Major Aged Care Reforms in 2024: What to expect
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The ACE Wrap 16 February

20/02/24
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Aged care news highlights from the fortnight ending 16 February 2024, aggregated by Ideagen.

The information in the ACE Wrap is aggregated from other news sources to provide you with news that is relevant to the aged care sector across Australia and worldwide. Each paragraph is a summary of the subject matter covered in the particular news article. The information does not necessarily reflect the views of Ideagen.

 

Residential Care and General Aged Care News

Changes are coming for Australia’s aged care system. Here’s what we know so far

According to Aged Care Insite, Australia’s subsidised aged care system is governed by an act that was first passed in 1997. A lot has changed over the past two and a half decades – more people are living longer with chronic conditions and impairments that necessitate care, more of that care helps people stay in their own home, older people have more choice and control, and quality and safety are subject to tighter regulation and improved enforcement. These and many other reforms are welcome. But as a result, the 1997 Aged Care Act has become a patchwork of change upon change. So when is the new act due, and what does it aim to achieve?

 

Staff leave in their thousands, data shows

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, almost 10,000 nurses and care workers left their residential aged care service between July and September 2023, the latest quality indicator report shows.

 

ACQSC accused of ‘unacceptable ignorance’ about standard of audits made by consultants

According to Aged Care Insite, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) has been accused of "unacceptable ignorance" about the standard of audits performed by consultants that have been paid tens of millions of dollars to inspect aged care homes across Australia. The aged care regulator revealed one-third of all audits conducted by consultants over a 12-month period – which were of 350 homes – were initially rejected because they were not up to standard.

 

Guidance resources for strengthened Quality Standards

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission wants your feedback on the guidance resources for the draft strengthened Quality Standards.  To have your say read the consultation documents and provide your feedback. You can also watch a recording of the Commission’s Supporting sector readiness for the new strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards webinar and down.

 

Aged Care Reform Guide 2024

 

New Aged Care Act consultation extended

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, the consultation opened on Thursday 14 December. We can now confirm that the consultation is being extended to Friday 8 March.  Read more about the new Aged Care Act consultation

 

COVID-19: new support arrangements

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, payments for the new Aged Care Outbreak Management Supplement commence in March 2024. Current COVID-19 grants will close on these dates: 

  • Aged care worker COVID-19 leave payment grant closes on 16 February 2024 
  • 2023 COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program Grant closes on 3 April 2024. 

Personal protective equipment (PPE) and rapid antigen test (RAT) kits will be distributed from the National Medical Stockpile to 30 April 2024. Access to COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments will continue under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) through community pharmacies. Read more about COVID-19 support for providers and workers.  

 

Star Ratings: Provider preview closing soon

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care: a reminder to providers that the 2-week preview period for Star Ratings, which commenced on 6 February, will close soon. Providers are encouraged to review their updated Star Ratings in the Government Provider Management System (GPMS). We recommend checking before they are published on the My Aged Care website’s ‘Find a provider’ tool. For questions about your Compliance Rating contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission on 1800 951 822 or email info@agedcarequality.gov.au.

 

More than 1,000 cases of neglect reported each month in Australia’s aged care homes

According to The Guardian, more than 1,000 cases of neglect are being reported in residential aged care homes each month, prompting a warning from the sector’s regulator. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) has flagged “a concerning spike” in neglect cases over the past 12 months and raised concerns about inadequate care standards.

 

Aged Care Commission Collaborates with Providers Amidst Staffing Shortages

According to BNN, in an ongoing effort to maintain quality care amidst staffing shortages, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) is collaborating closely with residential aged care providers unable to fulfill their 24/7 RN requirements.

 

What’s behind Govt’s “secretive” delay of Aged Care Taskforce’s Final Report?

According to The Weekly Source, the delay in the release of the Aged Care Taskforce's Final Report, which will contain details of future aged care funding arrangements, is fuelling media speculation that it is being withheld until after the Dunkley by-election on 2 March 2024 to avoid a political stoush and help Labor hold onto its majority in the House of Representatives.

 

How digitally mature is Australian aged care today?

According to Healthcare IT News, the sector has strengths in cybersecurity and communications but lacks innovation, the Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council notes.

 

New program trains aged care workers to support CALD seniors

According to Aged Care Insite, a new training program will help equip aged care workers with skills to support culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) seniors. Settlement Services International (SSI) has launched a new online program that will train workers as a proven way to boost health outcomes and quality of life.

 

Governance compliance a concern, says regulator

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, aged care providers need to lift their game when it comes to governance, according to the latest sector performance report. Released Tuesday by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, the first quarter sector performance report shows that, during 1 July to 30 September 2023, quality standard eight – organisational governance – had the lowest rate of compliance across both the residential aged care and home care sectors.

 

Aged care ratings system judged a failure

According to National Seniors Australia, the new federal government star ratings were supposed to make the system transparent and help us get the care we want. But a new study suggests it’s worse than ever.

 

Home Care News

BaptistCare to pilot end-of-life program

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, Aged care provider BaptistCare has been commissioned to operate a new and innovative end-of-life care pilot program in New South Wales. Developed by the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network, the End-of-Life Care Coordination Primary Care Pilot Program aims to help people in the region diagnosed with a life-limiting illness to better access health care at home.

 

Assessment tool receives positive feedback

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, a new integrated tool for assessing people for aged care services has been given the thumbs up by trial participants, according to a government report. Trialled across the country between April and July 2023, a total of 22,002 assessments were completed using the Integrated Assessment Tool.

 

Legislation

No significant developments this week.

 

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ACE Editorial Team

ACE is published by Ideagen. CompliSpace is Ideagen’s SaaS-enabled solution that helps organisations in highly-regulated industries to meet their governance, risk, compliance and policy management obligations.

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