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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 22-31

Changing Practice in Residential Aged Care Using Participatory Methods

1 National Ageing Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
2 Dietitians Association of Australia Victoria, Deakin, ACT, Australia

Correspondence Address:
K Black
National Ageing Research Institute (NARI), PO Box 31, Parkville, Victoria, 3052
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: Residential aged care staff play a significant role in the dayto-day lives of residents yet are faced with many barriers to providing care that promotes resident wellbeing. Approach: Action research is a useful approach for clarifying issues, identifying education and training needs, and identifying, and in some cases overcoming, organizational barriers to change. The Well for Life project aimed to enhance the social and physical health and well being of residents of aged care settings by empowering the staff of facilities to make change. The project had a particular focus on nutrition and physical activity. This paper reports on the action research group process undertaken during Phase I of the Well for Life project. Five residential aged care settings participated in the action research process facilitated by project staff independent of the facilities. The action plan and outcomes from one of these settings is used to illustrate the process and outcomes. Findings: The main findings of the project indicate that using a process that encourages staff involvement in identification of issues and actions can facilitate change in the practice of resident care. The action research groups identified specific gaps in knowledge and skill leading to targeted education that addressed areas of need. The importance of presenting information and learning opportunities for staff in a variety of formats was also recognized, as was the importance of organizational context, management support and empowerment of staff to make change.

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