Can Residential Aged Care Providers Insist That Staff Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations?

The Department of Health maintains that “vaccination of aged care residents and those who care for them is the most effective protection against COVID-19.” However, as the media has reported, the vaccine rollout to aged care staff has not been as efficient as promised and many aged care workers remain unvaccinated.

Read Now

Weekly Wrap 06 April 2021

All Posts

Weekly Wrap 06 April 2021

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 06 April 2021, aggregated by CompliSpace.

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.


Coronavirus/COVID-19 News

Support for Queensland Workers in Lockdown/Isolation

According to Services Australia, support is available if you live in Queensland and can't earn an income because you must self-isolate or quarantine, or are caring for someone with COVID-19. Options include:

  • by agreement the employees can access any available annual leave; if they are sick or caring for someone who is sick, the personal/carer’s leave; by agreement, unpaid leave
  • employees covered by the Aged Care Services Award and the Nurses Award can access:
    • up to 10 days of unpaid pandemic leave
    • any available annual leave at half pay for double time
  • an employee who can't earn an income because they must self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone who has COVID-19 (income includes paid leave), may be able to access the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment Queensland.

QLD: Updated advice for Queensland aged care providers

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, while the lockdown restrictions in Greater Brisbane were lifted from midday today, the aged care restrictions implemented in response to community transmission within the Greater Brisbane area are expected to continue for a further 14 days across the state. This means all of Queensland continues to be a restricted area for the purpose of the Aged Care Direction.

For all residential aged care facilities in Queensland, this means:

Visitors

No personal visitors, including care and support visitors, are allowed to enter, except for:

  • end of life visits and visits to maintain continuity of care that cannot be delivered by non-contact means, which are still permitted with permission of the facility’s operator.

Only people providing an essential purpose will be allowed to enter if they are:

  • an employee, contractor or student of the facility
  • providing goods or services necessary for the facility’s operation
  • providing health, medical, personal care or pharmaceutical services to a resident
  • administering a COVID-19 vaccine to a resident or aged care worker
  • required for emergency management, law enforcement or the exercise of a power or function of a government agency or entity under a law (this includes officers of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission)
  • a prospective resident or a support person of a prospective resident
  • maintaining continuity of care for a resident that can’t be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the facility’s operator.

Any person (other than a resident) permitted to enter a restricted facility must not enter, or remain on, the premises without wearing a single use surgical face mask. A person does not have to wear a mask if it will create a risk to their health or safety.

Residents

May only leave the facility to receive health care, attend a funeral or for an emergency or compassionate reason.

Queensland aged care providers can find out more information and are encouraged to stay up to date via the QLD Health website.

Vaccine rollout

Please note that these restrictions will not affect the rollout of vaccines to impacted facilities and teams will comply with Queensland government public health orders including wearing the required PPE to protect residents and staff while administering vaccines.

 

Single site funding support for COVID-19 impacted areas of greater Brisbane region

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, in response to the increased number of COVID-19 cases in Queensland, the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer has declared greater Brisbane region as a COVID-19 hotspot. Australian Government grant funding is now available to support aged care providers to implement single site arrangements. This supports the Queensland Government’s Aged Care Direction (No.25) which recommends that residential aged care providers limit their staff to working at one site.

The grant funding will be available for out of pocket costs incurred during an initial two week period, from 30 March 2021 to 13 April 2021. If the hotspot declaration is extended, these arrangements will also be extended.

A reminder that employers should ensure their workers are not financially disadvantaged during this period. Where this results in additional out of pocket costs for the provider, reimbursement can be sought through the grant application process. The Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) grant opportunity remains open until 30 June 2021.

At this stage, SACWIC funding is available to residential aged care providers in the following LGAs:

  • City of Brisbane
  • City of Ipswich
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Redland City.

In addition to funding support, providers can also access guidance on practical implementation of single site arrangements, including employee relations expertise, through the Guiding Principles Support Hub website or hotline on 1800 491 793.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Aged care providers are asked to ensure they have a sufficient supply of PPE, to use their own supply of PPE first and to request extra supply as and when needed. If you urgently need PPE and cannot source it, please submit an online application. The application will need to be completed for your request to be considered. The Commonwealth is prioritising requests for PPE from the National Medical Stockpile to aged care services that are most in need.

Further information and advice

Please visit the Australian Government Department of Health website for information and resources to assist in preparing and managing a COVID-19 outbreak including what to do in the first 24 hours of an outbreak in a residential aged care facility.

 

NSW: Updated screening advice for RACFs and Home Care Services

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, the screening advice for residential aged and disability care facilities, and home care services has been updated from 31 March 2021, on the following web pages:

Residential aged care facilities

Home care service providers

Visitors should not enter facilities in NSW if:

Staff working in residential aged care facilities:

  • must not enter the facility if they have been to any of the Queensland contact tracing locations until they have completed their 14 day self-isolation
  • must self-isolate until they receive a negative test and wear a surgical mask until further notice if they have been to:
    • Greater Brisbane areas including Brisbane City, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Redlands
    • any of Queensland’s casual contact locations at the dates and times listed in the last 14 days
    • any NSW locations listed in the current areas of concern at the dates and times listed for 14 days after they have visited the location.

Staff should wear a surgical mask if:

Aged care providers are reminded to stay up to date with advice and Directions on the NSW Government website and to check for these updates regularly.

 

All States and Territories: Stay up to date

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, in response to COVID-19 in Brisbane, other States and Territories may have updated restrictions and Directions. Aged care providers are reminded to stay up to date with advice and Directions from their local government via the links below:

 

COVID-19 vaccine update

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health:

More than 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to aged care residents

More than 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have now been given to aged care residents, bringing a strong sense of hope for a return to a new COVID safe normal.

Keep up to date with trusted information

You can find more information, including translated information, and subscribe to receive the COVID-19 Vaccines Updates on our COVID-19 vaccines website.

 

Influenza vaccinations in residential aged care facilities

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, guidance about influenza vaccination and the COVID-19 vaccination program is now available on health.gov.au. The timing of residential aged care facilities’ COVID-19 vaccination clinics and influenza clinics will need careful consideration to maintain the recommended minimum 14 day interval.

Flu vaccinations for residents and staff should occur:

  • 14 or more days before their first Pfizer dose
  • 14 or more days after their second (and final) Pfizer dose
  • 14 or more days before or after their first AstraZeneca dose, or
  • 14 or more days before or after their second (and final) AstraZeneca dose.

Where services have already scheduled an in-reach influenza vaccination program for residents and staff, this can be considered in the scheduling of a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. This is to ensure the preferred minimum interval between the two.

Residential aged care facilities that have scheduled their flu vaccinations, but have not yet been scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccine in-reach clinic, should immediately contact their Primary Health Network (PHN). Your PHN will liaise with the vaccine workforce suppliers on your behalf.

 

Watch the COVID-19 vaccine roll out in aged care webinar

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health: thank you to those who joined us for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in aged care webinar last Friday 26 March. If you weren’t able to join us you can now view the recording on the department’s website. The department will publish responses to questions that could not be answered during the webinar shortly.

 

Make up doses for people who miss a second COVID-19 vaccine dose

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, the department has updated its COVID-19 vaccine doses policy. This includes guidance on how to manage make up doses for people who miss a second COVID-19 vaccine dose.

In the early stages of the rollout, vaccine workforce providers were encouraged to vaccinate workers and others in residential aged care facilities with leftover vaccine doses after all consenting residents had been vaccinated, in line with an excess dose policy.

The updated policy specifies that people should only be vaccinated if they expect to be at the facility to receive both doses.

Importantly, first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine should not be delivered at a second dose clinic.

There are some people who received a first dose in line with the previous excess doses policy. PHNs will work with facilities and vaccine workforce providers to identify and enact local solutions to ensure these people receive their second dose.

Residential aged care facilities should contact their local PHN if there are residents or staff in their facility that did not receive their second vaccine at a vaccination clinic.

 

COVID-19 vaccine update for residential aged care staff

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, it is a priority to deliver choice and flexibility in accessing COVID-19 vaccinations for aged care staff as quickly as possible in the safest way. The department has published an update for residential aged care staff to inform them on when and how they can access a COVID-19 vaccination.

The delivery model enables aged care staff to access a COVID-19 vaccination through a mix of in-reach and out-reach options which provide flexibility and choice:

  • GP Respiratory Clinics. Aged care workers can book an appointment now at the nearest clinic.
  • GP clinics through the online Vaccine Information and Location Service or directly through a participating GP clinic. Bookings can be made now subject to availability.
  • Dedicated aged care worker clinics for residential aged care staff. Aged care workers will be able to book an appointment. Details on the first of the pop-up locations will be made available in early April 2021. More pop up locations will follow.
  • Dedicated and Government approved in-reach vaccination clinics at some residential aged care facilities. Your residential aged care facility will be able to let you know if an in-reach clinic will be available.

A factsheet is available for all residential aged care workers.

 

Update on link between AstraZeneca and blood clots

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released an update for healthcare providers on the suitability of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for people with a history of clotting conditions.

Global reviews have found no link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and general clotting disorders. However the EMA and others are conducting investigations in Europe regarding reports of a specific clotting condition (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST) following AstraZeneca vaccine.

For the time being, ATAGI recommends that vaccination with any COVID-19 vaccine should be deferred for people who have a history of the following rare conditions:

  • people with a confirmed medical history of CVST, and/or
  • people with a confirmed medical history of heparin induced thrombocytopenia (HIT).
  • This is until further information from ongoing investigations in Europe is available and is only a precautionary measure.

For more information read ATAGI's full statement.

 

Other News

Serious Incident Response Scheme begins today

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) has now commenced. From today, residential aged care providers must report all 'Priority 1' incidents within 24 hours using the new SIRS tile on the My Aged Care Provider Portal. A guide to support providers in using the new tile is available on the department’s website.

Providers must also have in place an effective incident management system to manage incidents and take reasonable steps to prevent future incidents from reoccurring. The focus is on the safety, health, well-being and quality of life of aged care consumers. This includes both incident management and reportable incident obligations.

For further information and support materials visit the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission's website.

 

SIRS tile now available via the My Aged Care Provider Portal

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, the department has today made the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) tile on the My Aged Care Provider Portal available for providers to preview ahead of the SIRS commencement on 1 April 2021. This is intended to help providers familiarise themselves with the reporting requirements.

Providers should make sure enough staff have access to the portal to submit reports on time. For information on accessing the My Aged Care Provider Portal, including easy-to-use guides, visit the department’s website.

 

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bulletin

The March issue of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bulletin, covers:

  • Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS)
  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Infection prevention and control requirements
  • COVID-19 restrictions on residents
  • Time to review your outbreak management plan
  • Consultation with aged care facilities about residents’ hearing health
  • COVID-19 vaccination resources

New portable long service leave scheme for community service workers

According to QLeave, the Queensland Government has passed legislation to establish a new portable long service leave scheme available for community services workers. The scheme seeks to reward workers for service to the industry by ensuring they receive long service leave benefits, even if they change employers.

The scheme does not apply to “standalone” aged care providers. However, if the provider also provides disability services or home care, then they are caught by this scheme. The scheme is administered by QLeave ( a government agency)  and the provider is required to register themselves, and provide all details for identified “community service workers” as well as those who “support, supervise or manage the provision of community services”. The employer must make quarterly levy payments to QLeave based on 1.35% of the identified employees’ ordinary wages. The first instalment is due on 12 April.

 

Changes to casual employment – industrial relations reforms

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, amendments to the Fair Work Act mean that casual employees now have the right to become a permanent (full-time or part-time) employee in some circumstances. This is known as ‘casual conversion’. Award-covered employees will have had the right to request conversion to permanent employees under certain circumstances for a while, however this now extends the right to request to all employees as a National Employment Standard. It also includes a requirement for employers to offer casual conversion under certain circumstances.

The most immediate impact on employers is that starting 27 March 2021, any new casual employees must be given the Fair Work Casual Employment Information Statement prepared by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

 

New resource: Top 10 questions for Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers to ask when looking for residential aged care

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, more than half a million children were placed in institutional and out of home care arrangements last century. They may be known as Care Leavers, Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants or Stolen Generations. Many in this group experienced control, abuse, and their basic rights taken from them. They may have significant anxieties about entering aged care.

This new brochure is designed to help Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers ask the right questions to determine that their needs are going to be met. It is important for aged care staff to be familiar with the questions in this brochure, as they may need to answer these questions in the future.

Seeking out tools and information such as this brochure, to support respectful and inclusive care, is a recommended action in Outcome 4 of the Action plan to support all diverse people – a guide for aged care providers.

Effective use of this brochure may also help you demonstrate Standard 2 of the Aged Care Quality Standards ”consumers partner in their ongoing assessment and planning to help them get the care they need”. This brochure could be given to a person who has been identified as a Forgotten Australian/Care Leaver during your initial and ongoing assessment processes.

Providers are also encouraged to consider making this brochure accessible to new clients.

For more information, including additional resources, visit the:

Helping Hand Aged Care’s website

department’s website

 

Diversity Training Series – upcoming free webinars

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing will run eight new webinars as part of its 2021 Diversity Training Series. The webinars have been developed in response to the recently completed Diversity Training Survey and cover a range of topics to help your services provide consumer-centred care that addresses the diversity of aged care recipients, consistent with the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. The webinars are designed for staff and leaders in aged care services.

The free webinars are being facilitated by diversity experts from across Australia and are scheduled as follows:

  • Working Effectively with Interpreters in Aged Care – 6 April
  • Accessing Culturally Appropriate Resources for your Consumers – 27 April
  • Using Translations to Connect with Culturally Diverse Audiences in Aged Care – 11 May
  • Applying a Diversity Lens to Dementia Care – 1 June
  • Cross Cultural Communication – 17 June
  • Creating Inclusive Organisations – 14 July
  • Linking Inclusive Practice to Aged Care Quality Standards – 4 August
  • Applying a Diversity Lens to Consumer-centred Care – 15 September

Register your interest for upcoming webinars on the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing website.

 

New campaign to boost employment in the aged care sector

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council recently launched a new campaign “Bring your Thing” to encourage people to take up employment in the aged care sector. The campaign aims to change people’s perceptions of ageing. It also aims to encourage those looking to begin their career, to transition from their current career and for those whose employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to consider aged care.

Aged care providers are encouraged to share the campaign video online with their networks.

You can read more about the campaign via Senator Colbeck’s media release.

 

Change to MPIR from 1 April 2021

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, the maximum permissible interest rate (MPIR) will decrease to 4.01% for the period from 1 April to 30 June 2021 for calculating:

  • accommodation prices
  • interest on refunds of accommodation lump sum balances

The current MPIR is listed in the Schedules of Fees and Charges for:

Residential and home care recipients who started care on or after 1 July 2014

Residential and home care recipients who started care before 1 July 2014

View current and past rates of the MPIR.

 

New financial hardship assistance form

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, a new Aged Care Claim for financial hardship assistance form is now available. Services Australia has combined the home care and residential care financial hardship forms into one. Changes include:

  • improved layout
  • fewer and clearer evidence requirements
  • fewer questions
  • simplified terminology.

Please dispose of any copies of these forms:

  • Financial hardship assistance for Residential Aged Care (SA461)
  • Financial hardship assistance for Home Care and Residential Respite Care (SA462).

Please direct customers to the new form on the Services Australia website.

Customers can claim for financial hardship assistance if they:

Customers should update their income and asset details before lodging their claim. They may also be eligible for other payments and services.

 

AN-ACC – Shadow Assessments to Commence in April 2021

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health newsletter. We cannot provide a link to the full version of this story until the Department of Health uploads it to their website.)

According to the Department of Health, the Australian Government has approved the continued development of the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model as a possible replacement for the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI). AN-ACC forms part of a suite of reforms being considered by the Australian Government to transform aged care in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Over a 12-month period from April 2021, everyone living in an Australian Government-funded residential aged care facility (except residents who are nearing end of life) will receive an AN-ACC assessment. As these assessments will run in addition to current ACFI funding arrangements – this period is referred to as the ‘shadow assessment period’.

During the shadow assessment period, residential aged care facilities will be contacted by one of six independent Assessment Management Organisations (AMOs) located around Australia, who have been contracted to conduct these assessments on behalf of the Australian Government.

All AN-ACC assessors have clinical qualifications as registered nurses, occupational therapists, or physiotherapists, and have considerable experience working in aged care settings. They have also undergone comprehensive training on the AN-ACC assessment process.

The Aged Care Amendment (Aged Care Recipient Classification) Principles 2021 were registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments on 29 March 2021 to enable the ‘shadow assessment period’ in the residential aged care sector. The amendments set out the:

  • procedures for assessment and for classification decisions
  • classification levels for respite and permanent care recipients
  • requirement that approved providers allow assessors access to aged care services for the purposes of assessment.

The department has developed a fact sheet to assist providers understand what they need to do during the shadow assessment period.

During the shadow assessment period, current funding and payment arrangements will still apply. Providers will need to continue to claim monthly from Services Australia and maintain their current ACFI submission and review processes.

More information

Visit our Residential Aged Care Funding Reform webpage, which includes a series of reports that provide detailed information about AN-ACC:

Any questions, complaints, or concerns can be referred to the Department of Health:

By phone (02) 6289 1773 from 8AM to 6PM AEST

By email ANACC.shadow@health.gov.au

 

Every second person in the world has ageist attitudes: WHO report

According to Aged Care Insite, ageism is ubiquitous worldwide, with every second person holding ageist attitudes, according to a new WHO report on ageism. The report looked at ways ageism, against young and old alike, affects society and found that it leads to poorer physical and mental health and reduced quality of life for older persons while ageism against younger people can appear in areas such as employment, health, housing and politics where younger people’s voices are often denied or dismissed.

 

ACFA proposes keeping RADs

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the Aged Care Financing Authority has recommended retaining the $32 billion residential aged care bonds system, but with tighter prudential regulation and a risk premium paid by providers. Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck tasked ACFA with investigating the role of Refundable Accommodation Deposits (RADs) in residential aged care in 2020 following an increase in consumers preferring Daily Accommodation Payments (DAPs) over RADs.

 

NDIS providers ordered to back pay workers $42,000

According to Community Care Review, the Fair Work Ombudsman has put new NDIS service providers and those in expanding growth areas on notice after a blitz recovered more than $42,000 in unpaid wages for more than 300 disability workers across NSW and Victoria.

 

Bupa Aged Care delivers $71M loss – occupancy 85%

According to The Weekly Source, Australia’s largest aged care operator delivered the $71 million loss on top of a loss of $52 million in 2019, bring in the total across the two years to $123 million. Revenue fell 4% to $583 million, with occupancy at just 85%, which was a slight increase from 84% in 2019. Contributing to the loss in 2020 was a $6 million fine and $18.3 million compensation payment (total $24.3 million) made to past and present residents for charging for services it had not provided.

 

Global investors and pension funds call for improvements in aged care

According to Inside Ageing, a group of leading ESG investors with more than US$3.3 trillion in assets under management has launched a new initiative today to drive up working conditions and quality of care in nursing homes globally. The coalition in coordination with UNI Global Union who has over 20 million members globally, is pushing companies in the nursing home sector to improve staffing, health and safety, collective bargaining to address massive risks exposed by the pandemic.

 

Legislation

Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Serious Incident Response Scheme and Other Measures) Act 2021 (No. 9 of 2021) [CTH] – commenced 1 April 2021

This Act amends the Aged Care Act 1997 and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018 to introduce a Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) for residential aged care and flexible care delivered in a residential aged care setting.

The SIRS introduced by the Act is similar to the incident management and disclosure protection scheme added to the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 in 2017, with amendments to address specific needs of aged care.

The SIRS will replace current responsibilities of approved providers of residential aged care and flexible care delivered in a residential aged care setting (approved provider) in relation to reportable assaults and unexplained absences in the Aged Care Act. The Act will require approved providers to manage incidents and take reasonable steps to prevent incidents, including through implementing and maintaining effective organisation-wide governance systems for management and reporting of incidents of abuse and neglect.

The Act will also require approved providers of residential care and flexible care delivered in a residential aged care setting to report all serious incidents to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

The Act will also strengthen protections for people who disclose incidents of abuse or neglect in aged care.

The Act will also expand the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s (Commission’s) powers to enforce the requirements of the SIRS and the responsibilities of approved providers and related offences more generally.

 

Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Serious Incident Response Scheme) Instrument 2021 [CTH] – commenced 1 April 2021

The purpose of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Serious Incident Response Scheme) Instrument 2021 is to prescribe arrangements relating to the Serious Incident Response Scheme in residential aged care, including flexible care delivered in a residential aged care setting. This includes arrangements relating to an approved provider’s responsibility to manage incidents and take reasonable steps to prevent incidents. The Instrument includes arrangements on the implementation and maintenance of incident management systems including the notification and management of reportable incidents by approved providers. The Instrument also makes consequential amendments to legislative instruments made under the authority of the Aged Care Act 1997 and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018 as a result of the SIRS replacing the current reportable assault arrangements. Consequential amendments are also made in relation to the new enforcement powers of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner.

This instrument also amends the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Rules 2018.

 

Resources and Upcoming Events

Governance in Aged Care: Beyond the Royal Commission – 2-day digital conference, 14 and 15 April 2021

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, with the imminent release of the Royal Commission into Quality and Safety in Aged Care, providers are at a critical turning point. Now is the time to carve out a new way forward to better support older Australians and their families, while ensuring a strong and sustainable industry.

Designed in partnership with COTA and ACSA, the Governance in Aged Care: Beyond the Royal Commission conference brings together experts, advocates and leaders from across Australia to unpack the Final Report and tackle the biggest issues for effective governance. The conference is taking place online, on 14th & 15th April 2021.

 

Flu vaccination poster

The Department of Health has issued this Flu Vaccination Poster. Residential aged care facilities may wish to display the attached poster at entrances, to alert anyone entering the facility of the flu vaccination requirements that came into effect on 1 May 2020.

 

Older Person’s COVID-19 Support Line

According to The Department of Health, a new Older Person’s COVID-19 Support Line has been set up to provide information, support and check on older Australians during the period of social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COTA Australia, National Seniors, Dementia Australia and the Older Person’s Advocacy Network have banded together to deliver this service with support from the Australian Government.

Senior Australians, their families and carers can freecall 1800 171 866 if they:

  • would like to talk with someone about what COVID-19 means for them or a loved one
  • are feeling lonely or distressed
  • are caring for a someone and need some information or a listening ear about what COVID-19 means for your circumstances
  • are worried about COVID-19 means for their usual aged care service
  • are worried about a friend or family member living with dementia.
  • are unable to access information on the internet and would like up-to-date advice.

Home care services providers can also use the number and dial option 1 to refer home care clients who would like a call from an independent organisation to check on their wellbeing.

The service will include outbound and inbound calls to provide contact, reassurance and practical advice on connecting to services to maximise social engagement and wellbeing whilst at home.

 

Resources on diverse population groups are now available for aged care staff

According to The Department of Health, The End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) website helps you to care for older Australians at the end of life. Our new diversity resources can help health workers and aged care staff to care for:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Care leavers
  • Carers
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse people
  • Financially or socially disadvantaged people
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people
  • People living in rural and remote areas
  • People with spirituality and faith beliefs
  • Veterans

How people think about death, dying and end of life is different for each person. Learning about these differences can help you to provide good palliative care. Access these resources on the Diverse Population Groups page of the ELDAC website.

 

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.

 

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?
ACE Editorial Team
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | ACE Editorial Team
ACE is published by CompliSpace and Critical Success Solutions. CompliSpace is an Australian company that specialises in helping organisations manage their legal and regulatory obligations. Critical Success Solutions is an Australian company that specialises in helping Aged Care and Disability Services manage their regulatory and legal requirements.

Subscribe