Senior care / Workforce
European Healthcare Design 2017
Design for building an engaged, inclusive and resilient residential aged-care workforce
By Lucio Naccarella | 05 Sep 2017 | 0
In 2016, a University of Melbourne Hallmark Ageing Research Initiative seeding grant provided the opportunity to examine which characteristics of residential aged-care (RAC) facility workplace design contribute to building an engaged, inclusive and resilient workforce.
Download the slides for this video presentation
Method: The research was conducted at a RAC facility in Victoria, Australia and involved:
- Photo-elicitation with staff, who were provided with a tablet and invited to take several photos of the workplace environment that made them feel valued, productive, safe, like they belong, and connected with other staff;
- Group discussions with staff who had taken photos to discuss their experiences and views about the photos; and
- Interviews with senior facility directors to explore which workplace design features work well and which could improve workplace design, to build an engaged, inclusive and resilient workforce.
Results: RAC staff took 29 photos, including:
- Objects – paintings, vase with flowers, caged bird, couch, wishing well, bookshelves, decorations, lead lighting;
- Dedicated rooms – staff meeting room, upstairs offices, staff room, staff kitchen, residents’ hair salon, chapel;
- External spaces – garden beds, gazebo, fountain, pathways; and
- Public spaces – front entrance, car park.
Group discussions revealed four categories of design features that made RAC staff feel valued, productive, safe, like they belong, and connected with other staff, including: 1) having a home-like environment; 2) having access to outdoor spaces; 3) having access to dedicated safe and open workspaces; and 4) the indoor quality environment. An interview with the care director revealed four categories of workplace design features that worked well, didn’t work well, or could be improved, including: 1) having a home-like environment; 2) having safe, open workplace ‘zones’; 3) lack of staff facilities; and
4) the need for more comfortable spaces for staff.
Conclusions: The research revealed workspace design features of RAC facilities that influence staff providing care for older people. These have potential implications for RAC facility policy (eg design standards), practices (eg home-like environment) and research (eg assessing RAC workspaces using Vischer’s environmental workspace comfort model and setting priorities on investing in design improvements).