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Industry in Focus: Aged Care in Australia

Our ‘Industry in Focus’ series reviews the current and future challenges facing key industries and the role that technology will play in resolving those challenges. In this edition, we take a look at an industry that has been through more disruption than most over the past three years: aged care.

book cover for with old people walking

Australia’s ageing population

As Australia’s population ages, demand for appropriate care escalates. Government data suggests that more than 3.8 million Australians, or 15% of the total population, are currently over the age of 65. By 2057, that will rise to 8.8 million, or 22% of the population.

Those projections present significant operational and talent-related challenges for residential aged care operators. A 20% increase in direct care staffing is needed to reach “acceptable” staffing levels across the country. This means Australia needs at least 41,000 more direct-care workers right now just to achieve acceptable levels of staffing. With many experienced professionals also leaving the aged care sector following a traumatic few years, both talent recruitment and retention will remain key priorities for many employers.

Additional challenges: The Royal Commission and COVID-19

There are other systemic problems that the industry is navigating – not least of which are the 148 industry-wide recommendations made from the 2019 Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. With the intention of enhancing operations, increasing transparency, and ultimately improving care outcomes, following through on those recommendations remains a key challenge for the government and many operators in the sector.

COVID-19 put further strain on the sector, which was tasked with maintaining the health and safety of residents within a rapidly changing and volatile environment. The pandemic also sparked international border closures and resulted in a dearth of skilled employees, which exacerbated an existing long-standing challenge.

How technology can help aged care providers

The challenges facing aged care providers are multi-faceted and complex. There are no easy solutions. However, workforce management software is one investment that can reduce administrative and physical burdens on staff, freeing them up for more face-to-face care for residents.

By automating and streamlining rostering and scheduling for HR and managers, as well as offering easy-to-use, mobile-friendly time & attendance and leave management capabilities for employees, employers can focus on meeting their compliance obligations around minimum time requirements. Again, Humanforce software can help to overcome that challenge with workforce analytics and in-depth reports based on real-time datapoints. The end result is smarter, more cost-effective talent decisions – and that’s a win-win outcome for providers as well as the Australians under their care.

For further insights and tips on how to navigate through the challenges facing the aged care sector in Australia, complete the form to download our fact sheet.