Aged care service provider Afea Care Services is adopting advanced technology to support workforce wellbeing.
Just launched – and the first employee assistance program of its kind in the aged care industry – the new self-care platform, called Leora, combines artificial intelligence with human therapist support.
“People in the aged care and disability industry face tremendous psychological pressure every day,” said Joseph Assad, head of people and culture at Afea. “Afea provides care to some of the most vulnerable members of the community, and we want to ensure our workers feel well supported too. Unfortunately, in its current state, mental health services can’t keep up with the demand. Leora offers a way to make mental healthcare instantly accessible.”
Leora is a chatbot that can conduct mental health triage by guiding users through clinically validated assessments and self-help tools. The bot can also assist in booking sessions with the platform’s network of therapists.
Founder and CEO of Leora Esha Oberoi said the platform is designed to provide immediate 24/7 assistance, given that minimum waiting time to access mainstream mental healthcare is six weeks or even up to six months in rural areas.
“AI can make up for the gaps by complementing human-led support and providing tools in between sessions to scale care,” Ms Oberoi said. “Leora can speak and connect with users in a natural, engaging and conversational way.”
The technology is constantly improving, said Ms Oberoi. “We also plan to develop algorithms for Leora that can match an individual’s unique needs and preferences, like language or culture, to the right therapist and specialisation.”
Leora is available to all Afea office-based staff and their 700 support workers providing in-home and community care across the Sydney metropolitan area. The same service is also extended to their immediate families.
“We’re always looking for ways to better support our people,” Mr Assad said. “As an organisation reliant on human services, we’re excited to see where AI-powered mental health support will take us.”