What ACE Readers had to Say: The Aged Care Quality Standards One Year On

Last week CompliSpace released the Aged Care Impact Report – One Year On. The Report revealed that the burden of adjusting to the new Aged Care Quality Standards and also coping with a once in 100-year pandemic are straining the aged care sector, putting staff retention at risk and pointing to reduced capacity to care for residents.

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Key Legal Changes in Aged Care: January to May 2020

The CompliSpace team who produce ACE also produce a quarterly report called Aged Care Law Monitor. CompliSpace monitors hundreds of laws, regulations and guidelines across all federal and state/territory jurisdictions, identifies the changes that may affect aged care providers and summarises them in plain English in this report.

In today’s article we’ve drawn on Aged Care Law Monitor to bring you a summary of the key national legal changes affecting the aged care industry from January to May 2020.

The full Aged Care Law Monitor report expands on these national legal changes and also summarises key changes to state and territory laws. You can read the full report by requesting your copy below.

Request Your Copy

 

COVID-19 Restrictions on Entry into Aged Care Facilities – Commenced 21-24 March 2020

Source of these changes: directions issued by the various state and territory departments of health.

All states and territories have released directions that set out specific requirements with regard to entry into residential aged care facilities. All these directions commenced around 21 March 2020 and cover these key points:

  1. During the state of emergency, a person must not enter, or remain on, the premises of a residential aged care facility unless:
  1. the person is an employee or contractor of the residential aged care facility; or
  2. the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of providing goods or services that are necessary for the effective operation of the residential aged care facility, whether the goods or services are provided for consideration or on a voluntary basis; or
  3. the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of providing health, medical or pharmaceutical goods or services to a resident of the residential aged care facility, whether the goods or services are provided for consideration or on a voluntary basis; or
  4. the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of a care and support visit to a resident of the residential aged care facility on a particular day, and is the only care and support visit made to the resident on that day; or
  5. the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of end of life support for a resident of the residential aged care facility; or
  6. the person's presence at the premises is required for the purposes of emergency management or law enforcement; or
  7. the person's presence at the premises is in the person's capacity as a prospective resident of the residential aged care facility.

 

  1. Despite paragraph 1, while this direction is in effect a person referred to in paragraph 1 (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) or (g) must not enter or remain on the premises of a residential aged care facility if:
  1. during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person arrived in Australia from a place outside Australia; or
  2. during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19; or
  3. the person has a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees or symptoms of acute respiratory infection; or
  4. the person does not have an up to date vaccination against influenza, if such a vaccination is available to the person; or
  5. the person is aged under 16 years, other than in circumstances where the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of end of life support for a resident of the residential aged care facility.

 

More information: Briefing Paper: Responding to COVID-19 / Coronavirus for Aged Care; Coronavirus Visitor Control in Aged Care: Check Your Readiness; Vaccination Entry Restrictions in Aged Care: What you Need to Know.

 

Changes to Mandatory Reporting for Health Practitioners – Commenced 1 March 2020

Source of these changes: Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Acts and Regulations 2019 (various).

The main purpose of this new law is to address concerns that the Health Practitioner National Law discourages health practitioners from seeking medical treatment because they are afraid that their treating practitioner will make a mandatory report against them. The law relaxes the mandatory reporting obligation on practitioners who give medical treatment to other health practitioners. This effectively makes it easier for health practitioners to talk to their doctor or other specialist about alcohol, drugs and other problems without fear of being reported.

More information: Guidelines: Mandatory notifications about registered health practitioners

 

Relaxation of Student Visa Work Requirements – Commenced 20 March 2020

Source of these changes: Minister’s discretion under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth)

On 20 March 2020, Department of Home Affairs informed approved aged care providers that during the COVID-19 outbreak the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force officers would temporarily:

  • exercise their discretion under s 116(1)(b) of the Migration Act 1958 to not cancel the visas of students who work in excess of 40 hours each fortnight to support your organisation in providing aged care services;
  • not refer student visa holders for investigation of any potential offence under s 235 of the Migration Act 1958 that might relate to the hours worked by a student visa holder in breach of their visa conditions; and
  • not refer you or relevant third-party labour hire companies, as an employer, for investigation of any potential offence under s 245AC of the Migration Act 1958 that might relate to allowing a student visa holder to work in breach of their visa conditions.

The Department said they would advise providers in writing when these considerations no longer apply.

More information: COVID-19: Relaxation of student visa work

 

Aged Care Law Monitor

For more detail, and for a summary of key changes to state and territory laws, request the full Aged Care Law Monitor report below.

Request Your Copy

Mark Bryan
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Mark Bryan
Mark is a Legal Research Consultant at CompliSpace and the editor for ACE. Mark has worked as a Legal Policy Officer for the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department and the NSW Department of Justice. He also spent three years as lead editor for the private sessions narratives team at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Arts/Law from the Australian National University with First Class Honours in Law, a Graduate Diploma in Writing from UTS and a Graduate Certificate in Film Directing from the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

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