The aged care resourcing challenge

Technology can help free up time to spend with residents.

Technology can help free up time to spend with residents.

Finding staff is one of the biggest challenges facing the aged care sector. At the same time, providers have to meet new requirements that came out of the royal commission into aged care.

Care time is essential to a high-quality service, and there are now clear standards for the amount that each resident should receive. Starting with a target of 200 minutes per day in 2022, the standard becomes a mandatory minimum of 215 minutes daily by 2023.

This presents two challenges for managing aged care facilities:

  • given the workforce shortages, the only option for allowing more one-to-one time with residents is to free up staff from other tasks.
  • providers have to be able to accurately report and provide evidence of that time being spent.

The best way to meet these challenges is to embrace technology to enable more efficient working practices and reporting capability. The importance of technology in the aged care sector is also very much recognised by the royal commission.

In recommendation 107, the commissioners requested “research into, and innovation in, the delivery of aged care, including workforce-related research and technology,” and that funding be made available by the government.

The government’s investment in the sector led to the founding of Aged Care Research and Industry Innovation Australia, whose aim is to provide “resources and assistance to the nation’s aged care workforce to deliver best practice care and support for older Australians today, and for generations of older Australians to come.” ARIIA manages a grant program to fund research and turn its findings into practical outcomes that help to transform the way that we care for our older community.

Technologies such as digital information systems, remote sensors and medication management are already in use in care homes. Electronic Access Control is also increasingly recognised as a way to deliver more care time and provide evidence of having done so.  

SALTO Systems EAC – freeing staff time to spend with residents

EAC replaces traditional locks and keys with electronic locks, accessed via a keycard, a wristband fob or even face recognition. It reduces the amount of time needed to manage access for staff, residents and visitors by:

  • simplifying access: giving residents easy access to their own rooms, without keys or staff help
  • automatic scheduling: enabling staff to automatically lock and unlock perimeter or shared facility doors, for example at night and in the morning, without having to visit each one
  • visitor management: allowing trusted visitors to have their own key card, but manage the times they can come in, and the areas they can access
  • increased security: being able to rapidly cancel a keycard when staff or residents leave, meaning no chasing up to get keys returned
  • controlled areas: controlling access to areas such as a garden, or upper floors, to ensure that they’re only open to residents who can use them safely.

EAC for tracking and reporting

EAC also plays an essential role in tracking and reporting on the amount of care time that each resident has received. The system tracks which staff member has entered the resident’s room, and the time of entry and exit, so that reports can clearly show the amount of time the resident spent with the carer.

The SALTO Systems EAC solution is both a wireless and hardwired solution, with multiple integrations available, making it an ideal and cost-effective selection for aged care.

Technology is set to play an increasingly important role in the delivery of high-quality resident care. Research will no doubt find new avenues to explore. Here and now, however, EAC is already helping facilities to deliver on the demands of the commissioners – by freeing up staff time to spend with residents, and providing the evidence for reporting their compliance.

If you are interested in learning more, contact SALTO Systems Healthcare vertical manager Sis Inthavong at s.inthavong@saltosystems.com or on 0438 698 029.