Recruitment companies specialising in aged care are preparing for an anticipated increase in demand for physiotherapists over the next few months due to the new ACFI rules that come into effect on 1 January.
Already, there has been a spike in advertisements for physios by aged care providers and recruitment agencies across Australia, with 192 jobs posted on Seek alone over the last fortnight.
The stipulation of one to one care for the complex pain management claims and a minimum requirement of 80 minutes per week, delivered over at least four days, were announced in the changes to ACFI earlier this month.
While the new rules will only apply to residents who enter care from 1 January and people whose ACFI status is reassessed per the current rules, the impact of the changes on the workforce is expected to be evident by mid 2017.
Rachel Sharp, allied health consultant for recruitment firm Sugarman International, said she is expecting an influx of both candidates and requests for staff from aged care providers over the next month.
“Things do pick up for allied health in December with new graduates seeking work and positions needing to be filled both during the holiday period. By the first week of January I am expecting to see an increased demand for physios by our aged care clients, and we’re preparing for that now.”
Ms Sharp said the ACFI changes may make it harder to attract physiotherapists into the industry, given the competition over pay and workload when compared to private practice.
“It can be difficult to place candidates in aged care. I find that many of our candidates want to work in private practise or hospitals and are less interested in aged care, so we have to spend more time screening to ensure we get the right person with the right attitude.”
While some providers and recruiters are seeking to attract new graduates to fill positions and the salary difference between a new graduate and person with more experience is an easy cost savings measure, Ms Sharp said this is not ideal.
“I don’t like to send new grads in to aged care, especially if they will be working on their own. Most people need that year out to get that extra training through working closely with more experienced physios and mentoring. Even just one year of professional experience can make a big different in a person’s confidence and competence,” she said.