Employing/engaging the ‘right person in the first place’ (i.e. a person with the appropriate qualifications and/or training, and good interpersonal skills) is a critical step in ensuring good quality leaders/tutors/coaches/instructors.
It is beneficial for a senior staff member or volunteer coordinator to have the designated responsibility of supervising, assisting and mentoring less experienced staff/volunteers.
It is important that staff/volunteers have a good level of knowledge regarding organisational policies relating to participant privacy, confidentiality, disclosure, emergency procedures, etc.
Having trained and knowledgeable staff/volunteers is also part of an organisation/service/club’s risk management.
If the program leader/tutor/coach doesn’t have time to have individual discussions with each older person when they commence, if possible, have another appropriate staff member/volunteer/coach undertake this task and provide feedback to the leader/tutor/coach. The discussion with the older person should be two-way – providing and gaining information.
Encouraging first-time attendees to introduce themselves to the program leader/tutor/coach at the start of the class and allowing some time before and after class for participants to ask questions or speak to the leader.
Any documentation relating to participant assessments should be maintained accurately and securely.
Making follow-up calls and/or sending messages to those who miss classes is a practical way of showing that they are valued, which is particularly important for socially isolated and disadvantaged participants.
Inclusive decision making
If changes are made based on the input of participants, continue to check in with them as to whether the changes are in line with what they anticipated.
Musculoskeletal Australia (or MSK) is the consumer organisation working with, and advocating on behalf of, people with arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, gout and over 150 other musculoskeletal conditions.