A recently released longitudinal cohort study of health and aged care workers (ambulance, hospitals, primary care, residential aged care) in Victoria from May 2021 to June 2022 found that increased burnout and reduced optimism, wellbeing, and resilience were more frequently reported by Victorian health and aged care workers during late 2021 and mid‐2022 than in mid‐2021. The proportion considering leaving their profession increased from 32% to 54%. In contrast, self‐reported measures of depression, anxiety, and post‐traumatic stress were higher in late 2021 than mid‐2021, but had again declined by mid‐2022.
Continuing support for healthcare workers is required to alleviate the ongoing mental health and wellbeing effects of the pandemic and the ongoing staff shortage crisis. Altaira has committed to enabling healthcare workers to access support through their partnership with Healthcare Heartbeat.
Director of Altaira, Jelena Giro, is a member of the RCSA Australia and New Zealand Region Council for SA and the RCSA Association of Nursing Recruitment Agencies (ANRA) council. Her experiences and industry insight has enabled Jelena to gain a strong understanding of the challenges healthcare workers face and the importance of ensuring this vital workforce has ongoing access to mental fitness and wellbeing initiatives.
“The flow on effects of strengthening an aged care worker’s mental fitness is that it can also improve the quality of resident care they deliver, boost morale, and improve retention rates,” said Jelena.
“Our workers dedicate their lives to the well-being of our seniors, often at the expense of their own health and the health of their families. Many staff are at breaking point and energy reserves are at an all-time low. This is having a significant impact on the aged care sector. We have chosen to partner with Healthcare Heartbeat to deliver Altaira Wellness Grants and other initiatives to enable our aged care workers to develop preventative measures and tools that will help them long-term.” Aged Care Nurses within Victoria and South Australia can apply to receive an Altaira Wellness Grant, where they will gain access to a Healthcare Heartbeat Reflect, Reset & Renew (RRR) 90-minute online session along with a delivery of authentically home-cooked meals by FoodSt.
Recipients of the Grants will learn how to better recognise signs of stress and ideally put strategies in place to prevent this from progressing to burnout. They will understand the 3-step process for embedding wellbeing practices into busy day-to-day routines. The sessions are highly practical with a focus on strategies that can be used in the moment to regain a sense of calm - even when healthcare workers are in the midst a hectic shift!
Facilitator of the RRR sessions, Katheryn Curnow, aims to deliver two key outcomes.
“Firstly, we offer strategies that can be used in the moment when healthcare workers are feeling triggered or under stress so they can regain a sense of calm and even enhance their focus and performance,” said Katheryn.
“Secondly, and even more importantly, is to reframe the mindset and rhetoric of self-care being perceived as an optional practice only engaged in when you have the time. We recognise that our wellbeing is inextricably linked to our sense of life satisfaction, the quality of our relationships and our capacity to fulfill our potential. At Healthcare Heartbeat we are committed to providing science-based programs that support our healthcare workers to thrive – that is to be AND feel their best.”
Ahead of International Nurses Day (12 May), all nurses are being encouraged to look after their mental health and wellbeing. Nurses currently employed in the aged care sector within Victoria or South Australia can able to apply to receive an Altaira Wellness Grant up until the 26 May 2023 via this link: https://healthcareheartbeat.org.au/register/