Enkindle 2024 Home Care Provider Outlook: Workforce challenges continue…

The latest survey by Enkindle inviting the views of 340 leaders across the home care sector, has revealed workforce recruitment and retention as the most significant challenges facing the sector.

According to the survey, 36% of respondents rated workforce shortages as the single most significant challenge confronting the home care sector. Providers expressed difficulties in finding skilled workers, retaining staff, and meeting the diverse needs of their workforce, citing factors such as low wages, staff burnout, and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rising costs associated with recruitment, development, and staff well-being have placed additional pressure on in-home care providers, threatening their sustainability and growth. Many respondents voiced concerns over the lack of support from government initiatives, exacerbating the challenges faced by the industry.

Despite some relief expressed by providers regarding delays to the Support at Home program, frustrations remain high due to uncertainty surrounding its implementation and pricing. The lack of information has hindered strategic planning and decision-making, leading to a growing lack of confidence in the government’s ability to design a sustainable home care model.

“Transitioning the entire home care system at once was a huge risk to older Australians, but also providers and government too. It’s purely and simply the right decision to postpone CHSP, desite the understandable frustrations.”

2024 Survey Respondent

Key priorities for providers in 2024 include long-term planning, governance strengthening, digital transformation, compliance, branding, and operational efficiency. However, barriers such as affordability, technological limitations, and regulatory uncertainty continue to impede progress in these areas, with 74% of respondents claiming their Home Care IT platform is not meeting their needs or non-existent!

Despite the challenges, there are potential opportunities presented by the Support at Home program, with a majority of providers recognising the potential of improving their financial sustainability. However, risks such as pricing constraints and increased competition loom large, prompting calls for proactive measures to maintain quality standards and ensure market stability.

The survey also highlighted the need for board readiness and governance systems strengthening within home care organisations. Many governing boards lack sufficient understanding of industry reforms and their impacts, underscoring the importance of education, strategic leadership, and resource allocation in navigating industry changes effectively.

As the home care sector grapples with complex challenges, stakeholders urge policymakers to take decisive action to address workforce shortages, provide clarity on regulatory frameworks, and support innovation to ensure the continued delivery of high-quality care to vulnerable populations.

The full report can be downloaded from the Enkindle Consulting website here.

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