Co-operative Home Care

With the demand for non-residential home care support on the rise with an ageing population and the desire by many to live independently and well, combined with poor morale and work conditions, home care support workers took matters into their own hands and formed Co-operative Home Care to offer a new way of providing individualised, affordable and quality care in a supportive and empowering work environment. The employee owned co-operative has been in operation since 2013, with 18 employees and 8 members delivering 500 hours of care per week. Read their story.

Co-operative Home Care (CHC) is an employee owned co-operative based in Sydney which provides care for the elderly and disabled people. Opening in 2013, the co-operative now has 18 employees, and eight worker members who deliver 500 hours of care weekly.

By 2050, over 3.5 million Australians are expected to use aged care services each year with around 80 per cent of services delivered in the home. Recipients of home care increasingly want to remain independent and in control of how and where they live, to have choice in care providers and to remain connected to family and community. To address these needs, a new solution in home care provision is needed.

Despite high levels of job satisfaction, employee turnover rates in the home care workforce is high due to a combination of factors including low remuneration, poor working conditions and limited training. Witnessing this first hand, was Robyn Kaczmarek, an experienced home care professional who decided to explore the possibility of creating a co-operative approach to home care services.

Co-operative Home Care is an employee owned co-operative meaning the employees of the co-operative are also its owners, allowing worker members to have an opportunity for a greater control over their working environment. At CHC, worker members operate in self-managed local teams known as Care Crews.

The co-operative began operating in 2013 providing care for the elderly and disabled population of a metropolitan Sydney area. It has also made a significant investment into its owners/employees through continuous engagement, training and development of its worker members.

CHC has encountered a number of challenges since its inception including a lack of knowledge of employee owned co-operatives, accessing government funding, financial management and governance.

Looking into the future, CHC aims to grow organically; focusing on building an empowering and autonomous employee owned co-operative which delivers high quality care at an affordable price. Taking a conservative approach, the group are using annual profits to fund further expansion, as opposed to debt.

As a Public Service Mutual, CHC has made some key discoveries from their experience. They are broken into four areas including seeking out experience, funding, member trust and the use of Cloud technology.

Browse the CHC Case Study Bibliography.

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