Healthcare, Disability Care and the Care Workforce

ACRN continues to advocate widely to bring community views to the decision makers engaged in the ongoing health and aged care reviews in progress. The Covid pandemic response, The Aged Care Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and more recently the NDIS Review have all sought to grapple with problems and perceived failures in Australia’s delivery of community care services.

ACRN have identified a need for a greatly expanded and better trained, skilled workforce will be  required to meet the increased present and future demand. It will need a planned, government initiated workforce strategy, mandated national registration and harmonised training to provide the workers to provide the care workforce needed to service the projected demand.

All three parts of the health and care service, acute healthcare, aged care and NDIS are chronically short of suitably trained workers. If best practice care is to be achieved in all three areas there needs to be a rapid expansion of the care workforce.

ACRN contends that much of the “bed block” in acute and rehabilitation hospitals can be relieved by having a better trained, regulated and remunerated care workforce available to deliver personal care in the community, residential  aged care, and NDIS Services. Acute care facilities, medical personnel, families and care recipients themselves would be better served by earlier discharge to supported home care, aged care reablement in the community , and NDIS home care. Some states have Care workers termed “assistants in nursing” (AIN in NSW) already employed in their state health systems. While major reviews and redesign of Aged Care and NDIA are in progress it would seem opportune to collaborate in the improved design and regulation of an high skilled carer workforce.

Poor staffing skills, poor staffing retention and rapid attrition issues are common  across the care spectrum. Aged care and NDIS currently compete for the same care staff in many instances. National registration, national skills and training harmonisation would provide greater worker employment possibilities.

Mandated ongoing training as a prerequisite for yearly re-registration will be an impetus for increased quality of care because it creates an awareness of industry best practice. Quality of care provision then becomes a worker professional imperative which benefits both the employer and the person receiving care. Increased skills and training then become the basis for career progression, worker retention and better remuneration.

Aged Care Reform Now’s submission for the NDIS review outlined 9 recommendations to improve the education and regulation of all care workers across the care spectrum. You can download it below.

Read more of our advocacy positions and recommendations on our submissions page:

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