Aiming to address the chronic staff shortages plaguing its aged care facility, a council in southern NSW has undertaken an initiative by investing over $600,000 to sponsor and train ten overseas staff members from the Philippines, ABC News has reported.
Coolamon Shire Council, in collaboration with five community-run facilities, has embarked on this venture to bolster its workforce and meet the growing demand for aged care services in the region.
Allawah Lodge, operated by Coolamon Shire Council, has been grappling with a significant waiting list of over 70 individuals seeking residential aged care. However, due to the chronic shortage of staff, only 22 out of the facility’s 33 beds can currently be utilised. Despite the council’s efforts to recruit registered nurses and even offering to pay off the HECS debts of new graduates, they have been unable to attract local talent for the past seven years.
In light of these challenges, the council has turned to an innovative solution: sponsoring ten overseas staff members from the Philippines and providing them with training to become nurses. An investment of $136,000 will cover the costs of bringing the staff members into the community and facilitating their training, while an additional $500,000 will be allocated to constructing housing accommodations for them.
Council General Manager Tony Donoghue emphasised that this initiative is an essential investment for the council, as it will address the critical need for staff at Allawah Lodge. The council’s commitment to building accommodations for sponsored staff members underscores their dedication to ensuring the smooth operation of this vital community facility.
By collaborating with other aged care homes in the region, Coolamon Shire Council aims to secure a total of 30 aged care staff members from the Philippines. Ten individuals sponsored by the council will commit to the program for a duration of three years, providing much-needed stability to the workforce.
While this approach offers hope for resolving staffing shortages and meeting the demand for aged care services, it is not without its consideration. Some concerns have been raised regarding the long-term sustainability of relying on overseas staff and the potential cultural disconnect between caregivers and residents. However, proponents argue that this initiative will not only address immediate staffing challenges but also foster diversity and enrich the care environment with varied perspectives.
Coolamon Shire Council’s investment of over $600,000 to sponsor and train overseas staff members for its aged care workforce demonstrates its commitment to providing quality care for its community. As the demand for aged care services continues to rise, innovative solutions like these will play a crucial role in meeting the needs of an ageing population and ensuring the well-being of elderly individuals in the region.