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Carers on demand - Ubercare app launched in South Australia

In what is believed to be a world first, a new mobile app enabling people to access affordable, in-home care services on demand from qualified care workers has been launched in South Australia. 

The Ubercare app gives people access to affordable, in-home care services as they need it
The Ubercare app gives people access to affordable, in-home care services as they need it

The Ubercare app allows people to find carers at short notice in a similar way to how people can order food or request immediate transport through their smartphones. It offers a range of services including respite care, social support, personal assistance, meals, cleaning and shopping, and its carers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Ubercare is not directly linked to the Uber ride-sharing service but is the brainchild of South Australian businessman Simon Chappel. The name Ubercare was chosen because the dictionary meaning of the word Uber is: superlative example of its kind or class.

“Ubercare is the first service of its kind in the world that allows people to find carers at short notice in a similar way that Uber users access a ride,” says Mr Chappel. “If you or a family member need urgent care or assistance, Ubercare can link you with a qualified, insured and police checked carer who will provide affordable personal care when and where you need it.”

It works by a user making a request via the app and an offer from a nearby carer appears within minutes the company claims. That response will include the carer’s name, photo, star rating, charge rate and estimated time of arrival.

“You can then either skip or accept the carer, and then once confirmed, see them travelling and track their proximity to your home as they approach, so you know exactly how far away they are,” says Mr Chappel.

The minimum service time is two hours and payment is automated via the user’s securely stored credit card upon completion of service. No cash needs to change hands and an electronic invoice is sent to the user’s registered email.

Mr Chappel says Ubercarers will usually be able to arrive within 15-30 minutes.

More than 400 carers in South Australia have been screened and approved by Ubercare, and Mr Chappel says all Ubercarers must meet strict criteria prior to becoming approved carers. This includes a minimum Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged Care, Disability or Home and Community Care), current first aid and manual handling certificates, and police clearance.

He adds Ubercare can also assist in training people to meet these qualifications, and points out carers have been attracted by the flexibility and the opportunities to work at times and in the areas convenient to them.

“So in addition to helping our ageing population and the broader benefits the app provides in terms of easing the load on our health system, Ubercare is also creating hundreds of new jobs in South Australia which is great for the state,” says Mr Chappel.

As well as private users, Ubercare also caters for approved providers and corporate clients, and the company confirms it was very pleased with the response from providers so far. It says it's in the process of setting up organisations on its corporate portal, as well as talking to others about how it might work in partnership with their existing services.

“Staffing for residential care facilities has often been difficult in the past, so we have also developed a special online portal for residential care providers to request carers to fulfil short or long-term staffing needs,” says Mr Chappel. “Importantly, all our carers’ names, photos and star ratings are available for aged care providers to check before they confirm their bookings to ensure they can access the quality staff that they need at short notice.”

Ubercare confirms it has the strong ability to service metro areas and is expanding its recruitment and advertising focus to regional South Australia. It has already started advertising for careworkers in Victoria and has a goal of launching throughout Australia within the next 12 months and, Mr Chappel says, hopefully across the globe.

For more information visit its website or download the app from Apple App Store and Google Play. 

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