Aged Care

Your Ultimate Guide to Home Care Management in Australia

A nurse links arms with a resident
Cheryl Lee
September 13, 2022
1 min read
A nurse links arms with a resident

According to The Australian Bureau of Statistics, elderly projected proportion to those under 15 will be standing near 25% by 2021. With a rapidly ageing population in Australia, senior home care management thrives.

Besides, we have yet to discover the sheer potential of home care management in the healthcare industry of Australia, and it’s time for us to comprehend the unabridged impact of this fast-growing demographic.

This article highlights the significance of home care management in Australia and its stripped-down fundamentals.

What is home care management?

We all know what home care is, right? It’s a service provided by home care workers to take care of the aged, chronically ill, or patients recovering from major surgery while still staying at home. It’s a form of care requiring the utmost trust to let a person into your private space and assist you with possibly intimate needs.

However, the term “home care management” is somewhat foreign to us all. Perhaps you may even pose the question: “Aren’t they the same?” Sorry to burst your bubble, however, they aren’t essentially interchangeable.

Home care management is more about the welfare and services provided to the home care workers and their companies. Have you ever considered if these patients threaten and display violent tendencies, who’ll be there to mediate the situation?

Of course, it’s not ethical for the home care company to file a lawsuit against the patients, but we can’t let the workers suffer in silence and be taken advantage of either. What’s more, there are plenty of rules, regulations, and legislation to abide by. So, how do we draw the line between what’s ethical and not while still in compliance? This is where home care management steps in.

How does home care management benefit you?

A functioning home care system will allow our clients – the companies, to worry less about compliance issues. Healthcare compliance is a big umbrella covering many aspects and the nitty-gritty details. However, more often than not, companies deplete their productive time being a worrywart. A management system consisting of automatic compliance to contend with potential compliance issues can help to speed things up here.

Resultantly, there’s less time spent keeping up with the ever-changing policies and handling complaints about misdemeanour issues. Hence, staff can utilise time to perform more productive, value-adding tasks. Not only does this boost employee productivity in the workplace, but it also provides a higher quality of service to your clients.

Additionally, a home care management system is easy to deploy and can integrate seamlessly with other inbuilt systems in the company. The integration can expedite the internal processes of various departments and components of compliance as well. As a result, there’ll be fewer issues and headaches faced by the IT and information systems department, finance and management team.

The following vital persona benefitting from a home care management system is the residential care workers themselves. As a bridge between the workers and the patients, the home care system should be accessible and user-friendly.

Any second saved using the app is valuable and greatly appreciated. The more time the workers spend figuring out the procedure or going through the tedious process, there’s less productive time spent with their patients. However effortless it seems, it fundamentally compromises the quality of care provided.

Effects of COVID-19 on Home Care Management
Effects of COVID-19 on Home Care Management

Effects of COVID-19 on home care management in Australia

If we do not take immediate action, there’ll be a shortage of 110,000 direct aged care workers by 2050 (Committee for Economic Development of Australia report). The deficit insinuates the dwindling home care workforce, further proving the eminence of Australia’s home care management.

It’s already challenging as it is for admission into your personal space, much less with COVID-19. Especially now, when the cases are rapidly rising. It piques the question: How do we ensure our safety while still entrusting strangers to be in our personal spaces?

The appearance of COVID-19 has also caused a higher level of scrutiny. Home care providers now must adhere to all public health orders issued by their respective state governments. The government requires more procedures for the workers checking in to their homes. Furthermore, the responsibility is to ensure the workers going to the houses are not COVID-19 positive and vice versa.

There’s a prerequisite for the workers to be fully vaccinated according to the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No3) 2021. Eventually, it’s the companies responsibility to ensure the workers comply with the ever-changing healthcare regulations. In addition, the workers visit multiple homes. Therefore, if the customers are COVID-19 positive, home care management providers need to be responsible and prepared for an outbreak and adequately handle the situation.

Who’s to say who should be liable for the outbreak. Supposedly, it’s the service provider who’s more exposed to more people and, evidently, the virus. But, how do we guarantee the workers are the origin of the spread in the vicinity?

Be it the fear of working in the frontlines or companies ability, or lack thereof, to afford workers leads to a deficit in healthcare workers. Coupled with the economy’s downturn during COVID-19, it creates more predicaments for the companies as the demand for home care services surges.

Safety Measures taken to ensure safety of patients
Safety Measures taken to ensure safety of patients

Features of home care management

Temperature screening & Check-in

One of the much-needed features for home care management systems, especially with the current COVID-19 situation as to how it is, is a temperature check-in function. The product can check if either the workers or the clients have COVID-19 or not.

It’s challenging to keep track and scrutinise the vaccination status of the workers. There are people and workers visiting the patients, and vice versa. If not for the residential care management in place, it would be all over the place.

Combined with a visitor management system, it can automatically verify vaccination statuses and manage the staffs’ health declarations and daily temperature recordings. The customer can see the responses for compliance reasons. It provides assurance and peace of mind the workers aren’t bringing the virus into their personal space.

Of course, these are monitored and updated by a compliance team to ensure accurate data and minimal inconsistencies. There will be higher ease for the patients after knowing the workers aren’t carrying COVID-19 to their homes.

Worker safety & duress alarm

Amidst the pandemic and patients’ safety from the widespread virus, who’s to ensure the physical safety of the workers? A home care system equipped with a feature such as a duress alarm demonstrates a good process around work safety.

This equipped feature can be of great assistance to “Lone Workers”. Say the agent providers compromise the safety of the workers, especially since they do not have management in charge, and it’s only them. The agent provider should be held liable, and it’s their responsibility to have a standard process in place and manage duress incidents.

A simple feature such as an emergency button installed in the home care management app can be worthwhile. In case of emergency, the workers can press the button and alert the “round the clock” response team to take action. The button icon also has an option for the workers to cancel in case of a false alarm. Otherwise, the emergency response team will head out to the last alerted location of the worker.

A text message is sent to the number configured, and the location and time of duress reported can be seen and recorded. Additionally, it captures the reason for the emergency and the duration to resolve the crisis if other similar incidents are reported.

Billing Documentation in Home Care Management
Billing Documentation in Home Care Management

Billing documentation & care

Let’s not forget the pillar of the home care management system – billing and care. You must be wondering how billing documentation and care come hand in hand together in home care management.

Well, the worker has to provide relevant information as to what home care service was provided to the client. This gives information to further care services required in the future. Hence, this action decides what the patient needs to be billed for.

There possibly can’t be an administrator or finance personnel on-site to handle these administrative issues. Proper billing documentation should be accessible and distinguish between the government’s contributions and the client’s.

The home care management system can have a clock-in system to track and compute hours worked of employees. It can track which worker is being deployed to the household and what service was provided that day. With that, billing documentation serves as proof of service, payroll and visitation logs as well.

In summary

All in all, even in its unaccustomed state, you can’t deny these services are significant to home care providers. Not only can home care management aid in visitor and vaccination tracking, but it can also monitor symptoms of potential viral infection. Never forgetting the care of the workers’ safety, the indispensable billing & care and other administrative system processes.

This ultimate guide to home care management is only just the beginning of exploring the endless possibilities of what it can do for you.

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