NurseWatch, a new aged-care-at-home service, brings a much-needed service to booming industry
The number of Australians receiving home care packages is growing at a record annual growth rate of 29 per cent as reported in the Home Care Packages Data Report (1st Quarter 2018-19, and there are currently at least 69,000 older Australians waiting for their approved level home care package. At a time where a high number of people are without services, a new aged-care-at-home company called NurseWatch, brings a much-needed new model to this booming industry.
This industry is expanding and will continue to do so over the next 30 years. The percentage of Australians over 65 will reach 25 per cent by 2050 and aged care is expected to be the fastest growing spending item (after the National Disability Insurance Scheme) this year, growing at over 7 per cent per annum.
Combine this with the fact the proportion of younger Australians is declining and it’s easy to see why aged care is booming. People are living longer due to advances in medical technology in developed countries and their needs are changing. The baby boomer generation has always been driven by high expectations around lifestyle, relationships, physical appearance, technology and wellness. They’ve done everything else differently so it’s understandable they’ll do old age differently to previous generations.
The boomers are forcing society to rethink what it means to grow old and as the founder and CEO of the company, Kate Spurway, explains this is why she has set up NurseWatch as she has: “We understand the current mindset of ageing people. The NurseWatch model is focused around affordable, premium care in the home because people want to stay in their own homes for longer.”
“The staff at NurseWatch are all registered nurses so they can provide premium medical care but at the same time, they can provide enjoyable social experiences such as yoga and massage for their clients. We work when our clients need us, around the clock,” she adds.
Government initiative to move 80% of aged care into the home by 2050
Ms Spurway says the NurseWatch model is in tune with the Australian government’s recent initiative to move 80 per cent of aged care into the home by 2050.
“We are set up to help people can access quality care and age gracefully and comfortably within their own home,” she says.
NurseWatch model places emphasis on wellness
Ms Spurway says the NurseWatch system operates in small blocks of time and in extended periods, so care becomes more affordable than conventional services, keeping the focus on quality over quantity.
This model provides regular wellness sessions and these can all be booked by using an online booking process on the NurseWatch website, so by using this service people can access instant, unlimited access to quality care in the home, around the clock.
Ms Spurway says the staff at NurseWatch form close ongoing relationships with clients, giving them the opportunity to monitor their client’s health and general wellbeing over the course of the relationship: “We aim to initiate the care process earlier on so our clients continue to feel well and we can work on preventing future health and mobility problems,” she adds.
A strong need for a coherent fee-for-service care service
The need for a service such as NurseWatch is providing has been steadily arising in Australia. Government figures show there are now more than 69,000 older Australians waiting for their approved level package home care package and they are currently without an interim package (as at 30 September 2018.)
Although the Federal Government announced an additional 14,000 higher care packages as part of the 2018–19 budget and the recent delivery of 10,000 packages, this falls well short of meeting ever-increasing demand based on the government’s target ratio of 4.5 per cent for people over the age of 70 by 2022.
Outside of government provided home support and care packages, piecemeal assistance services are often provided by the operators of seniors’ living communities. However, coherent, tiered, fee-for-service support and care that addresses the spectrum of care and support needs are not commonly available in these communities…
Many people are used to the government being ‘the payer’ for care and health needs. However, there is a growing segment of older Australians with a capacity to pay for care and support driven by societal factors such as newfound wealth from the sale proceeds of their homes, greater superannuation, a lessening of the intent of past generations to ‘leave money for the kids’ and a desire to live as well as they can now. Most of all, they wish to defer admission to residential aged care.
Mr Ali goes on to propose a model of tiered assistance and care delivered to seniors’ communities which would provide continuous care for those with deteriorating wellbeing who cannot wait months, if not years, for a government-funded assisted living package.
He wrote that models of service like this are now available in Canada and northern Europe but have not been implemented until now to a considerable extent in Australia. As NurseWatch offers this service, it’s hoped ageing people in the community can access this level of premium, affordable care in the home.
Giving traditional aged care an image makeover
When she founded NurseWatch last year, Ms Spurway says she felt, as well as basing the company’s structure on a new model, it was time to give the traditional image of the aged care industry a makeover.
“The aged care industry has an image problem,” she says. “In an already ageist society, this image is amplified through negative media stories and daggy presentation of older people in media. The image of aged care has not kept up with the way aged people see themselves in 2019.”
Turning this outdated image on its head, Ms Spurway gave it a total makeover when NurseWatch launched an image campaign, inspired by international fashion houses such as Celine (Joan Didion), Swarovski (Maye Musk), Karen Walker and Dolce & Gabbana who are now using models aged 70+.
Ms Spurway hired well-known photographer, George Antoni, and with the help of a team including Naomi Smith, Linda Jeffreyes and Daren Borthwick, Antoni created some amazing images of 75+ people for the company.
As Ms Spurway says, these images: “…create a positive image campaign that is strong on contemporary, meaningful branding showing people of age who are attractive, vital and stylish.”
NurseWatch provides aged care services in Sydney and Melbourne.