Carers SA have recently undertaken multiple projects, underpinned by person-centred principles and capacity building approaches, to better position the organisation in working with carers against the backdrop of ever-evolving systems like health care reforms, My Aged Care and the NDIS.  To complement these projects, Carers SA is also adopting person-centred principles and capacity building approaches with organisational staff through the implementation of a reflective practice framework.

A reflective practice framework supports Carers SA staff to engage with person-centred and capacity building within their own work environments as a mechanism of support for their ongoing personal and professional development.  This is particularly significant given the multiple system changes facing the community services sector and the need to do more with less.  Thus, reflective practice backs the empowerment of staff to work collaboratively, cohesively and with confidence in decision making and engagement – with their colleagues and ultimately, with carers.

That said, good reflection takes time, energy, preparation and practice.  At the individual level, commitment, knowledge, skills and attitude are primary factors for holistic reflection.  While at the organisational level, investment in time, education and creating a supportive environment are considered vital for staff to achieve successful reflective practice outcomes and embed reflective practice as a critical component of organisational culture.

Through the embedding of an organisational reflective practice framework, Carers SA is demonstrating a commitment to staff to develop personal and professional goals, because it incorporates the how of work (practice knowledge and skills) as well as the why (values, beliefs and motivations) in order to improve individual and team performance, enhance innovation, and to provide the best service possible to support carers in our community.

Reflective practice also supports staff to question actions, behaviours and emotions are framed according to our personal and cultural histories, values, and experiences but also shaped by the social and political contexts at any given time.  These are important factors for any values-based organisation to consider when seeking to enhance staff’s capacity to work alongside carers.  An investment in our staff is an investment in our carers.

Natasha Boots
Carers SA, Organisational Development Project Manager