The Sai Medical Unit has recently conducted voluntary workshops on Self-Care for staff at IRT Kangara Waters in the ACT. The workshop addressed a need for staff in handling difficult situations that may arise between staff and residents, equipping staff with strategies to avoid or defuse situations before they develop or escalate.

The Nursing Home facilities is one in which the local ACT SSIO units have developed a close relationship with through service provided towards entertainment and visiting of residents, as well as through a close professional association with one of the SSIO health professionals. A need for training was discussed with the latter who identified a problem that members of the SSIO could provide some expertise in. This addressed situations that can arise through misunderstandings due to age and cultural mismatches between staff and the residents. The workshops followed a day’s research at the facility to determine the main issues and the best approach to assist staff and create a working environment that best satisfied the residents as well as the staff.

The workshop providers included a Registered Nurse with a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Education and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment together with her associate holding a Masters in Psychology as well as having a broad knowledge of Caring Industries.

The workshops concentrated on developing strategies for dealing with potential confrontational situations. The delivery led to in-depth conversations about various situations that are faced by staff. The value of and approaches utilizing Love were put forward and discussed. Scripted responses were also provided and discussed, to enable staff to maintain control of conversations in order to prevent escalation.

The responses of the participants were very positive in respect to the content, its practicality and the knowledge and experience of the presenters. Staff indicated they considered the material worthwhile and would be adopted in their workplace practices.

It is likely that a follow-up workshop will be conducted on active listening and communication to further the staff’s ability to interact with the residents in productive, positive and loving ways.