Matching skill, enthusiasm and empathy with quality technology is the solution to care worker shortages

care worker

Source: Adobe Stock.

Even before the global pandemic, Australia’s home care system was struggling to attract and retain quality healthcare and support workers

Add to that the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and a damning Royal Commission into aged care which reveals a sector “understaffed, and the workforce underpaid and under-trained”, and the future of home care looked bleak.

But there is a way out, thanks to a tech solution called Lookout, developed by Brisbane-based technology business The Lookout Way based on their experience running home care business Five Good Friends — both headed up by co-founder and CEO Simon Lockyer.

The world’s first digital care management platform designed from the client’s perspective, Lookout not only puts clients first but can also unlock the potential of health care teams by providing them with the tools to collaborate and communicate effectively — building confidence in their roles, reducing errors and improving attraction and retention of great staff.

The aged care crisis

It’s shocking to realise that one-in-three people living in aged care in Australia experience neglect, physical or emotional abuse. 

They’re figures that prompted Lockyer and his team to look for a solution before the sector nosedived into full crisis mode.

“There are real reasons for people to feel concerned and saddened by what they have seen through the Royal Commission — this is exactly how we have felt as an organisation,” Lockyer says.

“What is critical however, is that the community cannot lose faith, belief and trust in the aged care system. We cannot abandon the belief that there can be an appropriate solution that Australians can depend on and rely on to live engaged and happy lives.

“We should be focusing our attention on ensuring that people can live safely and independently in their homes for as long as they desire.”

Click here to discover more about Lookout, the truly customer-focused digital care management platform.

Attracting new talent

With the Royal Commission shining a light on the sector and care workers abandoning the industry due to burnout, low pay and long hours, Lockyer says there is a need to make care and support work an attractive, exciting, and engaging career for those who have never considered it.

“We need to be able to take people who may have cared for family or friends through their life and upskill, train and progress them into careers in caring roles,” he explains.

Flexibility is key to fulfilling the need for a strong and capable aged care workforce, Lockyer believes.

“This means a combination of full time, part time, casual and contract positions so that we are meeting the needs of people that want to work in the care industry with flexible options,” he says.

“We must use the tools that are now available to us to ensure that the job is done in a modern and engaging way. Providers need to offer their staff attractive technology that supports the skills, empathy and enthusiasm of those working or looking to work in the sector”

The Lookout edge

With Lookout, staff can operate at the top of their game. Lookout facilitates this by getting the right information, to the right people, instantly helping them excel in their roles, bolstering job satisfaction. 

“From that perspective, Lookout makes the experience and role of caring far more enjoyable and rewarding,” Lockyer says. 

“It frees support workers up from many of the inefficiencies of traditional business and allows them to focus on doing what they’re there to do — providing the best care and support in a personalised and individualised way.”

The system’s remote care monitoring system also gives care workers more confidence in their role and informs judgements.

“By utilising their skills and leaving notes, support workers can have confidence that this information is being properly analysed and surfaced to an appropriate care professional,” Lockyer says.

“From there, responses are prioritised to ensure the right services, training and support are in place to ensure support workers can do a great job and that the client is receiving everything they require.”

Collaboration is key

Lookout also simplifies workflows and promotes collaboration, which drives kind, thoughtful and responsive care.

“Collaboration tickets allocate responsibility, timelines and contingencies for tasks, so everyone knows when it’s the right time to do what they need to do,” Lockyer says.

“It’s about ensuring that everyone in the team knows what’s happening and when. It’s about sharing the right information across a team at the right time.” 

Recognise and retain

The Lookout system also supports care workers by recognising outstanding service, and giving credit where it’s due through its ‘recommendations’ feature.

“Using recommendations, families, clients and staff can recognise care workers for both their professional and personal skills,” Lockyer explains. 

“Recommendations are really visible within the platform and based on recommendations, it’s easy for a provider to identify consistently high performers. It allows you to document and reward people who excel.” 

So despite the current care worker shortage, Lookout offers some light at the end of the tunnel which is not only positive for clients, but also the workers and their employers.

“As providers, if clients are getting a better experience, you get better outcomes, high staff retention and satisfaction, and in turn, improved business performance.”

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Lookout is the first truly customer-focused digital care management platform designed and developed in Australia. Lookout was created based on the experience of operating one of the country’s fastest growing home care providers, Five Good Friends. Lookout has been designed for the post-Royal Commission into Aged Care era with customer satisfaction and health outcomes at its core.

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