The Australian home care resourcing crisis. Where to from here?

In 2021, Australia's workforce turnover for home care was 34%. A year later, in her open letter to the Treasurer in December 2022, Claerwen Little, Chair of Australian Aged Care Collaboration, warned that the staffing crisis had only worsened.

After surveying 1,110 staff from 300 services Australia-wide to compile their Aged Care Workforce Report 2023, CompliSpace concluded: “Almost a third of workers plan to quit within the next three years. Around half plan to quit within the next five. The top reasons for leaving are stress, excessive overtime/expectations and too much paperwork.”

Research by CEDA (Committee for Economic Development Australia) found there would be a shortfall of at least 110,000 direct-care workers by 2030. Amongst CEDA’s 18 recommendations, they suggested: “Investment in new technology that reduces administrative and physical burdens on staff, freeing them up for more face-to-face care.”

Why are care staff quitting in droves?

Australia is far from being alone in the high attrition rates experienced by the home and aged care sector. In 2022, turnover rates for segments of the US healthcare industry ranged from 19.5% at hospitals to 65% for at-home care providers (almost double our own rate) to 94% at nursing homes.

Factors behind the US’s attrition rates will sound familiar to Australian aged care providers - and we suspect they are global issues: inflexible and demanding schedules, excessive admin work, heavy workloads, poor morale, low pay and a disconnect from their managers.

The cost of not having enough staff

Current and impending staff shortages, along with new government-imposed care requirements, don’t bode well for Australia’s ageing population or some smaller home care providers.

Last year, The Guardian wrote, "Aged care providers say the sector’s staffing crisis is so acute that services cannot be delivered to people relying on home care in some areas.”

Employers are under the pump, as they, too, struggle to make good on their commitment to their clients without the necessary resources.

As workers depart the industry, they take with them a wealth of knowledge and experience, and employers are faced with the cost and effort required to attract, hire, and train new resources. The lack of parity between direct and indirect care workers’ wages in Australia doesn’t help recruitment success either.

What can you change?

We’re sure that none of the news about a rapidly shrinking resource pool is new to you. Nor do we claim to have all the answers.

Although the aged care sector may feel swept along for the ride as workers worldwide seek to change industries and improve their lot, there are ways to reduce employee workloads and lift job satisfaction within your control. By committing to better technology, you can help ease the administrative burden on your people, improve morale, and reduce the impact and risk of being short-staffed.

For example, with better accounts payables (AP) technology, you can:

  • Eliminate time-consuming, repetitive manual AP processes: Automating your AP processes removes the manual drudgery of matching invoices to visits or other budgets. So, there’s more time for your operational team to focus on clients.
  • Increase employee job satisfaction. With Redmap AP Automation, the thankless job of data entry and endless emails chasing approvals is laid to rest. Your team can engage in more interesting and strategic tasks.
  • Reduce stress: By using Redmap AP Automation to automatically identify discrepancies between supplier invoices and the amount claimed through Services Australia, the burden of care is removed from your care managers.
  • Provide more flexibility. Redmap AP Automation is cloud-based, so your team can work remotely if needed or desired. Your staff can avoid costly and time-consuming travel and work hours that suit them.
  • Remove compliance responsibility: Redmap AP Automation provides the reminders, checks and doublechecks to ensure your team can always meet the regulatory, deadline-driven requirements that underwrite your essential funding. So, staff are less anxious about being the potential cause of delayed or withheld funds.

Where to from here?

Although the future looks daunting for many in the sector, embracing technologies that will streamline processes and remove time-hungry manual input will help put your focus back on what matters – your clients, their caregivers - and those who make things run smoothly in the background.

Please reach out to find out more.

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