Home care jobs boom in regional SA

Client Maureen Fletcher is supported by Helping Hand Care worker is Francie LaForgia. Photo: Katrina Muhsin.
Client Maureen Fletcher is supported by Helping Hand Care worker is Francie LaForgia. Photo: Katrina Muhsin.

A spike in care staff numbers to support the elderly at home, including regional SA, is being reported amid other industries left to struggle by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment's projections to May 2024 predict employment for personal care workers will increase by 50,600, almost 20 per cent.

The department's findings for carers of the aged and the disabled are projected to increase by 45,100 jobs, while nursing support and personal care workers are projected to increase by 5500.

SA business Helping Hand Home Care is one SA business recording success, including at it's regional outlets.

"We're growing rapidly and always on the lookout for staff who will be of benefit for our clients," operations manager Kathryn Broadbent said.

The division provides services such as personal care, gardening, cleaning, and grocery shopping to more than 3500 clients across SA.

In regional SA, 100 care staff workers in Yorke Peninsula, Lower Mid North, Barossa and Eyre Peninsula.

The service includes nursing staff for community visits based at the Port Pirie, Port Lincoln and Clare offices.

"We're a very people-oriented company so many of our staff are referred by friends or family who have sung the praises of the job and our organisation," Ms Broadbent said.

"We have staff who have been with us for 15-plus years."

During the height of COVID-19 most Helping Hand workforce continued on, implementing rigorous hygiene measures.

I think I have found the most fulfilling job and I don't even feel like I go to work.

Port Pirie care worker Francie LaForgia

Port Pirie care worker Francie LaForgia feels like she's hit the jackpot with her role, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

"To be honest, I have never been as content in a job my whole life," she said.

"I think I have found the most fulfilling job and I don't even feel like I go to work."

When the insurance business Ms LaForgia worked in closed its doors in the township three years ago, she looked to reskill and took up home care.

"I love the fact that you can make a difference to someone," she said.

While she has been referred by an outsider as "just a cleaner" she said it's the caring side of the role of clients which makes it much more than a cleaning job.

"We might be the only people they see in a day and they wait for you to come...we are always looking out for ways to make their lives a bit easier," she added.

In response, Marie Capurso, 83, said it was important to have Helping Hand several times a week to help shower husband, Nick, 89 who has been an invalid for more than five years.

"I treat (staff) them like my step-daughters," Mrs Capurso said.

"I asked Helping Hand if they could come and help clean the house because I just can't manage and once a month,...they do a fantastic job."

"When they finish and if they have any time, they sit with me for five minutes and we have a cup of coffee and just relax...They have taken a lot off my back," Mrs Capurso added.

To learn more about Helping Hand Home Care services across regional South Australia, call 1300 444 663 or visit www.helpinghand.org.au.