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Is working in home care or an aged care facility the right job for you?

May 2, 2022
Aged Care

Trying to choose between in home care or working within an aged care facility can be a tough decision. Some crave the autonomy and flexibility of working within another person’s home, whilst others seek the structure and routine offered within an aged care facility. Whilst it can seem daunting to make a call, it’s important to remember that both jobs offer exceptional opportunities to make a real impact on another person’s life. Let’s explore some current statistics relating to the aged care sector and investigate the differences within the two roles so you can kick-start your career in either space, without any reservations.

Interesting Facts and Figures about the Aged Care Sector and Workforce

  • According to the 2022 Healthcare Pulse Report produced by Seek, aged care-related roles make up one-third of all roles advertised on the platform, up from 18% in 2013. This may be due to the release of more government Home Care Packages in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety..
  • Of the current aged care workforce, almost 9 in 10 workers were female (87% of those in residential care, and 89% of those in home care or home support), and the aged care workforce was generally older than the average across all industries (Mavromaras et al. 2017).
  • In 2016, there were more than 366,000 aged care workers, including 240,000 direct care workers (Mavromaras et al. 2017)
  • According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare;
    • The proportion of Australia’s population aged 65 and over has risen from 12% in 1997 to 16% in 2019
    • During 2019–20, over one million people received support from aged care services in Australia
    • Around 840,000 people used the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (home support)
    • Most people who use aged care services are older women. In June 2020, around 2 in 3 (65%) people using aged care services were women.
  • Impacts of COVID: Interestingly, due to COVID-19, nearly 5,300 fewer people were admitted to permanent residential aged care in 2020 compared with 2019 and around 11,100 fewer people were admitted to respite residential aged care in 2020 compared with 2019.

In Home Care vs Aged Care facility: How do the roles compare?

When asking personal care assistants and community care workers to describe their job, words and phrases such as “rewarding”, “building relationships” and “positive impact” are commonly expressed. Though there are certainly overlapping themes, let’s explore how they differ.  

Autonomy

One of the biggest differences for healthcare workers in the aged care sector is autonomy.

For those providing home support, you are likely working alone where there are fewer resources readily available at your disposal. This means you’re required to improvise, be adaptable and make the best, safest decision you can at any one time. Though expert guidance is only a phone call away, it’s up to you to seek it.

For staff within an aged care facility, you are surrounded with resources and physical help should you need it. This structure doesn’t eliminate the need for staff to be provocative and think independently, though some workers may feel more supported in this environment. 

Developing connections

Some may argue that it’s more difficult to establish a connection when working inside an aged care facility due to shift structures, set patient allocations and staff shortages. However, for staff undertaking full time shifts within these facilities, they may disagree as special bonds can be strengthened with residents every shift.

For those working in home care, there is a significant level of trust required from both the client and the staff member. Staff, working as independent practitioners, need to feel safe, whilst clients on the other hand have to be comfortable with a person they don’t personally know in their home. After a while, the client and aged care worker usually develop a stronger connection and the client feels comfortable with that person in their home.

Day-to-day tasks, case numbers and roles

Those working as in home carers will likely assist with meal preparation, personal care (such as eating, dressing and bathing), household cleaning tasks, transportation, medication supervision and wound management. They need to be advocates for their clients at all times, seeking specialised care involvement from medical, pharmacy and allied health if need be. They are also likely to support fewer clients than those in aged care facilities meaning the work may be on the quieter, calmer side.

Within an aged care facility, it’s common practice to look after numerous clients in one shift. The work involves assisting with activities of daily living such as showering, dressing, feeding, using lifting machines and tidying a residents room. The work is generally structured and has a set routine but is often renowned as busier in comparison to home care.

IN-HOME AGED CARE JOBS

RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE JOBS

More autonomy and Independence

More structure and routine

Minimal hands on support readily available

Resources and physical support is readily available

More one-on-one time with clients

Greater number of clients often resulting in less one-on-one time

Greater variation in tasks such as medication administration and attending to activities of daily living

More consistency, routine and structure

Personal setting. Potentially quiet and calm, however is based on clients needs

Often busy setting which can be physically demanding

If you are trying to find the right role for you, whether that be in home care or in an aged care facility, explore our aged care division page where you can search for jobs and register your interest in upcoming opportunities.

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