Changing practice in residential aged care using participatory methods

Melissa Lindeman, Kirsten J Black, Jenny Gough, Belinda Gilsenan, Keith Hill, Alison Stewart, Robyn Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Residential aged care staff play a significant role in the day-to-day lives of residents yet are faced with many barriers to providing care that promotes resident wellbeing.
Approach: Action research is a useful approach for clarifying issues, identifying education and training needs, and identifying, and in some cases overcoming, organizational barriers to change. The Well for Life project aimed to enhance the social and physical health and well being of residents of aged care settings by empowering the staff of facilities to make change. The project had a particular focus on nutrition and physical activity. This paper reports on the action research group process undertaken during Phase I of the Well for Life project. Five residential aged care settings participated in the action research process facilitated by project staff independent of the facilities. The action plan and outcomes from one of these settings is used to illustrate the process and outcomes.
Findings: The main findings of the project indicate that using a process that encourages staff involvement in identification of issues and actions can facilitate change in the practice of resident care. The action research groups identified specific gaps in knowledge and skill leading to targeted education that addressed areas of need. The importance of presenting information and learning opportunities for staff in a variety of formats was also recognized, as was the importance of organizational context, management support and empowerment of staff to make change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages9
JournalEducation for Health: change in learning and practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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