Support Workers Are At Breaking Point – Families And Government Need To Act.

April 27, 2022

The myHomecare Group was featured in the Aged Care News article ‘Passionate but exhausted support workers are at breaking point – it’s time for Govt and families to step up.’

The CEO of the myHomecare Group, Stuart Miller shares his views on his depleted, yet passionate staff.

For a summary on the article read on.


Support Workers in aged care have reached breaking point, with calls for more mental health investment to prevent mass resignations.

No matter the promises made in the midst of the election, tangible reforms in the aged care sector are languishing.

Stuart Miller, CEO of the myHomecare Group, Australia’s largest Home Care Package Provider, tells Aged Care News that ongoing workforce shortages are continuing to deplete the energy of his passionate yet exhausted team.

“No one else is looking out for our clients. Many of them live on their own with limited support,” he says.

“When we’ve got none of the resources when we cannot recruit enough people to keep up with the demand.”

Since workers can’t fill all of their appointments, acute care needs – like medication dispensing and feeding – will take priority over services like cleaning or social assistance.

“It’s a really hard conversation to have,” Miller says.

“For those people who are not getting their house cleaned that week, that might be the only person they see this week.”

“They were so looking forward to it, the human contact and someone else to talk to … so I understand that loss.”

In response to these ongoing challenges, Miller is calling for bipartisan commitment, in the lead-up to the federal election, for more mental health support for aged care support workers.

“Rightfully the focus has been on our frontline healthcare workers — particularly nurses — over the course of the pandemic, but unfortunately our critical aged care staff has not received the same treatment.”

“In order to prevent a mass resignation across the country, we must act now to protect our workforces.”

A Support Worker speaks out about the avalanche of stresses.

Megan Mainwaring has eight years of experience in the aged care industry.

Now working as a case manager for the myHomecare Group, she tells Aged Care News that in 2022, the situation is the worst it has been in her time in the sector, with a combination of lack of staff and resources, as well as abuse from frustrated consumers and their families pushing workers to breaking point.

“We are just trying to do our best for everybody and the constant abuse just makes you say ‘why do I do this?’’

“Sometimes you just want to crawl into a hole. You think I don’t want to do this anymore.”

First and foremost, a lack of staff has made it impossible for Mainwaring to fulfill all of her client’s needs.

“I’ve had a client ring me today saying, ‘Megan, I can’t stand this anymore. What’s happening?’.

In another recent case, Mainwaring says she copped abuse when she had to substitute workers for a palliative patient.

“One of the girls that normally goes on a Saturday rang and let me know that she’d had a family emergency.”

Mainwaring found a last-minute replacement, but the alternative worker could only attend to the client two hours later than usual.

“The client was up in arms and yelling at me on the phone,” Mainwaring recalls.

Aged care work is not the sort of job where you can simply clock off and forget the day’s proceedings.

Mainwaring says her clients are constantly on her mind, and pondering about their well-being often keeps her up at night.

“I was thinking about one of my clients last night.. she’s had a fall and she’s in hospital.”

“She’s going to want more services … and that poor lady doesn’t have any family to support her.”

In such a high-stress job with limited remuneration, Mainwaring says, the industry is deteriorating.

“I suggested to my daughter to consider it, because she’s studying nursing, and she said ‘why would I bother?’

“If you made the salary attractive, we’d probably get more workers.”

New policies and initiatives are needed to assist Support Workers.

Miller says that the myHomecare Group is implementing a range of initiatives to keep morale high in the workforce.

Furthermore, their Employee Assistance Program (EAP), provides work-specific counseling services.

“Yes, we’ve got our EAP, but it’s nowhere near enough,” Miller admits.

Miller says that during the pandemic, his company continued to provide online training, but that bringing sessions back to face-to-face format is optimal for the mental health of the aged care workforce.

“We’re now rapidly turning around to face-to-face because we found that it’s a lot more effective.”

“So we’re doing a lot of those things, and you get a double benefit: you get a better-trained workforce who feel connected to the organisation.

Mainwaring also calls for the Government to implement on-demand, comprehensive support for workers.

“You’re working on your own, so sometimes it can get quite stressful and depressing.”

Mainwaring has also proposed that a national hotline be implemented so that workers have a number to call.

“Some sort of hotline that they can ring and get some sort of education,” she explains.

“Even though we, as a company, support workers on the ground the best we can … I just think the Government should be supporting more.

Mainwaring says that the Government should establish a mechanism, whereby prior work experience and training can be used as credit towards receiving qualifications, such as a Certificate IV in Ageing Support.

“We’ve got some girls out there that are practically qualified, as in they’ve done the work but haven’t got a certificate for it, even though they’ve been doing it for 10 years.”

Furthermore, greater government subsidies should allow workers to advance their qualifications and improve their capabilities. However, it’s impossible for most, at present, being low-paid workers who already struggle to put food on the table.

“For them then to go and apply to do this certificate, it’s going to cost them $2500. When they are on minimum wage; they can’t afford that,” Mainwaring says.

We simply need more support in the healthcare industry and across the board.

To read this story in full, click here.

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