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Caregiver Asia connecting care-givers with care-seekers

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CaregiverAsia has created an online marketplace connecting Careseekers and Caregivers

Through the marketplace, those seeking care can access services provided by care-givers within the comforts of their homes. Freelance care-givers and healthcare professionals can offer their areas of practice independently with control over their schedules and terms of services.

Recently, Caregiver Asia signed agreements with two National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) Social Enterprises, agreeing to collaborate and provide services through Caregiver Asia’s marketplace and for the company to  support training and accreditation to be freelance Caregivers. NTUC Health will provide a comprehensive range of affordable home care services such as personal care and healthcare services. Care-seekers can do an online booking to hire medical professionals and trained caregivers through the Caregiver Asia marketplace. NTUC LearningHub (LHUB) will work with CaregiverAsia to upgrade the knowledge and skills set for freelance Home Caregivers through a series of Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) courses. Care-givers can use their SkillsFuture Credit to offset or subsidise cost fees.

Some of the courses include topic such as:

  • WSQ Work in a Safe Working Environment that Meets the Workplace Safety and Health (Healthcare) Guidelines
  • WSQ Assist Clients with Clinical Care Needs
  • WSQ Support Clients in Rehabilitation Exercises and Activities of Daily Living

LHUB and CaregiverAsia will  also produce three sets of three-minute e-learning videos on the proper and appropriate techniques on hand hygiene, grooming and communication for Caregivers.

The Active Age (AA) spoke with Ms. Yeo Wan Ling , CEO, Caregiver Asia Pte Ltd (YWL) about connecting care-givers with care-seekers.

AA: Can you share what Caregiver Asia does in helping to prepare and equip caregivers with?

YWL: Our proprietary platform was created based on Caregivers’ needs, and attracting these professionals back to work on their own terms such as schedule, timing and fees. To prepare and equip our Caregivers, we have done the following that come under our CaregiverAsia Support Services:

  • For Caregivers with licenses, we will require them to disclose that license, if not on their public profiles on the website, then at a minimal level, with us. For the second category of Caregivers that provide services that do not need to have formal training, CaregiverAsia has partnered with NTUC Learning Hub to come up with two programmes announced recently.
  • To ensure trust and provide our Caregivers the additional boost to getting hired, we have signed a global agreement with First Advantage for backgrounds screening and integrated our system with theirs. First Advantage is an Atlanta based background checks company that some financial institutions use for employee screening. Caregivers are put through over 4000  global criminal and civil databases, which are also used by local law enforcement agencies and Interpol.
  • We help write their profiles and take professional pictures so that the profiles stand out.

AA: How did this organisation start and how has the journey been in training caregivers? How did the idea of going digital and launching a platform come about?

YWL: Our platform was launched in Feb 2015 and we have seen growth. Currently, we have over 1,000 registered Caregivers in Singapore and our service postings and weekly care services hours have increased. Most of our Caregivers are either professionals or have experience in care-giving. We also realised that quite a few did not have formal training despite being very experienced. Therefore, we decided to collaborate with NTUC Learning Hub. We hope to partner with other institutions to provide more training options.

The idea for CaregiverAsia first started when my grandmother was hospitalised in ICU. Upon being discharged from the hospital, my grandmother required 24-hour professional care and it was a struggle for the family to find readily available professional care-givers which catered to her needs. Even after finding a nursing team, I was astonished that the nurses had to pay their agency a substantial cut.

It was with this in mind that I dreamt of a care-giving market place where transparency, choice, and empowerment would be key. It would be an online market place where Careseekers are able to browse from the available services listed in the different care-giving categories with transparent client reviews, to book and receive on-time and affordable care island wide. It would be an online platform where Caregivers would be paid their dues fairly, and where they would be given opportunities to practice at their own terms. I was delighted that this idea won support from angel investors almost immediately.

AA: Are there use cases where the contract/freelance economy drove the demand for the platform?

YWL: According to Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, eight percent of Singapore’s working residents are freelancers . This figure is set to rise as technology is increasingly enabling this. So how does our platform empower our Caregivers? Our platform provides them with the choice and a tool to manage their livelihood. Payment is guaranteed should they be booked on a case through us. This certainly gives them a peace of mind.

Besides these larger economic indicators, we also realised that this platform was an ideal way to bring inactive care-givers back to the industry. As you know, many care-givers are females, and globally, we lose nurses when they are between seven to nine years into service. This is because many of these nurses start to have children in their late 20s and are unable to take on the full time shift work in hospitals. Freelancing  becomes a wonderful way for them to have a viable career, as well as to work on their own schedules. And you know what? We are also starting to see retirees on our website, and they put their experience as Caregivers, coaches, counsellors and companions to good use as freelancers on our website.

AA: What can caregivers look forward to, participating and engaging with the platform?

YWL: As mentioned, our platform is based on Caregivers’ needs, and attracting these professionals back to work on their own terms. We do not charge our Caregivers any agency fee so whatever price they quote on the website is what they take home. For Caregivers, our basic listing service is free to use, and payment is guaranteed should they be booked on a case through our website. In addition, we try to empower Caregivers with a full suite of services which would help them in optimising their freelancing career, such as a real time calendaring system, online care-giving awareness courses and background checks for enhanced profiles. We offer choice, flexibility and protection.

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