The Startup Flipping Aged Care on its Head

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Human connection through self-directed care.

Older woman laughing with puppies in her lap

“The aged care sector is undergoing rapid change, fuelled by changing consumer expectations. Increasingly, Australians want to stay at home and remain active in their community as they age. It’s an exciting time to be part of the sector,” explains co-founder Peter Scutt.

With ageing populations comes a demand for quality care workers. In 2014, friends and colleagues Tony Charara and Peter Scutt launched an answer, Better Caring.

After experiencing first-hand the difficulties that can be met when dealing with traditional models of self-directed care, Peter describes how his father felt that with each day, “their home was being invaded.” Unable to foresee who would walk through the door each day, Peter decided it was time he customised the process, ultimately handing back control to the ones who desired it most.

“Better Caring enables clients and workers to connect not only because they have the right availability, skills and experience, but also because they have shared interests.”

The pair have reimagined the way that care is sought out and delivered; revolutionising an industry that many might have found glum.

“Our solution has emerged in response to this shifting consumer demand and legislative reform in both aged care and disability support sectors,” Peter starts. “Consumer Directed Care in aged care is all about putting consumers at the centre of decisions about their life and support.”

So how exactly is Better Caring any different? First, imagine a care workers’ Tinder. Better Caring allows you to find a carer that is close geographically, but that you can also select based on your personal interests, needs and preferences.

“Unlike the traditional model, where a large provider is generally rostering care and support workers to service a range of clients, our platform is about fostering a direct relationship between the worker and their client,” describes Peter. “Better Caring enables clients and workers to connect not only because they have the right availability, skills and experience, but also because they have shared interests or a good personality or cultural fit. At its essence, the platform encourages choice and control for both the consumer and the worker. It’s very empowering!”

“It’s very empowering – for the client and the worker. This flexibility is also opening up new possibilities for people to reimagine their traditional notions of aged care services.”

Having come from a background in finance and venture capital, the world of start-ups was not new to Peter. “We knew that Ellerston [capital] had an eye on the funding changes and market changes in the sector,” starts Peter. “I believe they identified BC as a leader because we created an entirely new approach for an industry that is massively challenged by the major legislative change, and they saw in us a simple yet revolutionary answer to providing consumer choice,” he goes on, discussing the AU$3 million raised in first round funding. “Our vision is to be the No.1 marketplace for self-directed care and support,” he adds.

Their model of using independent contractors means that overheads are lower for BC. “Their timesheets, payments and shift notes are all easily managed through the platform,” Peter explains. “We have a strict onboarding process for any worker using the platform, which includes police, reference and key qualification checks. We also arrange insurances on behalf of workers when care and support is booked through the website.”

With a view to expand their service offering over and above the traditional nursing, domestic assistance and personal care, to offer consumers the chance to partner with someone qualified to teach them a new skill or reignite an old passion, “We have workers on the platform who are supporting clients with travel opportunities, and others who specialise in teaching our older clients computer skills.”

Considering themselves a lean, low-overhead model, their clients pay less for services and are able to access more hours of care as a result. By the same decree, the care workers are given the chance to earn more, set their own rates and hours, and choose their clientele. “It’s very empowering – for the client and the worker. This flexibility is also opening up new possibilities for people to reimagine their traditional notions of aged care and disability support services,” Peter adds.

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