Major Aged Care Reforms: What to expect
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The ACE Wrap 5 July

4/07/24
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Aged care news highlights from the fortnight ending 5 July 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

“No excuse” – safety commission announces targeted monitoring for Covid-19

According to Aged Care Insite, the Australian Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) has announced new measures for ensuring all residential aged care facilities are meeting the standard for Covid-19 prevention and management. The Commission has warned that they will be targeting facilities with low vaccination rates through unannounced visits and written reminders.

 

Most aged care homes are falling short of minimum care standards – new report

According to Your Life Choices, New analysis has revealed many Australian aged care residents are not receiving the levels of care they need and are entitled to. The UTS Ageing Research Collaborative, which we are involved in, recently released its 2023–24 mid-year report on Australia’s aged care sector.

 

Sector hits care minute threshold, report shows

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, for the first time, the residential aged care sector met the mandatory care minutes target, government statistics show. However, the registered nurse target of 40 minutes of care per resident per day was missed during the period with homes, on average, providing 38.76 minutes of RN care.

 

On-site pharmacy for residential aged care from July 1

According to Aged Care Insite, from July 1 federal government funding will be made available for residential aged care providers to engage the services of pharmacists on-site, either through their local pharmacy or direct employment.

 

Dates for care workers’ pay rises set by Fair Work Commission – nurses still waiting

According to Aged Care Insite, the Australian Fair Work Commission has finalised the decision to determine when 250,000 Australian aged care workers will receive a pay increase of up to 14 per cent. The Commission has confirmed that direct care workers under the aged care, nurses and SCHADS Awards will receive 50 per cent of the increase from 1 January 2025 and another 50 per cent from 1 October 2025. Indirect care workers, like administration staff, cooks and cleaners, will receive their seven per cent increase in full from 1 January 2025.

 

Residential aged care’s financial performance expected to weaken: Govt’s Financial Snapshot

According to The Weekly Source, the financial performance of residential aged care providers improved significantly from the comparable period last financial year, but when compared with the results of the previous quarter, the results appear weaker and could deteriorate further for the remainder of the year, according to the Department of Health and Aged Care's Quarterly Financial Snapshot.

 

Changes to 24/7 registered nurse reporting from 1 July

According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, from 1 July 2024, there will be changes to how providers report on 24/7 RN coverage and to the RN supplement. The changes from 1 July include:

  • improved reporting functions on the Government Provider Management System (GPMS) to help the department understand issues around delivering the 24/7 RN responsibility
  • an increase in the minimum RN coverage threshold that providers need to provide to 87.5%, or more than 21 hours a day, to be able to receive the full 24/7 RN supplement. This change encourages aged care homes to increase their RN coverage
  • a new, reduced 24/7 RN supplement for aged care homes that have up to 30 residents and provide between 50% and 87.5% RN coverage. This new supplement is 50% of the full supplement.

You can find more information on:

 

Model pack for care time reporting assessments

According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, the Department of Health and Aged Care has created a model pack to help providers prepare for their care time reporting assessments. The model pack shows providers how to correctly present information and documents to respond to a Notice of requirement to give information or documents from the department.  Learn more about the model pack on the department’s care time reporting assessments webpage.

 

Draft new Aged Care Act consultation – feedback report

According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, feedback and submissions from the recent consultation on the draft new Aged Care Act are now available. Some of the most common issues people raised were:

  • the time available to implement the new Act
  • how people’s rights will be upheld
  • how supported decision-making, whistleblower protections and the new definition of high-quality care will work in practice
  • the suggested new duty for board members and people in positions of responsibility to make sure that aged care providers don’t negatively affect the health and safety of older people in their care
  • the level of independence of the Complaints Commissioner.

This feedback will be drawn on by the Government to shape the final version of the Bill to be introduced to Parliament. Depending on parliamentary processes, the new Act will start on 1 July 2025 alongside the launch of the new Support at Home program.  Just a reminder also, that the strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards will apply from the commencement of the new Act. The consultation feedback report and submissions are now available on the department’s website.

 

Voluntary assisted dying – the role of aged care providers

According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, The Commission has published a fact sheet for providers about their responsibilities when an older person in their care seeks to access a formal voluntary assisted dying (VAD) arrangement underpinned by legislation in their state or territory.

 

Record number of aged care workers and health professionals moving to Australia

According to Aged Care Insite, the Department of Health and Aged Care has released data showing international health professionals are immigrating to Australia in record numbers.

 

3G network closure – what should providers be doing?

According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, Australia’s mobile network operators are switching off their 3G networks. Some networks have already shut down, with the rest closing in August or September 2024, depending on the mobile network operator.  Any device using the 3G network will no longer be able to connect or make calls. 3G devices that are affected include: 

  • medical, panic and fall alarms or pendants
  • personal devices such as tablets or mobile phones
  • devices loaned or given to residents that need a network connection to work
  • modems
  • smart watches or smart appliances.

Providers who source, provide, or maintain these devices for their aged care and services, need to identify anyone who may be affected by these changes as quickly as possible. There may be a high risk to people receiving care if these devices don’t work, especially in emergency situations. You can find more information on the Department of Health and Aged Care website, under the heading 3G Network shutdown and impact on client devices and on the Department of Infrastructure’s website.

 

 

Home Care News

Home care provider profitability falls to five-year low: UARC

According to The Weekly Source, the EBITDA for home care providers has fallen from a provider average of $6.99 per care recipient per day in the first half of 2019-20 to barely breaking even at $1.77 per care recipient per day in the first half of 2023-24, according to UTS Ageing Research Collaborative (UARC)'s Australia's Aged Care Sector: Mid-Year Report 2023-24.

 

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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