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Self-Care Matters Aged Care

Welcome to Self-Care Matters (Aged Care), a Palliative Care Australia (PCA) resource, which aims to support all aged care workers in residential facilities or community settings.

Aged care workers play an essential role in our society, which is to care for the loved ones of thousands of Australians. The nature of aged care work can generate a substantial amount of stress, which can affect mental health and lead to fatigue or depression.

As an aged care worker, you may already be experiencing this reality. You may even have realised by now that to take the best care possible of others you also need to take care of yourself.

Background

The Self-Care Matters (Aged Care) resource was developed to assist all aged care workers in residential facilities or community settings with practising self-care to support the quality and sustainability of the care they provide to older Australians.

While it builds from the general Self-Care Matters resource developed by PCA, this version explores self-care within the important context of aged care, where palliative and end-of-life care are increasingly vital, and gives voice to the unique perspectives of experienced aged care providers.

PCA has created the Self-Care Matters resource in collaboration with self-care expert Dr Jason Mills, a nurse academic with a clinical background in palliative care and mental health. This resource aims to support you – whatever your role in aged care – to prevent burnout and build resilience. 

Content

The resource includes five informational videos, as well as a self-care planning tool (PDF) that can be completed electronically (and printed), or printed and completed in hardcopy. A sixth video is also provided, exploring in detail, the process and experience of developing a self-care plan.

Watch these videos to learn more about why self-care matters within the important context of aged care. Following the videos, you will find more information regarding the Self-Care Planning Tool: Self-Care Matters (PDF file).

A Guide to using the Self-Care Matters (Aged Care) Resource can be downloaded here (PDF file). 

Video 1: Self-Care Advice for Aged Care Workers

This video provides self-care advice from aged care workers—to aged care workers

Video 2: The challenges of working in aged care

This video explores some of the common challenges faced by aged care workers.

Video 3: Navigating difficult conversations

This video describes aged care workers’ experience and strategies for navigating difficult conversations.

Video 4: Using a self-care plan

This video shares aged care workers’ perspectives on the benefits of using a self-care plan.

Video 5: Putting self-care into practice

This video explores aged care workers’ examples of and perspectives on putting self-care into practice

Video 6: Developing a self-care plan

This video features an interview-style discussion between two people experienced in aged care—Jason, a Registered Nurse and Marg, a Nurse Practitioner—which took place shortly after Marg developed her own personalised self-care plan, using the Self-Care Matters Planning tool (shown below).

 

Would you like to create your own personalised self-care plan, or reflect on the self-care planning process?

You might wish to download and use the Self-Care Matters planning tool, which is designed to assist you in reflecting on, and planning for, your self-care. The Self-Care Matters planning tool provides a template for the systematic planning of self-care that is both comprehensive and tailored to changing personal circumstances/professional settings. It can be completed either electronically or in hardcopy.

If you need some guidance, you can also watch Dr Mills and palliative care nurse practitioner and PCA clinical advisor Kate Reed demonstrate here how to create an effective self-care plan, and answer some frequently asked questions about the planning tool.

Would you like to try a mindful breathing exercise, body scan, or self-compassion meditation?

The audio clips below were developed to guide the practice of mindfulness, relaxation, and self-compassion to support the use of physical and inner self-care strategies.

Tip: While the first exercise (Mindful Breathing) is short and flexible for personal use in public settings, it is recommended that the Body Scan and Self-compassion guided meditations are best undertaken in a private place as they are intended for private use at home.

Mindful Breathing (Guided Exercise) – approximately 7 minutes

 

 

A brief mindful breathing exercise you can learn and use anywhere to help ground yourself in the present moment. Includes ‘box breathing’.

 

 

 

Mindful Body Scan (Guided Relaxation) – approximately 15 minutes

 

 

A guided mediation (visualisation) to assist with physical and mental relaxation.

 

 

 

Mindful Self-compassion for self-care (Guided Meditation) – approx. 24mins

 

 

A guided meditation to support self-care, self-compassion, and more broadly, compassion for others.

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

The Palliative Care Australia Self-Care Matters resource was developed for Palliative Care Australia by Incite Positive Education and Research Consulting. Palliative Care Australia is funded by the Australian Government.

Requests for permission to reproduce any part of this resource should be sought in writing from Palliative Care Australia at pca@palliativecare.org.au.

About Dr Jason Mills, Managing Director, Incite Positive Education and Research Consulting

Dr Mills has developed Self-Care Matters for PCA reflecting his passion and commitment to promoting self-care awareness and education, particularly for those working in palliative care. His research training and education includes a PhD from the University of Sydney (Self-care, Self-compassion and Compassion for Others), and further postgraduate qualifications at the University of Melbourne (Positive Education). He is a certified compassion educator, having studied and trained to teach the internationally recognised Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) program at the Stanford University Medical School’s Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE). As Editor-in-Chief for the international journal Progress in Palliative Care, Dr Mills holds a keen interest in this growing field of research and practice, drawing widely from the scientific literature to develop this Self-Care Matters resource.

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