Australia has an aging population. For the next 40 years the number of people age 65 and older could double (from 4 million to over 8 million). Although approximately just 5% of the older Australians live in nursing homes and other cared accommodations, the aged care industry is and will face certain challenges.
1. Rise of dementia cases
Nearly half of elderly patients (~one half of 365,000 people) are now living with dementia. With the resulting cognitive and physical disabilities, dementia patients are heavily dependent on their carers. As a consequence, they require intensive assistance in personal hygiene, toileting and mobility.
When it comes to mobility, carers should have an easier time in shifting the patients’ positions and orientations. Carers often exert a lot of physical effort to assist the elderly during feeding, medical examination, personal hygiene and leisure times. This can make focusing on the patient almost impossible because of the strenuous tasks.
That’s why many healthcare beds and chairs now have convenient features for easier mobility. Aside from ensuring safety and ease of movement, these beds and chairs now offer superior comfort to the patients (often patients sit or recline for extended hours). For example, Careleda’s healthcare beds, mattresses and chairs were designed using an advanced pressure mapping system to ensure comfortable weight distribution even during long hours of lying or sitting.
2. Understaffing or lack of qualified carers
The availability and supply of qualified professionals may not be able to keep up with the ageing population of Australia. Even with automation and adoption of other modern technologies, humans are still vital in the healthcare industry (especially in aged care wherein elderly people always require human assistance).
As a result, carers might be working overtime or excessively to care for the patients. Aside from affecting the carer’s focus and performance, the patients’ needs might also be neglected. The negative effects get compounded if the healthcare facilities and patient flow are far from excellent.
One way to solve this is by further studying the patient flow and the regular activities of the patients and the carers. For instance, elderly patients who require an extremely high level of assistance could be placed in more accessible locations (e.g. nearer to medical examination rooms). This would then lead to a more efficient workflow so carers can better focus on the patients’ needs.
3. Shrinking budgets, rising expenses
It’s estimated that over $17 billion was spent by the government for elderly care on 2016-17 alone. Expect this number to increase further because of the ageing population and rising occurrences of dementia, heart disease and diabetes (patients with these conditions will require a high level of assistance in everyday activities).
Funding might not be able to keep up sufficiently with the rising demand. After all, it’s a huge challenge to maintain high-quality healthcare while also controlling costs. As a result, both the patients and carers might suffer.
How healthcare providers address the aged care industry challenges
Good news is healthcare providers still deliver excellent services to the ageing population. This requires better efficiency and faster implementation of modern practices. Also, healthcare facilities still purchase high-quality beds, mattresses and chairs for the elderly patients.
After all, the main goal is still to deliver excellent healthcare. Even with the challenges in the aged care industry, excellent healthcare is always a must for everyone.
Here at Careleda, we’re committed to helping healthcare facilities achieve that goal. With our safe and scientifically designed beds, mattresses and chairs, both the cared and carer will have a better experience. Contact us today and our technical staff will provide you with excellent recommendations.