Home' Community Care Review : CCR May-Jun 2015 Contents their family or carer the option to directly hire the care worker of
"What Better Caring is offering is a new level of choice and
transparency to customers and care workers while providing a better
outcome for both," Better Caring founder Peter Scutt explains. "The
client who wants to take control of their own care is able to engage
people at a price they can afford and the care worker is able to
accept clients on terms they think are fair, and a long-term valuable
bond is formed with the client. We believe our approach facilitates
and embraces the spirit of Consumer Directed Care and the NDIS.
"One thing we have to do for the aged care and disability sectors
is to make the industry a more appealing place to work. We believe
the Better Caring approach will not only encourage people to work
in their local community but introduce new people into the sector.
We offer people a flexible, empowered way to work.
"Our independent workers offer choices to clients built around
what suits them. Engaging the care worker directly is less expensive
than using an agency and makes individual care budgets go further.
What Better Caring is delivering is a new, innovative marketplace
model that ticks all the boxes," Scutt says.
On one side of the Better Caring marketplace, there are clients
needing support and on the other, individual care workers offering
support services. By connecting the client with the worker directly
it can be a more rewarding relationship for both parties. Innovative
home care providers can also partner with the Better Caring
marketplace, by flexibly offering a pool of skilled and motivated
care workers to their clients. This can result in internal efficiencies
in supply and demand for the provider, while delivering real choice
and cost savings to their clients.
These peer-to-peer marketplace models are well established in
other industries that are now being enthusiastically embraced in
Australia. In reference to this new 'sharing economy', Scutt gives
internet-based examples such as Uber, an on-demand taxi service,
Airbnb, an accommodation provider, and Freelancer, a marketplace
for professional services, as disruptors restructuring industries by
empowering consumers and workers to
connect directly. "Like Better Caring, these
services allow people to find each other,
negotiate outcomes, build trust and develop
relationships. It's all very transparent."
"Better Caring is however a marketplace
with controls, reflecting that we operate in
an industry where many are vulnerable. We
have sensible policies and procedures in
place which are always being improved. Our
on-boarding and approval process includes
criminal and reference checks, before a care
worker's profile goes live on the platform.
We reject about 15 per cent of applicants.
And we have partnered with Zurich to cover
all care workers with insurances.
"A question we are often asked is, how
does Better Caring ensure the quality of
services if care workers are independent?
This is addressed in a number of ways. At a
high level, the ultimate arbiter of quality is
consumer choice -- they can easily choose
someone else. We also enable consumers
to provide feedback on their experience,
which is recorded on worker profiles."
Importantly, the foundation of
quality care starts with the attitudes and
motivations of individual care workers,
Scutt says. Better quality is an outcome
of workers having more control and taking
responsibility for their clients, because they
directly benefit from delivering great care.
"We recognise that we must build the
capacity of care workers and consumers to
operate in this 'free' market. It starts with
having policies, procedures and guidelines
in place to support and protect them both.
We offer 24/7 phone support, peer-to-peer
support, meetups, networking, seminars,
a resources library, coaching, training and
development as an important element of
the Better Caring model."
The shortage of personal care workers
is well documented, says Scutt. The
Productivity Commission review into aged
care reported low levels of morale among
care workers and all the challenges of
attracting and retaining a workforce.
"When I speak to care workers they say
'revolving door' rosters can be a big issue
for them. Care workers used to have a two
week roster, however, with new technology
rosters can change within 24 hours and this
can be a cause of some dissatisfaction. These
rostering systems are often cost or efficiency
driven allowing little flexibility for either
party. It is a high overhead model that gives
little time or incentive for the care worker to
get to know the customer. We are attempting
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