STEPS TO AGED CARE WORK
Reveals how an alternative path can be more rewarding
Occupational therapy student Trevor Richie wanted to work with children when he started studying at the University of South Australia.
His course work placement, however, was at ACH Group’s Kapara residential care facility at Glenelg South.
‘‘ I hadn’t thought of working in the aged care sector but when the opportunity to do a placement at Kapara came up, I thought it could be interesting,’’ he says.
ACH Group offers students the chance to take part in clinical placements alongside other health professionals to provide a cohesive approach to aged care and to turn research into action. ‘‘ At first I was nervous, especially because my knowledge about working with people with memory loss was limited and all I knew was what I had read in text books,’’ Richie says. ‘‘ As soon as I started working with older people in the group sessions, my perceptions changed. We sing, we dance, we learn new skills and we really just have a good time together.’’
Each worker’s abilities can bring unique benefits to
GOOD TIMES: their clients. ‘‘ At first I thought people with dementia had lost their sense of self,’’ Richie says.
‘‘ Now, I understand they haven’t lost it, it’s just a bit harder for them to find it. The things we do offer opportunities to reignite old passions and develop new ones.’’ It may help to talk to patients about what they gain from the experience.
Dorothy Cooper, who attends the sessions at Kapara, says she looks forward to them every week.
‘‘ Trevor is really easy to talk to and I don’t like to miss out on the sessions,’’ she says.
Richie says the placement also taught him about working with other health professionals.
‘‘ I have a deeper understanding and appreciation for what carers, nurses and other medical professionals do and I feel more prepared to be able to work with them as a team,’’ he says.
‘‘ I also believe students bring a fresh approach to the workforce which can be very beneficial to the older people and senior professionals. The placement opened my mind.’’
Occupational therapy student Trevor Richie with client Dorothy Cooper at Kapara