According to a report by CEDA (Committee for Economic Development of Australia), Australia will face a shortage of at least 110,000 aged care workers over the next decade.
The report stresses that unless the Government takes urgent action, the workforce shortage could exceed 400,000 by 2050.
There are several reasons for the shortage.
Migrant workers make up 30 per cent of the workforce in the aged care industry.
Because of the pandemic, visa and border restrictions have slowed the entry of these aged care workers into the country, resulting in a significant worker shortage.
Attrition is another reason. Low wages, poor training, and a lack of career progression all have an impact on aged care workers’ morale, causing them to look for employment elsewhere.
Remote areas find it hard to attract talent. Registered nurses and certified caregivers find rural areas less appealing as places of work because of outdated technology, lack of training and inadequate infrastructure.
The aged care sector has also come under increasing pressure as a result of the Royal Commission and the development of The Aged Care Quality Standards.
The Aged Care Quality standards provide the following guidelines for personal and clinical care:
Each consumer is entitled to safe and effective personal care, clinical care, or both personal care and clinical care, that:
- is best practice;
- tailored to their needs;
- optimises their health and well-being.
While aged care workers strive to deliver outstanding service, the environment is challenging.
Australians are living longer lives and by 2050, 1 in 6 people will be over the age of 65. Over 200,000 people live in aged care homes on any given day.
The average age of residents has increased to 80 (from 55, 20 years ago). Older residents demand greater levels of medical attention. Diseases like hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular illness require close monitoring and treatment.
As people grow older, their mobility and gait deteriorate, which increases their chances of falling. Falling is a serious health risk in elders and can result in broken bones and brain injuries.
Falls not detected in time can lead to dehydration and even hypothermia which make it essential that they receive urgent care.
However, the majority of caregivers lack the training to provide such specialized services.
This puts the onus of care on senior staff which limits their ability to respond quickly to residents’ needs.
The inability to deliver prompt service when residents most need it could prove fatal.
Launching training programs, designing effective shift schedules and increasing government funding could address skill gaps and motivate aged care workers, but it’s clear that aged care homes need a solution that allows them to deliver care when required.
The eazense is a new technology that certainly fits the bill.
The eazense is a medical alarm that uses radar sensing technology to detect falls in real-time without using cameras and without requiring the resident to wear or do anything.
It constantly tracks body position and notifies caregivers of irregular movement patterns as well as falls from bed and from standing.
A care support device such as the eazense helps seniors live independently and with dignity. It helps to reduce the number of unnecessary caregiver visits, which results in easing the staff burden and freeing aged care staff up to provide greater quality of care.
In addition, it helps residential facilities meet aged care quality standards without needing to hire additional caregivers.