The adult care sector in Australia is one of the toughest industries to navigate; it has a lot of challenges and has been like that for many years. Starting from government reforms over the past ten years, to transformations of expectations by consumers and recruitment issues, there has never been a sector that has been experiencing such a massive change before.
The adult care industry in Australia right now provides jobs for over 350,000 people annually and is serving over 1.3 million people at any time, according to DCWC. The industry is considered as an economic backbone and a necessary industry in the country. In the coming years, the industry will develop and flourish at a greater pace since the country will soon become a service-oriented economy.
Considering the recent patterns as well as important factors, the development of the adult care industry is non-negotiable.
However, service providers need to look past their current working patterns due to the challenges faced by the industry. Some of them include a continuous increase in the number of the elderly, an evolving tech landscape, as well as instant and constant changes in the standard of services.
To understand the other challenges faced and how these will affect the functioning of the adult care industry, continue reading.
Lack of Skilled Workers
The adult care industry is highly dependent on the skills of the workers. According to a McCrindle Survey, it was revealed that there will be just five staff per retired couple in 2050. The number shows with clarity that the number of adults is increasing and the number of skilled workers on the other hand exiting the sector is increasing. Increasing stress and work, reduced opportunities for career growth, elongated working hours as well as dissatisfaction from the salary are some of the major reasons behind the reduction of skilled workers.
- Solution:The service providers and Government are working to manage the situation. The commonwealth government has brought a lot of reforms and programs which convince youths to consider the adult care industry.
Also, numerous training programs are being put in place to assist the workforce to improve their skills. A lot of rules and regulations are also included to make the adult care facility a great career option as well as make it convenient for the workforce.
The adult care sector is one of the highly regulated industries in Australia. There is a bit of misunderstanding about the need for regulations that protect adult care residents.
However, the adult care industry considers some regulations to be a non-essential burden. The commonwealth manages all part of adult care: coming up with the planning ratio, setting the subsidy, providing licenses as well as assessing elderly.
Australians for an adult care home – a lot of these regulations were brought to play as a means of controlling and managing expenditure and supply. Many commentators and advocacy groups have submitted propositions for the abandonment of this model to enable much consumer choice as well as more competition in the industry.
The role of the commonwealth under such arrangement would be restricted to the assessment for adult care homes, making sure of the quality and safe care, and the consumers’ financial protection, according to Rebecca De Boer, Social Policy Division.
With regulations implemented over the last ten years and the recent Royal Commission, the adult care industry is set to remain as one of the highly regulated sectors of all time.
These regulations focus on licensing, subsidies, assessment for adult care packages, as well as auditing and regulatory rules to make sure a quality level of care is provided. The challenge for care providers is how to control all the various levels of packages as well as the regulations without being burdened too much.
- Solution:To manage regulations transformations, the adult care industry should be working against abandoning traditional approaches to work and start to invest in technological solutions like advanced and completely integrated CRM tools.
Memory and Communication Loss among Elderly Residents
As seniors grow older, some go through degrading cognitive functioning like memory and communication loss. Some may greatly feel the impact of the challenges on their ability to live an enjoyable and comfortable life.
Conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can cause difficulty in performing daily living activities. This could give rise to other complications like depression, paranoia, and anxiety. This is why treatment for behavioral health conditions is sought after by many of the elderly today.
- Solution:Behavioral therapy for issues like anxiety and depression can help the elderly cope with the start of popular geriatric issues as well as the changes connected with aging. This is mostly helpful for adults whose household members or caregivers engage in counseling sessions.
Professional behavioral services can also link senior patients and family members with the right community resources like outpatient or outreach and assessment counseling.
Fluctuation in the Needs of Baby Boomers
The population of people above the age of 85 in Australia will according to a report from APH be 1.8 million. Baby boomers are usually organized and divided, unlike the present generation. They have often made different markets for each service they wanted and are not prepared to go for anything of a low standard. They are also finicky. They have quickly also learned the use of technology and looking for new options for receiving better services.
The whole situation is putting more pressure on the service providers and causing them to improve their services inside their budgetary limits.
- Solution:Considering the ever-increasing number of elderly and now taking over the care packages and facilities, service providers and policymakers should concentrate on making a sustainable system that backs the increasing population of the elderly.
Adult care service providers can look into investing in technologies like Virtual Reality, Video Calling, Augmented Reality, CRM solutions, Artificial Intelligence, and more to meet the various needs of seniors.
The adult care workforce is getting older and there is a lot of worries among policymakers and service providers about keeping present workers and attracting new workers to the industry. Family members (informal carers) also play a major role in the provision of adult care. However, because of population aging, demand in the next 30 years is expected to overshadow supply.
Regardless of where, or by whom adult care is provided, Australia is currently facing a huge shortage of workforce. Adult care workers are some of the most underpaid in the country and there is usually a lack of support for informal carers.
The issue of proper remuneration of the adult care workforce is still unsolved, even after many campaigns. Exploration of flexible models of care could also be done to make sure that the elderly in Australia get the right level of care in different settings.
This may also include the examination of the skills and qualifications as required by adult care workers and the removal of some traditional blockades between medical and community-centered care, by Rebecca de Boer, Social Policy Section.
A certain challenge to be faced by adult care providers as regard staffing is that there will be just five staff for each couple by the year 2050. Customers number keeps increasing the whole the number of skilled workers in the sector is decreasing.
Heavy workloads, long work hours, stress, dissatisfaction with wages, limited opportunities in career growth are just a few of the reasons workers are leaving in masses. However, if workers are perfectly supported, the rate can be reversed.
- Solution:Adult care service providers can control the situation by opting for top quality technology solutions and making a great infrastructure – giving support to the workers and their workload, chances are high that skilled workers will stay in the organization and the sector.
Adult care providers and government are trying to manage the situation – reforms and programs which convince the youth to switch into the aged care industry have been put in place and rules and regulations implemented to make the adult care sector a lucrative career option and make it highly convenient for the workforce.
Bringing in Skilled Workers to Rural Areas
Employing a skilled workforce like nurses and certified caregivers for the facilities located in remote areas is one of the challenges faced by the adult care industry in Australia.
Limited access to transport and lack of adequate technological infrastructure are some of the major factors that make it tough for the adult care industry to get skilled workers
- Solution:The adult care service provider can take control of the situation by purchasing top quality technology solutions and providing a great infrastructure. They can look into concentrating offering of rural working or appropriate transport facilities by scheduling private vehicles or a proper bus facility.
The adult care service providers with the help of the Government can also perform some training and education programs for workers’ development.
The population in Australia is aging together with improved healthcare and proper adult care facilities. However, old working methods don’t have the ability and intelligence to give expected, proper, necessary levels of care.This is partly because of technological advancements and the reluctance of some service providers to adapt to and put technology in place.
- Solution:Adult care providers can employ an effective digital change strategy to improve their legacy business models. With a digitally enabled business model, they can incorporate intelligence into their current process which will greatly improve customer engagement, keep the standard of their service offering, and help the business deliver service at great efficiency.
Care during a Pandemic
Many of the challenges faced by the world’s adult care home facilities have been rendered bare by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). The elderly in need of LTC usually have weakened immune systems or chronic conditions that place them at much risk of tough complications from COVID-19. It was reported that it causes an estimate of 50% of deaths related to the virus that have happened in LTC facilities.
- Solution:This situation is caused by many of the safety failures that could have been avoided with more focus on workers training, working conditions, and prioritizing quality and safety in care. The report state that people will question whether they are working in the right sector due to the poor record in the protection of care staff from COVID-19.
Aged Care Cleaning
The challenges of completing top-quality cleaning in an adult care home is different from those experienced after cleaning a home or a standard medical center. Domestic cleaning workers may not have the right training or skill to handle the extra requirement a residential care setting produces.
For adult care providers, knowing that cleaning is not just an ancillary service but a huge part of community health is important. Adult care is highly vulnerable to disease and keeping the environment clean should be prioritized. However, these circumstances can bring specific challenges:
- Solution: Daytime cleaning – While a lot of building managers can schedule many cleaning tasks to off-hours, an adult care institution, such as a retirement home, nursing home, or aged care facility need cleaning to be performed more often.
This can be tough, as cleaning workers attempt to go round senior residents and workers and adapt with foul-smelling chemicals. Routes must be well planned, access to electrical outlets as well as the layout of cables managed, and patience is needed as there may be an interruption to work by an incident at any time.
The Chance of an Unexpected Visit to Confirm Compliance – An adult care facility is required to keep high cleaning standards and will be audited and visited unannounced. All cleaning tasks must be completely done in a routine, and the quality of record-keeping must be intact. Noncompliance with actual regulations can have grave consequences.
In adult care facilities with nursing care, medical and human waste is another level of hazard. Cleaning of contaminated spots and linens should be quickly removed, and cleaning cloths be secured in plastic bags immediately for transport to waste disposal (or if reusable, laundry).
Untrained Cleaning Worker
There can be a failure in how a cleaning department handlesthe cleaning of adult care facility they are not trained to take care of due to the complexities presented. Spills, incontinence, and many other issues can lead to dismay for a cleaning work that is traditionally trained.
Special training can help them in learning the practices required, but there can be difficulty in compliance with no oversight included. Improper cleaning by an untrained worker can be the biggest risk factor as regard infection
In an adult care facility that takes dementia patients, the challenge multiplies. Chemicals must be watched with care to avoid dangers to the resident who may not know they are touching something they should avoid. Monitoring will also be needed for the cleaning equipment as a rolling bucket left in a hallway could pose a serious risk.
- Proper cleaning of an adult care facility can be done by getting solutions for popular challenges, then putting them in place, and providing training for all cleaning workers.
- Simplify Daytime Cleaning:Choose cleaning options that won’t irritate residents, workers, and visitors, like microfiber cloths and mop heads, and easy-to-use equipment in crowded spaces. Give specific training if the adult care home takes dementia patients. Also, educate workers on possible cases that can occur in a residential setting, to make sure they will react safely and appropriately.
- Make sure they comply with easy forms and systems of record keeping –Provide essential cleaning workers ownership of record-keeping and give them forms and systems to make documentation easier. This can assist during auditing and ensure compliance to be proven in the time of unannounced visits.
- Waste management –Get supplies and equipment to make a customized process of handling medical or biowaste. Figure out if disposable or reusable cleaning options will give the best service, considering the laundry capacity of the facility as well as the added requirements for cleaning soiled materials.
- Get rid of inappropriate cleaning practices or equipment –In certain areas, popular cleaning appliances like dusters or vacuums are wrong and proper use of cleaning cloths and solutions to prevent cross-contamination. Consider these options:
- Dusters should be replaced with a cloth soaked with water or a mild cleaning agent as it can disrupt and sent microorganisms airborne.
- Vacuum cleaners work similarly and should be fitted with filters approved by HEPA (which must be checked and replaced regularly).
- Used cloths cannot be dipped twice into a clean solution without spreading contamination, and should be dipped when clean, properly wrung out, then rotated and folded to get a clean surface to wipe over a dirty surface.
Overcoming these challenges faced by the adult care sector in Australia will partly come from making sure that care providers, workers, customers, and their families have technological and intelligent solutions that are efficient, effective, adaptive, and provide them a satisfying level of care.