Our population is ageing – and this means that the aged care industry is facing an imminent increase in demand. This challenge, coupled with a worrying shortage of skilled staff, means that smart workforce planning is critical. Without it, elderly Australians could cease to receive the level of care that they require – and deserve.
These issues are made all the more pressing by the Royal Commission, which is keeping a close eye on aged care providers. There’s no hiding from the fact that changes need to be made to ensure that facilities are complying with new industry standards of patient care.
The industry today
Currently, aged care facilities are struggling to ensure that there are sufficient staff-to-resident ratios at any one time; that the correctly skilled workers are on the right shifts; that instances of resident neglect are avoided; and that their workforce is effectively managed.
Add to this the inevitable influx of new residents entering facilities and it is clear that the aged care industry needs to adapt – and fast – in order to more effectively manage their workforce and sufficiently care for the residents that walk through their doors.
Systems and technology lead to better workforce planning
So, how do aged care facilities make a change for the better? Technology can play a huge role in streamlining processes and assisting with clever workforce planning.
Smart rostering systems can give management visibility of their teams’ strengths, allowing them to allocate individual care workers to residents based on predetermined criteria. This could be matching a resident to a care worker who has a particular skill or bed-manner, responding to a resident’s preference for a particular worker, or recognising a worker’s history and success in treating certain residents. Or, more broadly, it could allow them to allocate individual, specialist skilled care workers to shifts where they’re likely to be needed.
Rostering systems can also help management monitor time and attendance of staff, outlining if certain workers aren’t turning up to shifts or are failing to work their allocated number of shift hours. In fact, systems such as SAP Success Factors can enable you to plan, record and approve all types of absences efficiently; track working time; comply with global corporate, collective and legal agreements; and fully automate and accelerate absence management processes
Furthermore, transparency in rostering can also help to ensure that there are adequate staff-to-resident ratios at any one time – to help facilities avoid instances of resident neglect and ensure that its staff aren’t overworked or stressed.
In addition, data network and cloud-based services can provide enhanced automation that will improve standardisation of care practices, streamline workflows and lead to greater transparency.
Implementation of technology to create a well-planned workforce, seamless shift allocation, and satisfactory staff-to-resident ratios in aged care facilities will better set them up for success as demand increases for these services in Australia.
Want to learn more about the role of technology in workforce planning? Download Synchrony Global’s whitepaper: Creating a Smarter Workforce in the Aged Care Industry though HR Technology.