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Enhancing care for older people living in nursing homes in rural Australia using action learning as a catalyst for change

Penney, W., Meyer, J., Cash, P. , Clinnick, L. & Martin, L. (2017). Enhancing care for older people living in nursing homes in rural Australia using action learning as a catalyst for change. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 14(1), pp. 62-71. doi: 10.1080/14767333.2017.1282635


The implementation of action learning workshops in three nursing homes in rural Victoria, Australia has been critical in the re-visioning of how care can be enhanced for residents. The workshops were designed with the intent of improving quality of care for residents by providing health care staff with opportunities to learn together and effect cultural change. Valuing what was accomplished well in these nursing homes was the starting point. The project was funded by a Commonwealth Government Rural Education Grant and was based on ‘My Home Life’ a popular programme that promotes quality of life and delivers positive change in care homes for older people across the United Kingdom. This paper provides an account of the project including key components of the action learning workshops and subsequent evaluation of the programme conducted in Australia. The lessons learnt throughout this project have provided the impetus to continue using appreciative inquiry and action learning to involve participants in reflecting on their practice, valuing what they do well while identifying areas that require change. Working together in a safe and respectful space provides participants with opportunity to harness their own collective wisdom and as the health professionals in this project experienced, also learn valuable skills that support progressive action that makes a difference to older people’s lives.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Action Learning: Research and Practice on 2 Feb 2017, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Action learning, cultural change, older people, appreciative inquiry
Subjects: L Education
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
Text - Accepted Version
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