Aged care news highlights from the week ending 31 May 2019.
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.
Standards effective 1 July regardless of any delay with guidance
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, all aged care providers will be assessed under the new standards from July and they have been advised not to expect the transition period to continue beyond this date. However, the quality commission said it has the ability to respond proportionately to identified issues including based on a provider’s history of compliance. Just over a month out from the 1 July start date of the sector’s new, consumer-focused and single set of aged care standards, some of the guidance material for them and related new rules is still being developed. This was in part behind a discussion at the Governance in Aged Care Conference in Sydney this week about whether there would be a soft introduction to the new standards and a continuation of the transition period beyond 1 July. CEO of provider peak body Aged and Community Services Australia Patricia Sparrow confirmed to delegates that providers would definitely be assessed as to whether or not they met the new requirements from 1 July.
Staff-to-resident ratios not appropriate, inquiry told
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, there is no case for fixed staffing ratios in Australian residential aged care, a leading industry consultant has told the royal commission. Aged care advisory firm Ansell Strategic recently made a submission to the aged care royal commission about its investigation into the practical application of fixed staffing ratios in residential facilities. The investigation involved extensive consultation with aged care operators and clinical leaders, examination of international research and literature reviews, said Ansell Strategic managing director Cam Ansell. “We found that it’s not a system that is suitable for Australia,” Mr Ansell told Australian Ageing Agenda. “We completely appreciate and recognise why people are looking for answers, but in answering a very complex problem, it is a simple solution we feel is more likely to make the situation worse and unsustainable,” he said.
Australia ahead on dementia as rest of world lags
According to Community Care Review, the peak international body of dementia associations has listed Australia among a relatively small group of nations to have developed a national dementia framework in keeping with global targets set by the World Health Organisation two years ago. The majority of the WHO’s 194 member states are accused of dragging their feet and standing in the way of the organisation’s deadline being met. The WHO action plan aims to see 75 per cent of countries provide support and training for carers of people with dementia by 2025 and has developed an online program, iSupport, to provide this. The program is being adapted in multiple countries including Australia. The report also singles Australia out as one of only a few nations to have a dementia data registry, but notes there is still work to be done.
A meaningful end: new tools help staff and residents face death
According to Aged Care Insite, in conjunction with Palliative Care Week, Meaningful Ageing Australia released two new resources for aged care homes to better deal with the end of life process. Aiming at moving past the clinical needs of the patient and looking at emotional and spiritual needs, The Spirituality of Dying Workshop Facilitator’s Guide provides straightforward material for organisations to increase the skill of all staff. They have also developed the implementation tool, Older people are supported to prepare for end of life, which supports organisations with the National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care.
Urgent reminder about influenza
The latest issue of the Aged Care Quality Bulletin reports that the start to the 2019 influenza season has seen an unusually high number of cases: “substantially higher compared to this period in the previous five years,” according to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS). In the year to 19 May, there had been 55,240 notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza to the NNDSS – and 10,073 in the previous fortnight. The NNDSS reported 119 influenza-related deaths in the year to 19 May. Older people who contract influenza are more likely to require hospitalisation and suffer serious complications including pneumonia and death. In a recent alert issued to the sector, the Commission’s Chief Clinical Advisor, Dr Melanie Wroth, said aged care service providers should be aware of measures that help prevent and control the spread of influenza including annual vaccination, encouraging consumers, staff and visitors to wash their hands regularly, and early reporting of suspected outbreaks.
Ageing population set to almost double by 2050
According to the latest issue of the Aged Care Quality Bulletin, a new background paper released by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety says the number of Australians aged 85 years or older in 2050 will require, "significant adjustments to the Australian economy and systems that support older people." The paper estimates that by 2050, more than 5.8 million people or 3.7 per cent of the population will be aged 85 years of age. This compares with around 503,685 people today - or 2 per cent of the current population. The paper, “Medium- and long-term pressures on the system: the changing demographics of aged care” concludes that the total supply of care will need to increase, with large absolute rises being required in the level of provision in each part of the aged care spectrum.
Guardianship and Administration Bill 2018 [VIC] – Bill passed 28 May 2019. The Bill is for an Act to re-enact with amendments the law relating to guardianship and administration, to repeal the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 and to amend consequentially various other acts and for other purposes. Acts that will be amended include the Health Records Act 2001, Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016, Power of Attorney Act 2014 and Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014. The Bill could affect decision making, advanced care planning and privacy policies in Victorian aged care homes.
Resources and Upcoming Conferences
Education and Resources to Support Aged Care Consumers and Service Providers Understand the Charter of Aged Care Rights
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is supporting the Department of Health with raising awareness and providing education about the new Charter of Aged Care Rights. According to OPAN, education and resources will help aged care consumers, families and carers understand the Charter, which comes into effect on 1 July 2019. Resources will be accessible via the OPAN webpage as soon as they are available. Resources include:
- Explainer video and factsheet for consumers – ready in June 2019
- Posters and information booklet for service providers – by 1 July 2019
- Educational webinars and events for consumers – Throughout May and June 2019
- Educational webinars and events for service providers – May and June 2019
Strengthening the Aged Care Workforce – Conference 4 and 5 June 2019, Sydney Harbour Marriott
Criterion Conferences, in partnership with COTA and ACSA, is hosting the 2019 Strengthening the Aged Care Workforce conference to provide practical strategies and ideas for improving the aged care workforce and guiding employees through the Royal Commission.
Department of Health Webinar – Thursday 6 June 2019 2-4pm AEST
This Department of Health Webinar will update service providers and the assessment workforce on key aged care quality reforms being implemented from 1 July 2019, including:
- Aged Care Quality Standards
- Clinical Governance Framework
- Open Disclosure Framework
- Single Charter of Aged Care Rights
- Strengthened regulations to minimise the inappropriate use of restraint
- National Quality Indicator Program
Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about these topics to representatives from both the Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
2nd Retirement Living Forum - 26-28 August 2019, Melbourne
According to Akolade, the 2nd Retirement Living Forum is designed and developed together with senior thought leaders from Australia's leading retirement village operators, to dive deep into real-world challenges, opportunities and strategies on how retirement village operators can deliver customer centred services in retirement villages and improve the value of retirement living lifestyles.