Aged care news highlights from the week ending 02 February 2020.
The information in the Weekly 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 CompliSpace and Critical Success Solutions.
Novel Coronavirus Resources Available
The Department of Health has prepared factsheets for aged care staff, residents and families to assist in control of the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). These factsheets have been cleared through the Communicable Disease Network Australia and will be updated as new information becomes available. While most infections are transmitted by people with symptoms of the disease, there are cases of coronavirus infection diagnosed in persons with minimal or no symptoms and it may be transmitted by people who have no symptoms. These factors highlight the need to take a highly precautionary approach.
Seventh case of coronavirus in Australia confirmed, but what is it?
According to Aged Care Insite, authorities have now identified Seven cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in Australia. Globally there have been 6065 confirmed cases: 5997 in China and the rest in the Western Pacific Region, South East Asia, the US, Canada, Germany and France. As it stands, there has been 132 deaths confirmed. Scientifically identified as ‘novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)’, so far we know very little. But we do know this outbreak is the first known instance of the disease found in humans. This article covers what the virus is, how it occurred and what’s likely to happen next.
New resources for consumer engagement now available
Featuring a range of best practice strategies and tools for providers of aged care to engage with consumers and their representatives, a new consumer engagement resource is now on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website. The resource highlights that placing consumers at the centre of their care is fundamental to quality care outcomes. This means significantly deepening engagement and developing a mutual partnership with consumers in all aspects of the planning, delivery and evaluation of care and services.
Australia spending less than international counterparts
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, Australia’s low level of spending on aged care compared to other nations is “embarrassing” and putting the care of seniors at risk, say aged care peak bodies. The royal commission released two Flinders University-led research papers on Friday that provide an overview of aged care systems and models in other countries and innovative models of aged care. The report looks at population demographics, use of long-term care, government and user spending and workforce. In terms of government spending, the researchers found that Denmark and Sweden came out on top with both countries spending more than 4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product on long-term care. According to the report, Australia’s demographic profile and GDP per capita is roughly similar to Sweden and Denmark but Australia’s estimated expenditure on long-term care is lower at 1.2 per cent of GDP.
New royal commission research highlights Australia’s shortcomings
According to Aged Care Insite, the royal commission has announced its return for 2020 with a workshop-style hearing starting in Adelaide and running over two days from 10 February. This announcement coincided with the release of two background papers, conducted for the commission by Flinders University, which show that Australia is behind a number of OECD nations when it comes to spending, staffing and innovation in aged care. The research looked at international systems and innovations in aged care and has identified many opportunities for improvement in Australia. The first paper examined aged care systems in 22 countries while the other focused on innovative models of aged care. The authors identified approaches that could benefit the Australian system such as telehealth communications, training that supports people with dementia living at home and their carers, and remote support of independent living through ‘health smart homes’.
Still time to register interest in new online learning solution
According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, work is progressing on our new online Aged Care Learning Information Solution, with ‘Alis’ due to go live in February. All Commonwealth-funded aged care service providers are being offered a number of free registrations so they can evaluate the benefits of this new service. These finite free registrations will be available until the end of March 2021, with an option to purchase more registrations to support your organisation’s ongoing professional development once Alis is live. The initial modules will focus on the Aged Care Quality Standards, and will support all types of aged care services providers to:
- understand the Aged Care Quality Standards;
- prepare for performance assessment;
- deliver safe and quality care and services; and
- demonstrate tangible positive outcomes for consumers.
Assessing the Standards workshops – still time to book
According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, the new ‘Assessing the Standards’ workshops will focus on helping providers to understand the accreditation or quality review process, how to be prepared for these processes and how to use the self-assessment tools to gather and analyse evidence.
New Forms Available for Re-Accreditation of Residential Services
According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, new forms are now available to use when applying for re-accreditation. Specific information is included for recommencing services about fees payable for their re-accreditation.
Lewy body dementia: five tips for carers
According to Hospital and Healthcare, Lewy body dementia is a common form of dementia caused by the degeneration and death of nerve cells in the brain. The disease is characterised by the presence of abnormal spherical structures, called Lewy bodies, which develop inside the nerve cells. As in Alzheimer’s disease, patients present with a range of symptoms including extreme confusion, difficulty concentrating, visual hallucinations, and tremors and stiffness similar to that seen in Parkinson’s disease. Caring for someone with Lewy body dementia is a demanding and difficult task, with caregivers taking on responsibilities such as provision of emotional support, arrangement of logistics and key decision-making. This article details five considerations when caring for a patient with Lewy body dementia: emphasise the abilities that remain, encourage physical exercise, intentionally schedule activities, don’t go through it alone, care for the caregiver.
Consumers can now apply for an assessment online
According to The Department of Health, a new online form is available on the My Aged Care website that allows consumers or someone acting on their behalf to apply for their first assessment online. Sector professionals must continue to use the existing ways of making a referral including:
- the make a referral form
GPs with Medical Director, Best Practice or Genie Practice management systems are encouraged to use the new pre-populating e-referral form.
Alzheimer’s drug trial shows promise
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, participants in an international trial investigating a drug to slow down cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease have started to show significant improvements, the principal investigator tells Australian Ageing Agenda. The trial, which is in its third phase, aims to demonstrate that the drug Anavex 2-73 benefits people with Alzheimer’s disease. Participants are randomly assigned either the drug or a placebo to assess effectiveness. While the findings are only anecdotal at this stage, improvements have been noticed among individuals involved, said principal investigator Associate Professor Stephen Macfarlane.
Nothing in the news this week.
Resources and Upcoming Events
What Matters Most – New person centred care resources
According to The Department of Health, Palliative Care Australia, through a Dementia and Aged Care Services Fund grant, has launched a suite of resources to encourage early conversations about What Matters Most to older people, their care and their end of life preferences.
Webinar: Update on new aged care assessment arrangements – 12 February 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm (AEDT)
According to The Department of Health, this webinar will provide an update on the development of new aged care assessment arrangements and address common themes arising from stakeholder questions during the December 2019 webinar. The new arrangements will start from April 2021, providing a streamlined process for consumers to access aged care services.
Quality Indicators (QIs) pilot – specific service types invited to participate
The Department of Health has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to assist in the development and pilot to trial the new QIs relating to:
- medication management
- falls and fractures.
To ensure the pilot captures the views and experiences of residential aged care services nationally, the department would like to strongly encourage the following services to take part:
- Services operating in Queensland or remote areas
- Smaller services (less than 50 residential aged care places)
- Previous QI Program pilot participants
- Private (for profit) or State Government services.
Participation in the pilot is an opportunity for your service to trial and provide feedback on these indicators ahead of the implementation of the additional QIs from 1 July 2021. The pilot will commence in February 2020, please register your interest by 27 January 2020.
NATSIFAC Program Bi-Annual One-off Grant Opportunity – Second Approach now open
According to The Department of Health, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care (NATSIFAC) Program 2019-2020 Bi-Annual One-off Grant Opportunity – Second Approach is a targeted, competitive application process. NATSIFAC Program service providers can apply for grant funding to address a clearly identified need that supports the delivery of aged care services. Service providers in remote and very remote Australia (geographical locations defined as Modified Monash Model 6 and 7) will be prioritised. The Grant Opportunity opened on Thursday 16 January 2020. All applications must be received by the department by 2:00pm, Thursday 12 March 2020.
6 steps for safe prescribing antipsychotics and benzodiazepines in residential aged care
Issued by the Department of Health, this infographic outlines the 6 steps for safe prescribing antipsychotics and benzodiazepines in residential aged care.
Aged care video alert: Dignity of risk
According to Lexology, the concept of dignity of risk is not entirely new, however it now has a position of prominence in aged care with the Aged Care Quality Standards. In this video update, senior associate Dr Melanie Tan explains:
- What does dignity of risk mean?
- Where and when does dignity of risk apply?
- What is the duty of care within dignity of risk?
Women in Healthcare Leadership Summit – 17-20 February 2020, Sydney
Criterion Conferences would like to personally invite you to the Women in Healthcare Leadership Summit taking place from the 17th-20th February 2020. This is your chance to gain real advice from real healthcare leaders to learn not only how to survive in the industry, but truly thrive as a leader.
5th Quality in Aged Care Conference – 18-19 March 2020, Sydney
Criterion Conferences is combining the two areas of Quality and Customer Experience into one streamed event. After a year of public scrutiny and negative publicity, and with the Royal Commission Final Report on the horizon, this is your chance to join with industry leaders and experts and unpack key issues with a vision for person-centred, best practice approaches.
Financial Transformation in Aged Care Conference – 29-30 April 2020, Sydney
Criterion Conferences is hosting a Financial Transformation in Aged Care Conference. Developed in partnership with COTA Australia and ACSA, this event is your opportunity to voice your concerns, strategise with leading providers, and actively engage in dialogue that will build a stronger, sustainable future for your organisation and the industry.
2018-19 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997
According to the Department of Health, the 2018-19 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997 is now available from the GEN Aged Care Data website. The report details the operation of Australia’s aged care system during the 2018–19 financial year and provides a snapshot of the system as a whole. It is delivered to Parliament each year by the Minister in accordance with section 63-2 of the Aged Care Act 1997.
Summary page in the My Aged Care portals
According to The Department of Health, the new and improved Client Summary page is available on the My Aged Care portals and now includes a tracker for each client’s journey. This is available to all providers, assessors and clients using the portals. For providers and assessors, the tracker means you will be able to quickly see what stage a client is at in their journey.
Accounting and Business Advisory Services now available
According to The Department of Health, residential and home care service providers can now apply for free independent business advisory services to help them review their operations and provide advice on business management and financial strategies. The services are intended to target providers at risk from financial stress such as providers operating in rural and remote locations and smaller providers. PricewaterhouseCoopers will deliver the independent advisory services with services available until 30 June 2021. Service providers can apply to access the business advisory via The Department of Health’s website.
New Aged Care Means Assessment Forms
The Department of Human Services (DHS) has released the new Aged Care Calculation of your cost of care (SA486) digital form. Your clients can fill it in online, print and sign it and send it to DHS with their supporting documents. The digital form uses dynamic questions tailored to the customers’ individual circumstances.