A new $34 million research centre will strengthen the future of aged care delivery in Australia.
The Aged Care Centre for Growth and Translational Research to open next year at Flinders University in Adelaide will help ensure vital research leads to tangible outcomes for the aged care sector.
The work will initially focus on four priority areas – dementia care, restorative care and rehabilitation, mental health and wellbeing, and social isolation.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Senator Richard Colbeck, said the centre was an important investment in improving the quality of aged care services.
“This is a big step forward when it comes to ensuring the needs of older Australians in care are not just met, but exceeded,” Minister Colbeck said.
“The Morrison Government is supporting the aged care sector to make improvements across workforce capability, care quality and effectiveness.
“To do that, it’s important for the Government to back innovation and accelerate the uptake of new technologies and research to benefit our ageing population.”
Ultimately, the centre will provide a platform for strengthened care for senior and vulnerable Australians and is part of the overall $17.7 billion the Morrison Government is providing in response to the Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety.
The first step in establishing the centre will be developing a new knowledge and implementation hub.
“This web-based hub will give the aged care sector access to information and products that set out practically how aged care can be delivered in the best possible way, based on comprehensive, evidence-based research,” Minister Colbeck said.
First round of applications at the centre open in February 2022. This will include support for aged care workers to trial new ways of delivering care.
“Workers in aged care will have the opportunity to share their learnings with other services through communities of practice and open forums on the knowledge hub,” Minister Colbeck said.
The focus of the research will be on how care and clinical activities are organised, delivered by different workers, and deployed in different care settings.
The centre will also support sector-wide improvements in care quality by increasing and expanding the capacity of the aged care workforce to access, understand and use research outcomes in their day-to-day work.
Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said the national centre will enable collaboration between university researchers, industry partners and the aged care workforce to effectively address real and meaningful systemic changes for ageing Australians.
“The Aged Care Centre for Growth and Translational Research will bring together aged care staff and our researchers to carry out projects in collaboration with our industry partners, directly facilitating improvements in the sector,” Prof. Stirling said.
“We’ll apply the research through education and training programs to introduce innovations and improve caring practices – because we can’t afford to leave behind Australians who got us to where we are today.”
The research centre is part of the Government’s aged care workforce strategy to deliver vital services, improve quality, care and viability for senior Australians, under its $17.7 billion aged care reform package.
Minister Colbeck said the centre would evolve into an industry-led independent body.
“The Australian Government has provided funding over three years, and a key goal is for the centre to work towards self-sufficiency from 1 July 2024.”
The centre is expected to be operational by February 2022.