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It’s time to connect the dots.

Consumer care needs, workforce demand, finance and governance – make it work together for success

The aged care sector is experiencing significant tension between meeting the needs and preferences of consumers, delivering safe and quality care that meets regulatory compliance, and fully understanding the impact of the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) and workforce productivity and the allocation of care minutes and financial viability.

The critical element to understand is the AN-ACC model is an activity-based enablement and restorative care model that focuses on the consumer’s abilities. It’s a capability approach to assessment, not a dependency model.

With a case mix funding model, there is a direct correlation between consumer needs and care planning, funding and workforce care minutes, but under the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) model, there was no direct link between funding and the workforce.

The critical success factor is workforce productivity and ensuring you have a direct connection to your consumers’ care needs and preferences. If you don’t have a clear strategy in place, you run the risk of negative outcomes, such as: operating inefficiencies; higher operating costs or operating losses; increased incidents resulting from staffing shortages and inefficient practices; an increase in consumer or family complaints; potential non-compliance notifications; and staff retention and recruitment challenges.

Your workforce skills mix, competencies, qualifications and experience should directly correlate to your consumers’ care and service requirements. All too often, rosters are created purely on a number basis. With AN-ACC and the allocation of care minutes, while you will be able to tick a box to say that your consumers are receiving 200 care minutes, is that time actually delivering best-practice safe and quality care that aligns to the individuals’ needs?

If you do not have detailed care plans that align to both the Aged Care Quality Standards and the specific requirements for each consumer, you could run the risk of not meeting standards Standard 7(3)(a) ‘Number and mix of workforce’ and Standard 3(3)(a) ‘Safe and effective personal and clinical care’.

The groundwork for transformation

Aged care providers are encouraged to take the following actions in order to refine their business model and ensure the best outcomes for the people in their care:

  • Review your consumers’ care plans to ensure they are detailed and outcomes driven, with strategies and measures in place that holistically link all elements of each individual.
  • Analyse your existing workforce and roster to ensure its effectiveness and connection back to consumers and case mix funding. This will help you remain compliant, reduce operational costs and enhance the employee and consumer experience.
  • Reflect on the following: what drivers affect your organisation’s workload; your model of care; how the workload is measured in each community (this may be particularly relevant in memory support communities); the number of consumers in your care who are high risk or have reactive behaviours or mobility issues; and how many consumers in your care are on poly-pharmacy (meaning longer medication rounds).
  • Dive into an analysis of your team and depth of experience and capabilities, ensuring that you match the right person or people to a particular area or service that needs to be delivered.
  • Ensure you have an effective governance framework that incorporates, measures and reports the effectiveness of your approach.

For expert help, a product like Anchor Excellence Workforce Demand Analysis can support your transition to AN-ACC. The tool maps consumer care needs and calculates the estimated care minutes for each consumer. Using a ‘bottom up’ approach, it calculates the minimum staffing requirement for each community and the entire home, based on your consumers’ unique care needs. This staffing requirement can then be benchmarked against your current roster and care minutes under AN-ACC to see what opportunities and requirements exist.

Transformation takes time and affects many facets of business operations. It’s a complex puzzle that has many moving parts. It’s not just about plugging into a platform that spits out a dataset; you need to be aware of how all the elements fit together. Only then can you genuinely connect the dots between your workforce, delivering best practice safe and quality care, and ensuring financial viability and compliance.

To book your complimentary consultation with Paul Harris and find out about how the Workforce Demand Analysis Tool can support your organisation and consumers click here

Paul Harris

Chief Financial Officer

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