3 insights from the Retirement Living and Aged Care Conference

By Adeola Bamgbose, Founder, DeoCare NZ

Last month, the DeoCare team attended the New Zealand Aged Care Association & Retirement Villages Association Annual Summit in Christchurch.

It was great to meet fellow professionals from the industry, interact with facility managers and understand the opportunities and challenges within the sector.

In our conversations with various managers, on-ground staff and leaders, we gathered a few insights on the topics and issues that are of priority for those in the sector:

  1. Urgent call to rehaul the funding system

More so than staffing, the conversation at the conference revolved around the need for funding.

There is an urgent call from the sector to rehaul New Zealand’s two-decade old funding system. Currently, the sector is plagued by acute shortage of registered nurses, staff cost increases, inflation – and government funding just isn’t keeping up with the times.

The latest NZIER report found that underfunding by the government raises the risk that the number of available beds will plateau or even start to fall significantly when demand for aged care increases, given the ageing population.

The report said, if access to private aged residential care services did not keep up with demand for aged care, the burden of care for New Zealand’s ageing population would fall on other parts of the healthcare system.

It highlighted that government spending on aged care appeared low compared to other OECD countries, and while the sector has actively engaged with the government about this broken funding model, faster results and better outcomes were needed, said those DeoCare spoke to at the conference.

  • Critical shortage of staff

DeoCare has extensively covered the impact of lack of qualified staff in aged care facilities, in our previous blogs.

Shortage of registered nurses has led to burnout, patients being turned away and in some instances, closing down of facilities.

While, this is the biggest challenge faced by everyone in healthcare right now, aged-care facilities are facing extra problems due to the turnover of its staff to DHBs.

900 registered nurses left the aged care sector in the past 12 months, with 70 percent going to District Health Boards due to pay disparities.

As the industry continues to navigate this minefield of experiencing staff shortage while providing quality care to their patients, we spoke to facilities at the conference about the importance of taking a step back and asking yourself – how are we doing on recruitment and what can we do better?

Read through our 3 aged-care recruitment strategies that addresses this long-term challenge.

3. Immigration and the employer accreditation process

At the conference, several facility managers spoke to our team members about the long wait times for visa processing as well as their own challenges with the employer accreditation process.

As of 4 July 2022, any employer that wanted to hire a migrant worker needed to be accredited by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). The process, for some organisation has been time consuming, expensive and taxing.

However, with the launch of Health NZ, appointment of Carolyn Cooper as NZ’s first Aged Care Commissioner and establishment of the Ministry for Disabled People, a reform is underway within the healthcare sector in NZ. And as much as we like processes to remain the same, facility will need to adopt newer ways of doing recruitment.

Accrediting your facility as an employer with INZ is the way forward.

If you want to bring on board an internationally qualified nurse, as a specialist recruitment agency, DeoCare works with trusted partners who can provide correct, up-to-date information on the process.

Get in touch with us and let us help you relieve some of the stress in finding you the right person.

Were you at the conference? Write to us, we’d love to hear what was top of mind for you!

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