Supporting Different Needs: A Comparative Look at Working in Mental Health, Disability, and Aged Care Facilities

Healthcare workers play a critical role in helping individuals with specific needs lead fulfilling and dignified lives. Whether that is working in a mental health facility or disability support facility, or in an aged-care rest home, healthcare workers provide practical and emotional support to help individuals with their daily activities.

However mental health, disability and aged care sectors are quite complex and diverse. There’s a great deal of overlap between them, but there are also distinct differences in their work environments and the kinds of roles available.

In this article we’ll look at the similarities and differences between working in mental health facilities, disability services, and aged care facilities.

Client demography

Client demography is often defined by age, ability and needs. People living with a disability have different needs, while older people tend to have different requirements than younger people.

Mental health facilities provide care and support for individuals with mental health conditions, while disability services cater to people with physical or intellectual needs.

Aged care rest homes, on the other hand, are for seniors who either need complete or part-time assistance with daily living activities such as eating or bathing themselves because they are no longer able to do these tasks independently.

Care Approach

The main difference between working in mental health, disability and aged care is the level and approach to care.

For example, an aged care facility may have residents who are unable to walk or talk. In contrast, a mental health facility will likely have patients who are more mobile with complex needs such as anxiety disorders or severe depression.

The approach to care in a mental health facility is typically more focused on rehabilitation and recovery, while in a disability facility it is geared more towards helping clients with physical and practical needs.

Additionally, working in a mental health facility or disability support facility may also involve working with individuals who have a greater degree of vulnerability, and require a higher level of support and supervision.

In an aged care rest home, the focus is on providing support with daily activities and promoting quality of life.

Hence the training and qualification requirements vary depending on what type of facility you wish to work in.

Training and qualification

In mental health and disability facilities, support workers are often required to have specialised training and certifications. This is because the client population may have specific needs that require certain skills and knowledge.

In an aged care rest home, on the other hand, general support and assistance is provided by staff members who do not necessarily need or have any specialised qualifications.

Physical environment

The physical environment is a key factor in creating a positive experience for clients and staff.

Mental health facilities tend to have a more institutional feel, with a higher level of security to ensure the safety of clients and staff. Disability facilities may have specialised equipment and adaptations to accommodate clients with physical disabilities.

Aged care rest homes, on the other hand, are often designed to feel more like a home environment.

In Summary

Working in aged care facilities is a very different experience to working for a mental health facility or disability services. While there are many similarities between the three types of facilities (such as client needs and staff training), there are also key differences that you should consider when deciding on where to work.

DeoCare provides specialised healthcare recruitment and staffing agency for in-home and community, disability, mental health and addiction, and aged residential care sectors.

Our experience makes us passionate about connecting caring employers to caring people which means we go the extra mile to find good quality, reliable staff. We are accredited as a High-Volume Triangular Employer and can help you recruit and attract staff to grow your organisation, from our pool of career-focused healthcare professionals.

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