Training Requirement: Diversity and High-Risk Groups

Last Updated: 12 September 2023

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This article is part of our Training Requirement Series where we provide comprehensive guides to meet the actual training requirements that are often needed/requested of learning and development departments within Australia's healthcare organisations. This series includes both general requirements, such as diversity and high-risk groups, but also focuses on the specific requirements stemming from the NDIS, Aged Care and NSQHS Quality Standards.

What is Diversity?

Diversity refers to the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, social class, physical abilities, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation. In healthcare organisations, diversity impacts both staff and patients, affecting the quality of care provided.

What Are High-Risk Groups?

High-risk groups include populations that are more susceptible to specific health issues compared to the general population. These can include the elderly, individuals with chronic health conditions, and disadvantaged socio-economic groups.

Diversity and High-Risk Groups in Healthcare Explained

Diversity and high-risk groups are interconnected. Healthcare services need to be attuned to the diverse needs of high-risk groups to provide equitable and effective care. For instance, linguistic and cultural factors may affect the accessibility of healthcare for non-English-speaking communities (Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health, 2019).

High-risk groups and diverse groups overlap

Whilst diverse and high-risk groups have unique considerations that are independent of each other, there are often many cases where people fit in both categories. And as such, also require their own unique considerations to the provision of care.

What is the Diversity and High-Risk Groups Training Requirement?

Given the focus on quality in Australian healthcare systems, especially through the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission it's crucial to incorporate diversity and high-risk group training. Staff should be knowledgeable about anti-discrimination laws, as well as specific needs of high-risk groups like the elderly and disabled (National Disability Insurance Scheme, 2020).

Relevant Standard

Action 1.15 - Diversity and High-Risk Groups

National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards

Assessing Staff's Competency on the Diversity and High-Risk Groups Standard

Competency can be assessed through both qualitative and quantitative methods, such as self-assessment surveys, peer reviews, and performance evaluations. Knowledge testing, scenario-based assessments, and direct observation are also effective methods.

What Skills Do Staff Need to Care for People in Diverse and High-Risk Groups

Skill Key Elements
Cultural Competency

Understanding cultural norms, values, and traditions is essential. This involves being respectful of different beliefs and practices, and adapting care accordingly.

Effective Communication

Clear communication is key, especially when language barriers exist. Skills in interpreting non-verbal cues are also vital.

Empathy and Compassion

Understanding the emotional and social needs of high-risk individuals, such as the elderly or those with chronic conditions, is essential for providing whole-person care.

Ethical Consideration

Staff must be well-versed in the ethical guidelines that govern healthcare. This is particularly important when dealing with vulnerable populations who may not fully understand their rights.

Clinical Skills

Different high-risk groups, such as infants or the elderly, require specialised clinical skills. For instance, neonatal care requires different expertise than geriatric care.

Risk Assessment

Staff need the ability to accurately assess and prioritize who needs the most immediate care, particularly in high-risk settings.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Being able to adapt to different cultural norms and practices is essential, as is modifying plans in response to the needs of high-risk individuals.

Knowledge of Legal Obligations

Understanding of local, state, and federal laws is crucial, especially those relating to healthcare rights and anti-discrimination.

Technical Skills

Depending on the setting and the group, different technical skills may be necessary. For example, operating specialised equipment for the differently-abled may be required.


Multidisciplinary care often provides the best outcomes for high-risk groups. Skills in collaboration and team communication are therefore essential.

By honing these skills, healthcare providers can offer better care to diverse and high-risk groups, thus fulfilling guidelines set by healthcare authorities like the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Strategies to Support Employees improve care for Diversity and High-Risk Groups

Building competency in diversity and high-risk group care is a multi-faceted approach. Below are some strategies to help support employees in this area:

  • Mentoring Programs - A mentor-mentee relationship can be extremely beneficial for transferring knowledge and skills. Seasoned staff can guide newer team members through real-world scenarios, imparting invaluable experience.
  • Regular Feedback Sessions - Constructive feedback serves as a real-time learning tool. Frequent and scheduled feedback sessions can help in quickly identifying and addressing gaps in understanding or skill sets.
  • Cultural Sensitivity Workshops - Workshops can provide a safe space for employees to discuss and understand cultural nuances, thereby increasing their sensitivity and effectiveness in handling culturally diverse cases.
  • Resource Availability - Providing easily accessible educational materials, such as e-modules or guides, can serve as a quick reference in time-sensitive situations.
  • Interdisciplinary Training - Training sessions that include staff from various departments encourage a holistic understanding of diversity and high-risk group care, thereby improving overall patient outcomes.

Sample Training Plan for the Diversity and High-Risk Groups Training Requirement

A sample training plan might include modules on cultural sensitivity, legal obligations, and healthcare practices for high-risk groups. Staff could also undergo simulation training to apply theoretical knowledge in a controlled environment.

Staff Competency assessment on diverse and high-risk groups

Let's use the results from the example skills assessment survey for clinical staff to build out a training plan!

The results that require immediate attention are; Culutral competency, empathy and compassion, clinical skills, and knowledge of legal considerations.

Quarter Topics Resources
Q1 Cultural Competency + Empathy and Compassion
Q2 Clincal Skills
Q3 Knowledge of Legal Obligations

Need a training plan for this standard?

Contact Ausmed today and see how you can enhance your staff's provision of care in respect to diverse and high-risk groups!

Diverse and High-Risk Groups Skills Survey - Example

Survey's are a quick tool to collect data on staff confidence in a respective field. The below is an example survey to assess how staff confidence on caring for diverse and high-risk groups.

Staff Survey - Diverse and High-Risk Groups Skills

  1. How confident are you in providing care to individuals from diverse backgrounds?

    • 1. Not confident at all
    • 2. Somewhat confident
    • 3. Confident
    • 4. Very confident
    • 5. Extremely confident

  2. How comfortable are you working with high-risk groups such as the elderly and people with disabilities?

    • 1. Not comfortable at all
    • 2. Somewhat comfortable
    • 3. Comfortable
    • 4. Very comfortable
    • 5. Extremely comfortable

  3. Do you feel equipped to handle culturally sensitive situations?

    • Yes
    • Somewhat
    • No

  4. How well do you think you adapt to a patient’s specific healthcare needs?

    • 1. Not well at all
    • 2. Somewhat well
    • 3. Well
    • 4. Very well
    • 5. Extremely well

  5. Have you received prior training in diversity and high-risk groups?

    • Yes
    • Somewhat
    • No

  6. Do you feel confident to provide emotional support to families of dementia patients?

    • 1. Not confident at all
    • 2. Somewhat confident
    • 3. Confident
    • 4. Very confident
    • 5. Extremely confident

  7. How often do you seek to update your knowledge in these areas?

    • 1. Not often at all
    • 2. Somewhat often
    • 3. Neutral
    • 4. Very often
    • 5. Extremely often

  8. Do you feel that your work environment supports diversity and inclusion?

    • Yes
    • Somewhat
    • No
  9. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your understanding of anti-discrimination laws in healthcare?

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10


In Australia's diverse healthcare landscape, training in diversity and high-risk groups is crucial. Effective programs enhance patient care, comply with regulations, and create a more inclusive environment. Investing in staff development is both a moral and practical imperative for healthcare organisations.


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