A Wollongong startup developing innovative ways to help people age in their own homes is creating more jobs through COVID-19.
Founded at iAccelerate by Christopher Murphy and Deanna Maunsell allcare became operational in early 2018. Since then it has grown to employ 35 people who work in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands and South West Sydney. And presently has positions available for 10 more staff.
"We are looking for professional cleaners and more care staff and client engagement managers," Ms Maunsell said.
"We are expanding and we are always looking for people that want to make a difference in peoples' lives.
Since day one the in-home aged care service provider has focused on providing a cost effective and flexible service to its elderly clients.
It has also developed an app to increase efficiency by communicating with care centre workers remotely and enabling clients to easily access their information.
Mr Murphy said allcare was born after he returned from Sydney and San Francisco where he worked in finance for a startup. His mother Carol Murphy was a community service worker and the government was deregulating the in-home care package market
Ms Maunsell was a family friend and told him how she wanted to start her own nimble and flexible service. She felt changes in the sector meant there was an opportunity to run an efficient flexible business that gives clients more control and more hours for far less cost.
From the outset allcare sat down with each client and asked them what was important. And has kept listening to feedback.
One of the responses involved allcare introducing a professional cleaning service so carers can focus on doing what they are trained to do.
Ms Maunsell said as a result most of the growth was coming from word-of-mouth.
"Clients are referring us to their friends. They have turned into our biggest advocates which is wonderful because they are so happy," she said.
"They like the person centred service that offers a lot of social support.
"We look at re-enablement to make sure they can stay in their home longer. We get physios to come in and we have dieticians doing meal plans.
"We try and do all the things that matter to our clients whether that be pet care and taking their dog or cat to the vet, or washing their dog, or providing our on-call on-demand transport service so they don't have to wait to go to the doctor. And our professional cleaners are on 24 hour call.
"One of the most important things is having consistent staff going in so clients are able to build relationships. It means clients can enjoy their life more."
During recruitment allcare looks for people who are the right fit for such care work and provides its own bespoke learning, training and development program that is done in small groups.
COVID-19 has not slowed things down. Mr Murphy said allcare has continued to go from strength-to-strength in 2020 by investing heavily in technology to keep overheads and back office costs down so it can keep concentrating on on improving the quality of its support and providing better value.
"We now service over 250 clients in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, providing more than 3,500 hours of care every 30 days," he said.
"Recently, we undertook a review of our pricing structure. And clients who use allcare for their home care package funding receive the most hours of care of any aged care provider in the region. Those additional hours can make an enormous difference".
Ms Maunsell said the business is looking to expand its territory further but won't sacrifice quality.
"We like to employ local people wherever we deliver services so there is a whole team who can go out and help a client in need," she said.
"In the fires in the Shoalhaven we had nearly 20 staff on the ground helping people. That involved ensuring they were safe and putting them up in accommodation if they were forced to evacuate.
"We react to whatever the need is and we have a whole team focused on developing a wonderful culture. We have the best staff. We are so lucky."
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