Interprofessional Education toolkit to be developed for residential aged care


A report evaluating outcomes for Interprofessional aged care programs in residential aged care has been released by researchers at Brightwater Care Group (Activity 9).

Interprofessional education is defined as ‘When two or more professionals learn with from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care’ (Centre For the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE), 2002).

Those involved in aged care are acutely aware that the ageing population necessitates the creation of a sustainable workforce that is adequately educated and competent to work with older adults including those with cognitive and related functional decline.

Aged care funding partners, Brightwater Care Group and Helping Hand Aged Care, have developed interprofessional student placement programs in their residential aged care facilities. These programs provide training for students from a diverse range of disciplines, including medicine, dietetics, pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing and speech pathology.

As a CDPC funded research project, Interprofessional education programs were evaluated by two residential aged care providers, Brightwater Care Group (WA) from 2013-2015 and Helping Hand Aged Care (SA) in 2015.

The aim of the project was to evaluate what the benefits of an IPE program are in residential aged care such as does such a program alter students perceptions of aged care or encourage students to pursue a career in aged care.

Also of interest was whether an IPE program had a positive effect on residents with cognitive decline as well as any impact on learning and involvement of existing facility staff.

The report provides a brief background to interprofessional education and the project before outlining the four key outcomes of the interprofessional education programs in the two residential aged care organisations.

Summary of outcomes:

  • residential aged care provided an optimal environment for interprofessional student placements
  • residents received additional care improving their physical and emotional wellbeing
  • students changed their views on residential aged care following the placement and became more likely to work in aged care in the future
  • current facility staff improved their skills and knowledge during the programs.

As a result of the evaluations findings an interprofessional education resource toolkit, specifically for residential aged care, will be developed. The toolkit will enable staff to support interprofessional education and practice and to facilitate interprofessional student placements to improve the care and wellbeing outcomes for people with cognitive and functional related decline.

The online toolkit will soon be available to all aged care organisations within Australia.

Karla Seaman, Lead Investigator Activity 9 and 28
Jane Harrup-Gregory , IPE Project Coordinator Brightwater Care Group

A copy of the report is available on the Resources pages at IPE Evaluation Report