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It's Time to Ask: What is the Cost of Aged Care?

The crisis level of exhaustion and work from frontline care staff in providing care is causing a crisis in aged care.

A survey of aged care workers has found that they are suffering from "crisis level exhaustion".

What is the cost of care?

The association's secretary, Mr. Brett Holmes said many workers were concerned about making unforced errors due to exhaustion, which could mean residents would suffer injuries, they would forget to provide medications or neglect hygiene standards because of these mistakes. He believed there were also many more workers who were "suffering in silence" because they didn't want to speak out against their employers.

"Staff working overtime, every day with some staff who work 10, 12, 15 days in a row," said NSWNMA President Brett Holmes. "They're working well beyond their rostered hours."

The NSWNMA survey found that 73 per cent of workers had been on call for 24 hours or more in the past 12 months – a practice known as "double shifts". More than half (57 per cent) reported working overtime at least once a week and 12 per cent said they worked more than 20 hours overtime every week.

The survey also found that 22 per cent of aged care workers plan to leave the industry within the next 12 months while 40 per cent plan to quit within the next five years, adding extra burden on the care workforce. "It's just too hard," said one worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "I don't think anyone should have to work in an environment where you're going home and crying every night."

The level of exhaustion and strain on frontline care staff in providing care for the elderly is causing a crisis in aged care. This problem affects both the quality of care and the health and wellbeing of the people who are receiving that care. The survey found that a third of nurses experienced physical violence from residents or their family members, while half have experienced verbal abuse.

The aged care sector is under increasing pressure to cut costs while delivering high quality care. It faces rising costs, an ageing population and growing demand for services. This has led to an increase in complaints about poor quality care and neglect of residents in nursing homes.

But how do you deliver high quality aged care when the system is struggling?

The answer is to improve the standard of care that’s being delivered.

The federal government has committed $2.5 billion over four years to address shortfalls in residential aged care services. The money will be spent on improving the quality of care, increasing staffing levels and improving training.

While this is welcome news, it is important that any funds allocated go towards improving the quality of care provided by aged-care providers, rather than simply increasing the number of beds available.

Aged care providers should allocate funding to improve services and care by implementing remote patient monitoring.

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is set to be a key enabler for the future of aged care. Aged care providers can harness the power of digital technology and help alleviate the burden on care staff and improve quality of life for elderly patients.

The technology allows healthcare providers to monitor their patients remotely using a combination of sensors, software and mobile devices and can be used for both homecare patients and those in residential aged care facilities.

The benefits of RPM include:

  • Improving efficiency by allowing nurses to spend less time at each patient's bedside.

  • Assisting in daily tasks such as medication management and mobility assistance.

  • Monitoring vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature remotely.

  • Alerting caregivers if there are any changes in these vital signs.

  • Caring for multiple patients simultaneously .

  • Reducing administrative burden on care staff by spending less time collecting data and more time providing direct patient care.

  • Enhancing quality of life for patients

Talk to us about how RPM Health Hub can assist you.


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