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New free online ACWIC tool to aid workers and providers with workforce planning

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The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) has today launched a major new free online tool, which has been specifically designed with and for aged care providers and workers.

The Workforce Planning Tool, which is now available on the ACWIC website, supports aged care providers to establish a baseline understanding of their organisation’s workforce and lay a foundation for a sustainable workforce plan.

ACWIC CEO Louise O’Neill said that the tool is a breakthrough for the sector.

We have collaborated with aged care workers and managers responsible for workforce planning across a range of settings throughout the policy development phase, to ensure that it is fit for purpose.

ACWIC CEO, Louise O’Neill

“Workforce planning is absolutely critical to ensure that older people continue to receive a high standard of care and that the wellbeing of aged care workers remains a priority,” she said.

“Our workforce planning tool provides accessible and practical assistance, including resources and instant visual insights to help providers to better understand their current workforce, where gaps may be, and model future scenarios to enable proactive workforce planning.”

Louise O’Neill, ACWIC CEO, says that the new planning tool will allow aged care organisations to see what staffing levels they need now, as well into the future as needs of their resident cohort change over time.

Suitable for both residential and home care organisations, the tool allows workforce managers to produce a workforce gap analysis to identify shortfalls in capacity.

The tool requires input through three stages:

  1. Details about the parent organisation, including location and how many facilities it operates;
  2. Details about residents and the specific types of care they receive- ranging from nursing to allied health to social support services, and;
  3. Details about the workforce, including numbers and breakdown of roles.

Stage four will provide organisations with visual representations of the data, highlighting the current state of its workflow.

Gaps in current staffing will be identified, as well as predictions in future workforce vulnerabilities.

The tool also has the capacity to provide specific guidance relating to how increasing trends in the prevalence of dementia will impact workforce capacity.

The Workforce Planning tool will visually represent workforce shortages and show providers what their minimum staffing standards should be based on the new AN-ACC case-mix model.

In an online launch of the tool, O’Neill clarified that the data organisations provide the online tool remains confidential.

“You put your data in and you own that data,” she said.

Advice generated by the tool is informed by requirements under the new Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model, royal commission recommendations and other sector research materials.

“While the tool will be particularly useful for small and medium sized aged care providers, I invite everyone involved in aged care workforce planning to make use of the tool,” O’Neill said.

This is the first iteration … and we acknowledge that there is much room for improvement. We’ve received really positive feedback so far and we’ll continue to seek input from the sector as we work to improve the features and functionality.

CEO of Estia Health, Ian Thorley

“We have collaborated with aged care workers and managers responsible for workforce planning across a range of settings throughout the policy development phase, to ensure that it is fit for purpose.”

Ian Thorley, CEO of Estia Health and a co-director of the ACWIC, said that this tool will hopefully equip providers to overcome the challenges of planning amidst a transformational time in the industry.

“In our consultations, we found that workforce planners were eager to shift from a reactive state to a more proactive state … they were keen to do planning, but with the conditions changing that planning didn’t continue,” he said.

“Knowing where to start was a key barrier, as well as keeping the momentum going.”

Ian Thorley, ACWIC co-director, says that this tool will give providers confidence to plan for the future needs of residents.

O’Neill said that the tool was developed in co-design with the industry and, in this spirt, the ACWIC will be open to feedback as to how the tool can be further developed.

“This is the first iteration … and we acknowledge that there is much room for improvement.

“We’ve received really positive feedback so far and we’ll continue to seek input from the sector as we work to improve the features and functionality.”

The development of the tool has come in response to recommendations from A Matter of Care, a 2018 federal health department report predating the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which began its inquiries in 2019 and handed down its final report in March 2021.

To access the ACWIC workforce tool, visit the ACWIC Resource Hub via this link.

For a live demonstration of the tool or an opportunity to ask the ACWIC further questions, registration is open to their upcoming ‘Lunch and Learn’ session, which will be held online on Friday June 17 at 12:00pm AEST.

More about the ACWIC

The ACWIC is a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to transform the capacity and capability of the aged care workforce.

The Council includes CEOs of aged care providers, an employee representative and a consumer representative.

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