Passionately Improving the Quality of Life of the Elderly and their Carers [Interview][Transcript]

Karen Martin_Aged_Care_Channel_AustraliaGuest: Karen Martin
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: RN, BN(DIST)(UTS), Grad Cert Clinical Nursing Aged Care(CON), Grad Cert Management (Aged Care Services)(SCU), Professional membership: Member Royal College of Nursing, Australia; Member Australian Association of Gerontology, Member Joanna Briggs Institute. Karen is passionate about providing education, supporting lifelong learning and creating career pathways for those who may not otherwise know how to traverse the landscape. Her work at Aged Care Channel (ACC) as Strategic Partnerships Manager and TV presenter with the production company of ACC, Health Television Network (HTN) provides this opportunity. In 2015, Karen is celebrating 10 years with ACC.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, let us welcome Karen Martin the Strategic Partnerships Manager and TV presenter for Aged Care Channel Australia. She is here to discuss their various quality programs aimed to highlight the human face of care. Their consistent and quality learning programs intend to inform and inspire staff to provide better care outcomes across the entire care home. Staff members can make a huge difference to the lives of their residents as they provide safe, smooth and efficient running of their care home. ACC Australia recognizes the power of story telling to engage, inform and inspire staff for the to have a positive approach to care and better practice.


Health Professional Radio

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and today my guest is Karen Martin. Karen is the strategic partnerships and development manager from Aged Care Channel and Karen joins us from Sydney. Good morning to you Karen.

Karen Martin: Good morning Wayne, and thank you for having me today.

W: It’s my pleasure. Now Karen I have I to confess my ignorance here, tell me what it is the Aged Care Channel does.

K: The Aged Care Channel has been in existence in Australia for 12 years and 5 years in the UK. And it provides quality education to staff working in the aged care industry both in the residential aged care space as well as in home care.

W: So you’re like a TV program, your video format but over the internet?

K: Yes, we use IP streaming to deliver the content and it enables staff in their workplaces to be able to use any modality towards us as in their phones, their iPad or computers at their work station and also through their televisions that have been set up to be able to receive the IP streaming.

W: Now Karen you’re in both Australia and in the UK, those markets are quite different in terms of regulation and legislation. Are you associated with the aged care bodies?

K: Yes, in both countries were align strategically with this, in this people peak bodies. Yes it is and of course through this association where it enables us to be able to identify what are the greatest needs for staff education in the areas both in countries. And you are quite right, the legislation in both countries is quite different. We use community as practices around the country, in both countries to ensure us that our content is correct within the guidelines and the legislations that has been laid down for the industry in both countries. And therefore of course some of the content is similar when we’re talking about the treatment, somebody with diabetes and another person with diabetes, some of the treatment are the same. But of course some of the legislations and some of the practices with around how we deliver those services to that particular person with that particular disease process may well be different in each country. What was we might share some content across the countries, of course we make our content area specific for our clientele.

W: Now I notice on your website you say “the power of storytelling, to engage inform and inspire.”

K: Yes, we like to think that we’re leaders in education in the aged sector. And we’re certainly very serious about the knowledge transformation using experts or a subject matter expert to help us with the development of the content. And then as you say we use “the power of storytelling” in other words, we take the real stories of people within their facilities and also or within the home care space. And using those stories we hope that we can engage our audience, we can inform them of course of this evidence based contemporary practice. And then we can inspire those staff to go out and firstly to reflect on their practice, review what they’re doing and take with them new information in order to be able to change their practice accordingly. And I think the things to remember Wayne is that the residents themselves provide us with such a great learning experience. They have a wealth of knowledge themselves and of course to sharing their stories and that the stories about their wonderful life does in fact enhance the way that we learn in the work environment, as well as it provides us with so much enjoyment everyday meeting such wonderful work ourselves.

W: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. My guest today is Karen Martin, the strategic partnerships and development management with the Aged Care Channel. And we’ve been talking about how they take the power of storytelling to engage and inform and inspire staff in the aged care sector. Now Karen as I think I mentioned earlier to you off air, about 95% of our listeners are clinician of some sort – nurses, doctors, and allied health professionals, both in acute care and in the aged care sector – what’s the message you’d like them to take away from having heard you chat with us today?

K: Well first of all, I’ like to say hello to all those people and thank you for the wonderful job that they do. Because without them of course we just would not have such a high standards of care in the country, in any of the countries. And without their passion and commitment to making a difference to people’s lives, our health benefits will be certainly in a lot worse of. Having been a registered nurse for 45 years myself, I do understand the space that they work within and the challenges that they face on a daily basis particularly in the aged care space at the moment with the complex healthcare needs and the high curity of those people coming into residential aged care, particularly and of course now with the home care space and the official government to keep people in their own home and the larger choice that people have this day to consumer directed care. And also person centered to care it is a very challenging environment to work in for sure. I’d like them to take away the message is that in education for all staff is paramount and particularly if want to provide quality care. The only way that we’re able to keep up with what is contemporary is by taking on the commitment ourselves for professional development and helping others around us and this is where my patient comes in to help those that otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive education to provide an opportunity for them to access that education. And by that I mean that many of us have had the opportunities particularly myself to higher learning in life and to be able to continue with my professional development over that 45 years. And I’ve had great privilege and opportunity to have many wonderful places to work. And again with the Aged Care Channel this is yet but a new environment to work in and a very exciting environment given that communicating across the ways and through television, much different to my academic days where I stood up in front of a group of people and lecture them in a hall. It doesn’t matter how the message is relayed to people but it is important that you can engage those people within the learning environment and inspire them to go out and to change their practice where is necessary accordingly. But also to inspire them to keep learning. Learning is a lifelong thing as we know and also within the healthcare sector it is changing so dramatically and so quickly. And by the use of technology and the advancement of many of our treatments these days, it is so important that we keep up to date with the contemporary evidence based best practice.

W: It is indeed. Karen in every industry, in every job there are misconceptions. What’s the biggest misconception amongst your customers, clients and patients that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?

K: I think the challenge for all people and in particularly health professionals is to try and understand what does actually happen in the aged care space. If I can give a personal example here, where I have a 94 year old father who have just so many complex healthcare needs and is in care. But at the same time has taken to calling out continually day and night, 24/7, for staff to know how to the balance their care to be able to assist someone like my father who was one of the very vulnerable people in our community, who needs to be cared for continually. But also needs to have that emotional support to help him to realize that a. his calling out and b. that staff are there no matter what. They’re not going away and that family can come and go. But at the end of the day, it is this wonderful staff who are there to be able to assure him and reduce his anxiety and to enable him to reduce his calling out. Now the challenge is that staff face in the aged care sector, I think people have that misconception that aged care is easy or that those staff working in aged care don’t particularly need to have specific skills set, or that because it’s not technology driven that therefore as in ICU etc. that therefore somehow their skills, abilities, and knowledge is less than what is required in other health settings. I’d like to appeal to people to help them to realize that the aged care setting itself, comes with, is a complex environment. And each staff member is tasked with a complex set of challenges for each individual that they are caring for. A lot of the caring is not just for the resident alone because as you can imagine their families also need great support at this time when they see their older one, that is not quite the person that they have seen in the past and or failing and or unable to remain as strong and as able and capable as they have been in their past lives or in the earlier lives. And this is a huge shift for families to be able to accept this changes in their older people and therefore it is the challenge of staff to be able to help families as well accept the differences and the changes that are occurring in their loved one. So yeah, I think the misconception is that aged care is an easy option for healthcare professionals but I can assure you that aged care has many, many, many challenges and every day the staff are faced with the hard decisions of how they can take care, how they can keep up the quality care, with the reduced staff numbers that they have and also then provide the best care for the person at their center.

W: Let’s see if we can get some of our listeners more aware of that misconception and dispel it a little bit as result of our chat today Karen. Now how can people get in touch with you?

K: So people can contact me via our website, it’s And of course and they can contact the channel at any time and speak to me. And also my email is and I welcome anybody to contact me at any time.

W: So I’m always getting in trouble for mentioning web names and not giving people a chance to get their pencils. So pencils ready people that website again please Karen.

K: People can contact me thru our website, it’s and also you can contact me personally at

W: Karen it’s been a pleasure having you with us today, thank you very much for your time. If you’ve just missed my conversation with Karen Martin the strategic partnerships and development manager with Aged Care Channel, then the good news is we have a transcript of this interview on our website at or you can access the audio archive both on SoundCloud and on YouTube and they are registered on our website as well. This is Wayne Bucklar for Health Professional Radio.

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