Overcoming Mounting Pressures: Meeting Modern Needs with Aged Care Innovations
Anyone working in Aged Care and Home Care would agree that times are changing and changing quickly and aggressively. Some things will remain constant: it’s still all about delivering quality services and caring for people. However, a number of major challenges are either here right now or on the horizon.
The aged care industry in Australia, and globally, is in flux, with seniors living longer and preferring to stay within their communities and support groups through ‘aging in place.’ In response to changing demographic trends healthcare providers across the country are having to redevelop their care models and integrate new technologies to remain competitive.
Ahead of the Aged Care Summit and Australian Healthcare Week 2019 we look at the biggest challenges affecting Australian Aged Care providers and explore the innovative strategies being harnessed in a bid to ease the mounting pressure of an aging population and meet changing consumer expectations.
Challenge: Meeting the Modern Expectations of the Baby Boomer Generation
Consumer Directed Care (CDC) allows people and their carer more power to influence the design and delivery of the services they receive. It also allows for a greater degree of choice in what services are delivered and where and when they are delivered, which is exactly what the more independent and better educated Baby Boomer population expects of any service.
With Baby Boomers transitioning into the core aged care demographic in the coming decades, aged care providers need to shift processes to become more customer centric and meet modern expectations.
Innovation: Client Expectation Survey Methodology
There is no single recognised industry framework for capturing quantitative data related to customer satisfaction in aged care. This inspired JewishCare, a NSW is a not-for-profit organisation that for 80 years has been the major provider of aged care services. in 2013 to develop an innovative survey methodology that answers an essential element that conventional surveys miss: What do clients expect?
By harnessing these qualitative insights JewishCare is able to deliver fit-for-purpose care that meets the expectation of their modern customers.
Challenge: Aging Populations and Mounting Pressures
The social and economic implications of an aging population are becoming increasingly apparent in many industrialised nations around the globe. In Australia in 2017, there were 3.8 million Australians aged 65 and over (comprising 15% of the total population) —increasing from 1.3 million (9%) in 1977. The number and proportion of older Australians is expected to continue to grow. By 2057, it is projected there will be 8.8 million older people in Australia (22% of the population).
With an increasingly aging population policymakers are confronted with several interrelated issues, including increased health care costs, unsustainable pension commitments and changing demand drivers within the economy.
Innovation: Harnessing SMART Technology to Subsidise and Optimise Care
To overcome the challenge of increased need with a limited workforce some aged care providers are looking to SMART technologies which not only optimise workflows, but potentially subsidise some care too and actually empower people to take greater control of their own care.
Village Glen Aged Care Residences in Victoria for example leverage technology to make life easier for their staff and create meaningful value add for customers. With reference to their portal and communication app, they are able to provide communication channels that are less time-intensive, offer quality information in real time and help to simplify the clinical staff’s role. This app, which engages customer and their families even empowering residents to take control of their information and care.
Challenges: Digital Disruption and Outdated Business Models
The future of health will be driven by digital technology, social media 2.0 and a maturing healthcare consumerism. As these forces become part of the core business of healthcare; new ways of thinking and transformative business models will become paramount.
Simply put, more Australian’s are living longer and, in better health. While episodic and facility-based care will always play a vital role, a generational shift is underway. Consumer demand and preferences are embracing an extended life expectancy, and a purposeful ‘second half’ of life. Traditional models may lack agility in a rapidly changing environment.
Innovation: Digitally Transform Your Aged Care Business
With the next wave of digital disruption empowering and enabling consumers aged care providers need to digitally transform outdated business models to incorporate a passion for consumer engagement and unwavering customer focus.
PresCare, who provide aged care, community care and home care services across Queensland when and where their clients want them have harnessed the opportunities digital disruption presents and have successfully transformed their business in a cost effective way. This has enabled them to deliver consumer-directed care with increased client happiness, all the while reducing IT and administration costs.
Challenge: Meeting Growing Needs with an Aging Workforce
A report published earlier this year by HESTA reveals that the aged care sector is facing significant challenges in attracting and retaining workers to the rapidly changing industry. With the report finding that more than 23 per cent of aged care workers surveyed intended on leaving the sector in one to five years. While 4,000 workers are expected to enter the sector from other areas of HACS, aged care still faces a potential net outflow of 80,000 employees in the next five years.
With populations aging this decline in firstly the working-age population, and secondly the number of people entering aged care, is posing significant challenges.
Innovation: Strategic Workforce Planning
Staff retention, attraction and funding challenges have become an ongoing conversation within both the aged care and mental health sector, with the NDIS seeing some teams struggle with the changing process.
However by developing a future workforce plan that considers size and structure, changing roles and services, manages growth and distinct workforce needs, Tabor Home Society in Canada have been able to improve supply and retention of the right workers with the right aptitudes in the right locations, and secure and sustain up-to-date skills.
Challenge: Increasing Understanding, Especially for Dementia Patients
Living with dementia can have a big emotional, social, psychological and practical impact on a person. Many people with dementia describe these impacts as a series of losses and adjusting to them is challenging.
Along with having to live with the condition on a day-to-day basis, one of the biggest challenges facing dementia sufferers is a general lack of understanding of what it is like to live with Dementia. This often leads to frustration for patients, aged care providers and carers, and the patient’s family.
Innovation: Harnessing Virtual Reality Technology for Experiential Learning
In 2012 Dementia Australia launched BrainyApp, a dementia-friendly app that supports the aging in place of dementia patients. The app got 42,000 downloads in the first two days and now has over 300,000 active users globally.
The app, which focuses on education and care, also provides a simulation of what living with dementia is like. Through experiential learning Dementia Australia has successfully increased understanding and is working to encourage greater patience amongst those who care for dementia patients.
Interested in learning more?
If you’re interested in hearing more about the challenges aged care providers across Australia, and indeed the globe, are experiencing and sharing your own challenges, join us at the Aged Care Summit 2019.
The event, run as part of Australian Healthcare Week 2019 brings together over 18 aged care industry experts who will all share the innovative solutions they’re harnessing in an effort to overcome mounting pressures and meet modern expectations.
To secure your ticket to the event, held in Sydney on the 27th – 28th of March 2019, and for special early bird pricing simply fill in the registration form, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 02 9229 1000