Adding life to years
Text size:

An online education program on the care of older people: the Centre for Innovation and Education in Aged Care (CIEAC)

An online education program on the care of older people: the Centre for Innovation and Education in Aged Care (CIEAC)

Status: Ongoing


Burwood, Victoria, Australia Australia
Print this page City population: 7000Practice started in 2012


The Centre for Innovation and Education in Aged Care (CIEAC) provides a free online education program suitable for anyone with an interest in evidence-based care promoting the well-being of older people. The Centre was established within the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Deakin University in Burwood, Australia in 2012. The primary aim of the CIEAC is to provide education, training and support to health and aged care staff, enabling an understanding of evidence-based care that improves the well-being of older people in health or aged care settings.

The education program is based on the Tri-focal Model of Care which focuses on three major concepts: a partnership-centered care approach which seeks to engage older people, their family, staff members, and health professionals in collaborative practice, within a positive environment, while implementing evidence-based care. Research has shown that this model of care can enable residents, family members, and staff to be partners-in-care in long-term care settings.

The education program currently comprises of twelve modules and each module contains learning content, reflection activities, opportunities to participate in discussions with other participants, self–assessment quizzes and a final assessment. For each module, a certificate of completion is awarded for a grade of 70% or more. The modules are organized into three categories; professional support (3 modules), clinical – aged care (7 modules), and clinical – acute care (2 modules). The program is promoted in a number of ways. It is accessible from a public blog site through Deakin University; it is a learning resource for nursing students; it is used as a learning platform for hospital and aged care staff, and it is available via links from other programs, via word of mouth, or through a web search.


Key facts

Main target group: Both younger and older people (i.e. intergenerational)

Other target group(s): Staff in aged care facilities and health care organisations

Sector(s): Education, Health, Information and communication, Labor, Long-term care

Other sector(s): Research

Desired outcome for older people:
Learn, grow and make decisions

Other issues the Age-friendly practice aims to address:
  • Ageism
  • Dementia
  • Healthy behaviours (e.g. physical activity)
  • Intergenerational activities
  • Inclusion
  • Participation
  • Technologies
  • Other

Other Issues: Evidence-based practice, Positive environments, Partners-in-care approach, Life-long learning, Dignity and respect, Community support, Innovation

Contact details

Name: Rigby, Kerry

Email address:

Preferred language(s): English

Age-friendly practice in detail (click to expand):

Engaging the wider community

Project lead: Research institution

Others involved in the project:
  • Social or health care provider

How collaboration worked: The Centre for Innovation and Education in Aged Care (CIEAC) operates from Deakin University in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. CIEAC was initially funded by the JO & JR Wicking Trust to support evidence-based aged care workforce development programs and activities. The project received additional funding support from the Australian Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) through the Teaching and Research Aged Care Services (TRACS) – Aged Care Workforce Fund.

Older people’s involvement: Older people were involved in the age-friendly practice at multiple or all stages

Details on older people’s involvement: 1) In the research project: older adults and family members from seven long term care facilities participated in qualitative focus group and individual interviews to inform the planning and execution of the project. Their input was highly valued as it gave the researchers a unique insight into the implementation of the Tri-focal Model of Care. 2) In the online education course itself: the course is made freely available, and any older person can participate and join the discussion forums.

Moving forward

Has the impact of this age-friendly practice been analysed: Yes

Was the impact positive or negative:

Please share with us what you found in detail:
The research findings indicated that aged care residents and family members experienced improved partnership-centred care after the Tri-focal Model of Care was implemented. The report of this aspect of the research was published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship in 2017. Reference: Hutchinson, A., Rawson, H., O’Connell, B., Walker, H., Bucknall, T., Forbes, H., Ostaszkiewicz, J., Ockerby, C., 2017, Tri-focal model of care implementation: Perspectives of residents and family, Journal of Nursing Scholarship, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 33-43, doi: 10.1111/jnu.12269. This article is available for reading at this link:

Expansion plans:
Continued maintenance and development of education content and discussion forums.

Looking back

This education program addresses common issues that have an effect on the health and well-being of older people. Overall, it has had a positive impact on increasing awareness and understanding of age-friendly practices and the care of older people. Awarding a certificate of completion is important because it acknowledges the learner’s achievement and interest in the topics as well as their aspiration to build their knowledge and skills to better care for older people.

A challenge relating to the management of an online course is maintaining up-to-date course content and links to further information in an ever-changing field. Work that happens behind the scenes includes having alert systems in place to ensure new research findings, new and updated practice guidelines, changes in clinical and lifestyle based practice, legislation updates and new government initiatives are incorporated into module content. Additionally, an ongoing process is required for checking the integrity of links to websites and checking web addresses for currency of content. Our strategies are aimed to keep abreast of changes in local and global aged care sectors, to update content based on the relevance and appropriateness of new information for the course, and to keep in touch with our partners-in-care.