Unmet demand for home-based aged and disability carers

Left to right - Tania, Maree, Cath, Karen, Jody

While many Central Coast businesses fight to keep staff employed, Karen Barrett from the in-home care service, Trusted Home Care, is struggling to find workers.

The service provides at-home care for aged and disabled people by community support workers, who help with personal care, transport, social community access, respite, meal preparation and other types of assistance.

Barrett said it is an interesting time to be understaffed and the number of people applying for jobs had dropped significantly in past months.

“We are in a unique position, and because we are growing, there is an opportunity to create some permanency in the job world,” Barrett said.

“We are a bit of certainty in a not so certain world at the moment. “It is a very feel-good industry, and we get a lot of job satisfaction.”

Barrett has worked in the health industry as a registered nurse, and has also brought up her son, who lives with a disability.

“I am used to having supports coming in, and I used to work in the industry, so I understand what it takes to be a good community support worker,” she said.

Since launching the service, she has seen an influx in demand for in-home care services, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because people are now seeing what is going on in the world in nursing homes, there are a lot more people pushing to keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible,” she said.

“This is because they have got a consistency of support at home with just a few support workers going in, rather than a massive turnover of staff within facilities, which is a higher risk.

Trusted Home Care is looking for people who have either completed a Certificate 3 or higher in Individual Support or Aged Care or are looking to study and will employ staff on a casual base with the possibility of permanent or part-time work.

“It’s not necessarily a nine to five job, you can be available on certain days of the week, or you can just be available overnight,” she said.

This shortage of workers in the community support and aged care industry has also been felt by others on the Central Coast, with Human Resources Coordinator, Donna Louise, also struggling to fill positions for a local residential aged care facility.

“We have been advertising for months, and people are just not applying,” she said. “As a coordinator who is looking for workers, I have never been busier.”

Reporter Jacinta Counihan