We spoke with Melissa Simpson, Marketing Manager for Feros Care about how digital technologies are evolving the aged and community care industry, and how it is enabling seniors to stay in their own homes for longer.
Feros Care is a community owned, non-profit company with over 22 years experience in the provision of aged and community care services. They provide a comprehensive range of aged and community care services that can be tailored to suit individual care-recipient and carer needs. Feros Care’s mission is to be a strong ambassador and partner in the lives of seniors, with a focus on creating a range of lifestyle options that support independence, social connectedness and healthy aging.
How have customer needs been changing for the aged and community care industry?
The demographic trends facing the aged care industry in Australia are very significant. There are increasing numbers of those over 65 (1 in 4 by 2050) and those over 80 (1.8 million by 2050). This is combined with a declining pool of younger Australians to replenish the workforce of the retiring older workers. It is also a growing reality that seniors wish to stay and live at home as long as possible.
In order for people to stay in their own homes for longer, there is a need for a range of technology and systems that will supplement traditional care methods.
We are meeting challenges facing the industry in a number of ways. We’re introducing technology to assist seniors to stay at home for longer. We’re leveraging internet communication (particularly the NBN) to provide remote health monitoring, including video conferencing, so seniors can access health services more frequently and conveniently from the comfort of their own homes to achieve better health outcomes.
We see it important to adapt our care models to encourage independence and reablement rather than clinically-only focused care models. Part of that is having strong people and culture policies in recruitment and retention to ensure Feros Care is an employer of choice who attracts the right staff and invests in their staff to achieve improved client experience and wellness outcomes.
To provide a quality service we regularly survey our staff, clients and their families to obtain feedback. We manage the operational aspects of our business and client care using industry specific software applications. The technology enables Feros to respond and provide innovative service offerings based on the feedback.
What processes and services for Feros Care have moved online?
All of our staff on the road who visit and case manage our clients are working online. They have a virtual office of smart phones, laptops and printers to work remotely. Our staff don’t come to the office every day. They fill out their assessment forms at their clients’ homes electronically which get immediately uploaded into our client management database. They can advise on individual care package budgets in real-time. This means all of our client records are centrally located and accessed by staff online 24/7 when needed. Our staff can access their rosters via smartphone, and we can therefore update our rosters immediately when there is a last minute change or challenging circumstances.
We have also implemented company-wide video conferencing capability for meetings, training, recruitment and so on. With many of our employees operating remotely, we now have an efficient and rich communication means using online conferencing. It has been working extremely well and we’ve even been video conferencing with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.