ she said.

Ms Hayes said KCL was developing a GNC framework of its own for nurses, the results of which will be published next year.

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