Technology needed to ease workload pressures

Technology needed to ease workload pressures

The Australian residential aged care sector is staring down the barrel of two complex challenges: significant workforce shortages and the need for increased resident care time, which is where unique technology solutions need to keep the sector ahead of the curb.

The 2020 Aged Care Workforce Census found that 29% of workers employed in November 2019 had left their role 12 months later. The need for more Personal Care Workers (PCW) was particularly felt, with over 50% of providers reporting that they had at least one PCW vacancy.

On the other side of the equation, the Department of Health is set to introduce mandatory care minutes, with an average of 200 minutes of care required per resident per day from October 1, 2023.

While the workforce planning recommendations set out by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety may address some of these challenges, providers should turn to technology to help free up staff members’ precious time.

Introducing CareKeeper

With these unique circumstances front of mind, Telstra Health launched CareKeeper, an app that allows care staff to quickly view, action and record care via a mobile device by the resident’s side.

For example, let’s look at care worker Mariel. With CareKeeper, Mariel can use her phone to look at a resident’s profile, summary care plan and progress notes while chatting with the resident. She can then document any care she delivers into charts and progress notes in real-time.

The app enables Mariel to tick the most urgent tasks off as soon as she has completed them, helping to minimise the time she spends writing up her notes at the Nurses’ station at the end of each shift.

CareKeeper was designed with illustrative icons which helps Mariel quickly identify her care tasks, such as a knife and fork icon to indicate a Food Intake observation. This is particularly helpful as, like 36% of Australia’s PCWs, Mariel identifies as Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD).

The icons and simple navigation also help contract and temporary staff to use the app with minimal training, with feedback from clients indicating that users required an average of just 28 minutes of training on the app.

One source of truth

CareKeeper is fully integrated with Telstra Health’s clinical software, Clinical Manager, to create a complete record of a resident’s clinical, care and medication information.

For Mariel, this means that information she enters into CareKeeper can be easily seen in Clinical Manager by staff on the next shift or by her manager for reporting purposes.

Chart types are consistent between the two solutions, so whether using Clinical Manager or CareKeeper, Mariel has the same information at hand.

The app also includes the technology to operate offline, meaning Mariel can use CareKeeper even in the parts of her facility with poor Wi-Fi connectivity. 

When Mariel’s phone reconnects to Wi-Fi, CareKeeper will sync any new information captured back to Clinical Manager, reducing the likelihood of errors that can come from documenting after the fact.

More time with residents

Since using CareKeeper, surveyed care staff reported that on average the app saved them approximately 25 minutes per shift – a dramatic saving for any time-poor worker.

On top of this, multiple clients have provided feedback that resident and family complaints about a lack of staff have decreased since using CareKeeper, as staff were able to spend more time documenting by the resident’s side rather than away at the Nurses’ station.

With the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety identifying staffing levels as vital to the quality of the care residents receive, embracing time-saving technology like CareKeeper can help maximise the time staff spend doing what they love; providing care and support to residents. 

For more information about Telstra Health’s CareKeeper app and other residential aged care solutions, head to

Telstra Health’s scalable aged care suite helps support every step of the aged care journey; from community care through to independent living, respite and residential aged care. Telstra Health provides Hospital, Primary Health, Pharmacy, Aged & Disability, Population Health, Virtual Care, and Advisory solutions and services.

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  1. Just an editorial note – it’s “keep ahead of the curve” not the curb!

    Very interesting article and could be so useful in the future, although without proper funding and management the system will remain a bit staggery (in my opinion).


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