Aged Care Providers’ Experiences with ACQSC Assessments: Preliminary Results from Our Recent Survey

On 18 February 2020 we issued a survey to our subscribers asking about their recent experiences with Assessment visits from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (the Commission). We will keep this survey open a while longer in case you haven’t had a chance to respond (you can access the survey here). Meanwhile, here are the preliminary results.

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Weekly Wrap: 09 February 2020

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Weekly Wrap: 09 February 2020

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 09 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.


Latest information on Novel Coronavirus – updated fact sheets for aged care workers, residents and families

According to The Department of Health, Updated factsheets are available for aged care staff, residents and families with the latest advice on measures to limit the transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019‑nCoV). The fact sheet for residents and families is also available in simplified Chinese and English. Advice sent to you on 31 January 2020 has also been updated. The Australian Government is now advising any person who has left, or transited through, mainland China on, or after, 1 February 2020 to isolate themselves at their home until 14 days after leaving China. You are asked to distribute these fact sheets to your staff and residents’ families, and to stress the importance of transmission-based precautions such as good hand hygiene. 

New coronavirus directives for aged care

According to Aged Care Insite, Australians have been urged to stay away from aged care facilities and isolate themselves at home if they have travelled to mainland China within the past 14 days or have come in contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in that same period. The directives follow a government announcement of a China travel ban. Australia closed its borders to most people travelling from or through mainland China to address concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus. Only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family will be granted entry. The government’s aged care directive is contained in a fact sheet developed for aged care residents and family members.

Lessons for boards from the Aged Care Royal Commission

According to Company Directors, outdated standards and inadequate funding models are being exposed through the Aged Care Royal Commission. We outline key lessons for directors.

Influenza: overview on prevention and therapy

According to NPS Medicinewise, quadrivalent influenza vaccination is recommended annually for adults and children aged six months to 64 years. High-dose or adjuvanted trivalent vaccines are recommended annually for people 65 years and over. If started early enough, neuraminidase inhibitors reduce symptom duration by approximately one day. Treatment should be considered in patients with severe disease requiring hospitalisation or who are at risk of complications. Chemoprophylaxis is not a substitute for vaccination but can be considered in high-risk individuals with an inadequate or ineffective vaccination status.

When should I take my medicines?

According to NPS Medicinewise, adherence to drug regimens is critical to optimise therapeutic outcomes. To aid adherence patient preferences must be discussed when considering the timing of doses, especially for chronic therapy. The appropriate timing of administration should maximise therapeutic effects and minimise adverse reactions. If possible, doses should fit with the patient’s daily routines. Check if drug absorption is affected by meals. Food may increase or decrease absorption, and may also improve gastric tolerance. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually taken with food. For patients with acute pain, administration without food may be acceptable. The best time to take antihypertensive drugs is uncertain. Chronotherapy studies may clarify any influence of evening or morning doses on clinical outcomes.

Optimal antimicrobial duration for common bacterial infections

According to NPS Medicinewise, most antibiotic use in Australia arises from prescriptions in the community. The risk of antibiotic-related adverse events, including resistance, increases with longer treatment courses. When antibiotics are indicated for treatment, short courses are as effective as standard ones for most common infections. Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic is a key reference for antimicrobial prescribing in Australia. General practitioners play a key role in reducing antibiotic use.

Residential CDC model promotes trust

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the implementation of a consumer directed care model in an aged care home has improved trust, respect and communication between staff and residents, a provider CEO tells Australian Ageing Agenda. The CDC model implemented by New South Wales aged care provider Peninsula Villages provides residents full autonomy in decision-making related to their lifestyle and care services. It aims to improve residents’ understanding of their health and lifestyle issues to ensure they play an active role in maintaining their needs and wants, said Peninsula Villages CEO Shane Neaves.

Funding targets facilities at risk of failure

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the Federal Government has announced a $50 million initiative to support residential aged care services in financial trouble to improve or cease operations. Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck announced the Business Improvement Fund (BIF) on Friday to support residential aged care providers at risk of service failure through short-term grants.

2020 ACAR: a time to reposition in residential aged care – opinion

According to Aged Care Insite, the Department of Health announced the 2020 ACAR late last year. The next ACAR is expected to open in March 2020, and this time the department has given some notice to providers to get a head start on preparing their ACAR applications. ACAR is a process through which the Department of Health allocates residential aged care bed places and capital grants for providers so they can offer new services which respond to the need of their local communities. This article sets out some of the context and challenges in regard to the upcoming ACAR.

RedUSe program funded for remote facilities

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the quality and safety commission has begun implementing an evidence-based training and support program to reduce the inappropriate use of sedatives in aged care homes in remote and very remote areas. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and Dr Juanita Breen from University of Tasmania have trained a group of experienced pharmacists to deliver the successful Reducing Use of Sedatives (RedUSe) program to around 50 facilities around the country.

New research into better practice aged care released by Royal Commission

According to Aged Care Guide, new research reports from Flinders University in South Australia, delivered together in partnership with the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, suggests that the Federal Government needs to improve its spend on Australian aged care to improve the industry.

Cottage dementia respite could delay aged care for years, says study

According to Community Care Review, cottage respite may cost more than a stay in an aged care facility, but it can help people with dementia to live at home for up to five years longer according to new research, offering significant long-term savings. Cottage respite provides short-term care in a modified home in the community, and can accommodate several people.

Revised webinar date: Update on new aged care assessment arrangements

According to The Department of Health, the webinar planned for 12 February 2020 on the development of new aged care assessment arrangements has been rescheduled to Wednesday 11 March 2020 from 2:00pm-3:00pm. 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.

Palliative care boost for South Australia

According to Aged Care Insite, the South Australian Government has announced a new grants program aimed at improving palliative care across the state. The Palliative Care 2020 Grants Program offers a limited number of grants of up to $150,000 each. SA Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade, said: “We want to ensure that every South Australian has access to high quality care to support them to live – and die – well, no matter who they are, where they live, or what health issues they are dealing with,” Minister Wade said.

Legislation

Nothing in the news this week.

Resources and Upcoming Events

Calculating residential accommodation payments in a leap year

This year is a leap year, with 366 days instead of 365. The Department of Health has received queries from approved providers of residential care seeking advice on how to calculate a daily accommodation payment (DAP) in a leap year. The calculators specified in the Fees and Payments Principles 2014 (No. 2) (the Principles) refer to 365 days for working out:

  • the DAP (or contribution) equivalent to a refundable accommodation deposit (RAD) (or contribution)
  • the amount of interest on a RAD (or contribution) balance or accommodation bond balance.

Even though 2020 is a leap year, residential care providers should continue to use 365 days when calculating DAP amounts and the interest payable on refunds of lump sum deposits. But please be aware that daily payments and daily contributions are payable for 366 days in 2020.

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 – 11 March 2020, 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.

LASA Tri-State Conference: Ageing Well: From Policy to Practice – 24-25 February 2020, Albury Entertainment Centre

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, LASA’s 2020 conference will cover:

  • Building the workforce of the future
  • Board governance and your responsibilities
  • Managing consumer dignity and choice
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Feedback and Complaints
  • Meeting the Aged Care Quality Standards to be audit ready.

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.

Dementia Australian National Symposium – 24 March 2020, The Fullerton Hotel Sydney

According to Aged Care Insite, we are bringing an impressive line-up of local and international leaders to equip you to lead industry transformation. You will leave inspired, equipped and ready for change.

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.

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.

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