Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) received funding from the Department of Health and Ageing and wish to engage RMIT to conduct research in accordance with the TRACS Funding Agreement.

  • Project dates: 2013
  • Grants and funding: Brotherhood of St Laurence

This project identified core skills, competencies and attributes of BSL staff providing support and care to residents at Sumner House, a residential aged care facility in Fitzroy, Melbourne. An adapted Delphi model was used to identify agreement but also divergence on the core competencies and attributes valued by the four groups – residents, staff, family, and management.

The study was one of five studies within the research program of the BSL/RMIT Teaching and Research in Aged Care Services (TRACS) (2012-2014), funded by the Federal Department of Social Services. The research was constructed to find consensus on the core competencies for high quality care and support among four stakeholder groups at Sumner House – residents, their families and friends, BSL aged care managers and Sumner House direct care staff.

The research identified 13 core competencies however only one, ‘Treat residents as people, not a job’, was found in the top ten of every stakeholder group. The core competencies were thought about by stakeholders in terms of three categories: know the person; skills and applied knowledge; and, approach to delivery. The study found that knowing the person was essential if skills are to be used in ways that reflect individual preferences and to understand an approach to delivery of care and support which constitutes dignity and quality for the person. These ideas span human rights, personalised care and the principles associated with relational services.

Key People


Associate Professor Paul Ramcharan

Associate Professor Paul Ramcharan

Senior Research Fellow

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Dr Christina David

Dr Christina David


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Establishing core competencies for change in aged care services at Sumner House

Angela Hassell

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