AN app that functions like programs for ordering a taxi or pizza has been developed in Australia to book carers when extra assistance is needed.
South Australian startup Ubercare launched a mobile app this week, which is designed to keep people living at home longer by increasing access to carers at short notice.
Using the app, residents in need of support can hire qualified help and have them arrive in about 10 minutes.
There is even an online option for aged care homes that are running low on staff because of high demand.
Ubercare founder Simon Chappel said the app was designed to address flexibility, which had been a major issue in the industry.
He said he got the idea from his mother who previously had to adjust her life around her carer because they only visited her on set days.
“People want to remain living in their own homes for as long as possible and we fit this model very well,” Chappel said.
“It can be for the simplest things like going down to buy a carton of milk or reorganising the fridge, doing a load of washing, changing the bedsheets or just sitting down for a chat.
“A lot of the time it’s the son or daughter taking up that role and now you can just hire a qualified carer instead.”
The app allows users to check out the carer’s profile beforehand, which includes a picture, time of arrival, pay rate and rating system.
Ubercare has about 500 carers on call in South Australia. Each carer is screened and must have several qualifications and clearances including a Certificate III in Individual Support, current first aid certificate and police clearance. It also trains people to meet these qualifications.
Chappel said although there were many similarities between his program and the billion-dollar car hiring service Uber, there were no other programs like this in the world.
“There are a number of carers applying for jobs with Ubercare who are looking for extra work and it gives them the opportunity to fill in those spare moments,” Chappel said.
“A lot of our carers already work in the industry and are experienced, which makes it much better than having a family member.”
Ubercare is set to expand into other cities around Australia in the coming months and is also aiming to expand internationally.
President of the Australian Association for Social Workers South Australian branch Mary Hood said Ubercare was a win-win for both social workers and the elderly.
“One of the major difficulties is navigating the services that try to put one side in touch with the other,” she said.
“There seems to be a sense amongst older people that they want to retain their ability to choose and there is a negative sense associated with being grouped with a lot of other people in aged care facilities that are not ideal.
“Having something that brings the services to people’s home not only gives them that added benefit of feeling more independent, it’s also cheaper too.”