Support workers as agents for health behavior change: An Australian study of the perceptions of clients with complex needs, support workers, and care coordinators

Sharon Lawn, Tania Westwood, Sarah Jordans, Julianne O’Connor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    35 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    An expanding aging population has placed increased demands on health care resources in many countries. Enhancing community aged care support workers’ role to support greater client self-management and reablement is therefore timely. This article presents perceptions of the impact of an Australian practice change initiative designed to enhance knowledge, skills, and confidence of support workers to support behavior change in clients with complex health care needs. A comprehensive training program was delivered in 2013. Methods included thematic analysis of interviews with clients, focus groups with support workers and coordinators, and collection of case studies of client/support worker behavior change interactions. Client, support worker, and coordinator responses were highly positive, reporting improvement in the quality of interactions with clients, client health outcomes, care coordination, communication, and teamwork. Mental health literacy remained the biggest knowledge gap. This research showed that support workers are ideally placed to be more actively involved in motivating clients to achieve behavior change goals.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)496-516
    Number of pages21
    JournalGerontology and Geriatrics Education
    Volume38
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

    Keywords

    • Behavior change
    • care workers
    • community aged care
    • complexity
    • education and training
    • goal setting
    • motivation
    • support workers

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