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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.
A recently released longitudinal cohort study[i] 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 during late 2021 and mid‐2022 than in mid‐2021. Across Australia, untreated mental health symptoms have led to health professionals having a 30% higher risk of suicide than people in other occupations[ii].
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.
Director of Altaira, Jelena Giro, is a member of the RCSA Australia and New Zealand Region Council for SA. 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.
“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,” said Jelena.
“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.”
“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.
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.”
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 via this link: https://healthcareheartbeat.org.au/register/
[ii] Reference 2: Petrie K, Zeritis S, Phillips M, et al. Suicide among health professionals
in Australia: a retrospective mortality study of trends over the last two
decades. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2023: 48674221144263.