Aged Care Workforce Census – A Summary for Residential Aged Care Providers

How many people work in residential aged care? Who are these workers and what are their roles? See the latest statistics in this summary of the Department of Health’s 2020 Aged Care Workforce Census Report.

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New NDIS Requirements for Aged Care Providers: What you Need to Know and Do

On 1 December 2020, residential aged care providers who deliver services to National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants automatically became registered NDIS providers.

This means that if you are an aged care provider who cares for NDIS participants, you now have an extra set of NDIS requirements to meet. Here’s what you need to know and what you need to do.

 

Key Points

  • If your aged care home cares for NDIS participants, you must meet NDIS requirements from 1 December 2020.
  • You were automatically registered with the NDIS.
  • When your registration lapses you will have to renew it. This involves an audit by a third party.
  • You must ensure that every worker has an acceptable aged care provider check.
  • You must meet the NDIS Behaviour Support requirements and follow the transitional timeline.

 

You do not need to register with the NDIS

Aged care providers with NDIS participants at 1 December 2020 were automatically registered as NDIS providers under the “class of support” (also known as “registration group”) 0115 - Assistance with daily life tasks in a group or shared living arrangement. You should have been sent a certificate of registration from the NDIS Commission.

 

You will have to renew your NDIS registration down the track

Your NDIS certificate of registration includes any conditions and an end date for your registration.

When you get close to the end date you will have to apply for NDIS registration renewal. As part of the renewal process, a third party will audit your performance against the NDIS Practice Standards.

If you need more information, or you did not receive your registration certificate and believe you should have, call the free provider support line on 1800 860 640 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:00pm AEDT).

 

You must ensure your workers are screened

From 1 December 2020, you must ensure that every worker (staff and volunteers) who is in a “risk assessed role” has an “acceptable aged care provider check”.

The NDIS Commission has some precise definitions of which workers are in a “risk assessed role”, but in the aged care context the term effectively covers:

  • all members of your board/governing body
  • anyone whose normal duties require “more than incidental contact” with a person with a disability (this would probably include all your nursing and care staff and may include others as well).

 

What is an “acceptable aged care provider check”?

Between 1 December 2020 and 1 February 2021, you must ensure that one or the other of these “acceptable provider checks” is completed for every worker who is in a “risk assessed role”:

  • A check as defined in Part 6 the Accountability Principles 2014 (Cth) – to complete this check a worker must obtain a police certificate that is less than three years old and which states that the person has not been convicted of murder or sexual assault and has not been imprisoned for any other form of assault. If the person is from overseas, they must also provide a statutory declaration to the same effect. A person is allowed to work while they are awaiting their police certificate as long as they provide a statutory declaration and are appropriately supervised.
  • A check as defined by the rules in your state or territory: these rules are complex and inconsistent. You should check the requirements for your state/territory here.

 

These checks typically last about three years.

From 1 February 2021 you will be able to screen your workers with the new NDIS Worker Screening Check clearance. The NDIS Worker Screening Check will involve a check of a worker’s known past criminal history, professional misconduct, and other relevant information. Once fully implemented, the NDIS Worker Screening Check will replace the different screening arrangements in most states and territories, and set a single national standard for all workers providing NDIS supports and services.

Most existing checks will remain in force even after the NDIS Worker Screening Check is up and running (ie, the commencement of the NDIS Worker Screen Check won’t cancel any existing checks). However, the duration of some state and territory checks may be affected. Check here to see how your checks are affected.

 

You must meet NDIS Behaviour Support requirements

“Behaviour Support” requirements are the main new requirements that you will now have to meet. According to the NDIS Commission, there are significant differences between the behaviour support requirements in aged care and those in the NDIS.

Under the NDIS requirements you must demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to facilitate the development of interim and comprehensive behaviour support plans related to the use of regulated restrictive practices. The following transitional timeline is in place to help you meet the requirements:

  • by 1 January 2021, you must notify the NDIS Commission on the use of a regulated restrictive practice for an NDIS participant
  • where no positive behaviour support plan exists for the NDIS participant:
    • by 1 March 2021, you must take all reasonable steps to obtain an interim behaviour support plan, and obtain authorisation for the use of the regulated restrictive practice from state and territory bodies
    • by 1 June 2021, you must take all reasonable steps to obtain a comprehensive behaviour support plan and obtain authorisation for the use of the regulated restrictive practice from state and territory bodies.

Comprehensive positive behaviour support plans for NDIS participants who need one must be in place by 1 December 2021.

Any use of a regulated restrictive practice not authorised (however described, by the state/territory) and not in accordance with a behaviour support plan is an unauthorised restrictive practice and needs to be reported to the NDIS Commission as a reportable incident within five business days.

You can find more information, including some videos, on the NDIS Commission website. Aged Cae

 

How do the NDIS requirements affect the Aged Care Quality Standards and other aged care requirements?

Aged Care providers who support NDIS participants will have responsibilities under both the Aged Care Quality and Safety Comission (ACQSC) and NDIS Quality and Safeguards Comission regulatory frameworks.

Providers have the same responsibilities towards NDIS participants as they do to other consumers receiving aged care services and supports and continue to be subject to aged care regulation under the Aged Care Act 1997.

The NDIS requirements will not change the ACQSC's performance assessment approach under the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Providers who are supporting NDIS participants in residential aged care will be required to meet the requirements of the NDIS Practice Standards in addition to the requirements of the Aged Care Quality Standards.

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is responsible for assessing compliance against the NDIS Practice Standards.

For more information see the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission's page: Residential Aged Care Providers delivering services to NDIS participants.

 

More information

To find out more about the new regulatory arrangements:

 

List of the NDIS rules you now must follow

From 1 December 2020, aged care homes with NDIS participants must:

  • meet the obligations of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act)
  • meet the obligations of the NDIS (Provider Registration and Practice Standards) Rules 2018
  • meet the obligations of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Practice Standards – Worker Screening) Rules 2018
  • comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct in supporting NDIS participants
  • comply with relevant NDIS Practice Standards.
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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