Aged care news highlights from the week ending 10 November 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.
Royal commission interim report: Sector reacts
According to Aged Care Insite, the aged care sector has responded to the royal commission’s interim report. The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) said yesterday that the “history of aged care in Australia is a story of woeful and increasing neglect”. The Australian College of Nursing has called for a rule stating that one RN must be on duty at all times in Residential Aged Care Facilities. United Voice welcomed the royal commission emphasis on workforce issues, pointing to a recent survey in which one-in-four workers said they would leave the sector in the next five years, and they called out the current aged care minister for his lack of engagement with the sector.
The Council on the Ageing (COTA) chief executive Ian Yates said that older Australians are neglected in federal budgets time and again. Australian healthcare and Hospital Association (AHHA) acting chief executive Dr Linc Thurecht said that the waiting times for homecare are increasing and at 137 days, it is far too long. Craig Gear from the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) said that the focus on chemical restraints in aged care is something his network has campaigned on for many years. Jo Ibrahim, head of the Health Law and Ageing Research Unit at the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University, agreed that chemical restraint has been an issue known for the past 20 years and won’t change overnight, so he is glad that the commissioners showed “courage” in identifying this as an area for reform, now.
Morrison promises more money for home care by Christmas
According to Aged Care Insite, Scott Morrison has committed to a home care funding boost in the tailwind of the royal commission’s interim report. Within the report, commissioners and staff outlined “areas of urgent action” that the government need not wait for their final report to act on – one of which was more home care packages. Speaking to 3AW this morning about those areas of urgent action, the Prime Minister said he would be making a response before the end of the year. “One of the reasons I’ve been waiting for this report [is] because I wanted that to inform the final decisions we were going to make around in-home aged care funding before we finalise the mid-year update,” he said. Morrison confirmed that the government would spend money on home care by Christmas but stopped short of confirming a figure.
Ageist culture must change: Hunt
According to Aged Care Insite, Australia has to take responsibility to overcome its “cultural” problems around aged care, the federal health minister has said. Greg Hunt said a damning interim report from the aged care royal commission revealed a “national cultural issue”. Labor has set a “deadline” for the government to take immediate action on the royal commission’s interim recommendations before the senate returns on November 11. But in announcing the campaign in northern Tasmania on Sunday, Labor leader Anthony Albanese didn’t detail what would happen if the government missed that deadline. He said Labor would be collecting signatures for a petition to present to parliament.
Nurses and midwives experience widespread aggression
According to Hospital and Healthcare, a survey conducted by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) reveals that a majority of nurses and midwives in NSW are threatened while carrying out their work. The member survey found that 93% of respondents experienced verbal aggression or threats in the last six months and more than half suffered physical intimidation while at work.
Poor access to aged care in regional areas doesn’t add up
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, there should be more aged care services in regional, rural and remote Australia purely because there is a greater proportion of older people in these areas, the royal commission has heard this week. This week’s hearing of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is looking at aged care service access and delivery in rural and regional areas with a particular focus on the Mudgee region, 260 kilometres northwest of Sydney. Senior Counsel Assisting Peter Gray said it was known that rural and remote settings posed transport and other challenges for aged care delivery due to widespread dispersion of populations, geographical isolation and insufficient people and scale for many support services to be viable.
Pharmacists support RMMR program review
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the groups representing Australia’s pharmacists and community pharmacies have backed the aged care royal commission’s calls to strengthen the medication review program. But the government has yet to confirm what it will or won’t commit to, and experts say additional measures are needed to address the cultural change needed. In their interim report released last week, Commissioners Richard Tracey and Lynelle Briggs called on the Government to take immediate action to respond to the significant over-reliance on chemical restraint in aged care including through the seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement now being negotiated. The commissioners suggest the Australian Government, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia review the effectiveness of the Residential Medication Management Review program and make it stronger and more accessible. The program provides for pharmacists to examine and advise on the use of prescribed medications for aged care residents.
SA government reveals delay in aged care CCTV pilot
According to Aged Care Insite, five South Australian aged care homes that are part of a CCTV pilot project will have to wait to be fitted with cameras as the state government searches for a new technology partner. Cameras were meant to switch on towards the end of this year but the trial start date will now be pushed back to 2020.
Home Care Package Program fostering isolation
According to Community Care Review, a co-housing approach to providing support for older women in the community may be preferable to current home care polices, which risk isolating people in their own homes, a researcher says. Myfan Jordan, director of innovation at the social justice think tank Per Capita, presented recent research which explores attitudes towards models of co-housing for older women at the AAG conference in Sydney on Wednesday. Per Capita researchers, who collected over 50 hours of data from in-depth interviews with 23 women, found while attitudes varied towards different models of co-housing, “it was clear that women wanted community options”, Ms Jordan said. She said the research showed that older women wanted to be part of a network that provided a “relationship of support”. However this isn’t being provided by the individualised, consumer-focused nature of the existing Home Care Package Program, which “goes against being part of the community”.
Tweaking prescribing rules won’t fix chemical restraint in aged care
According to The Conversation, as one way to address chemical restraint, health minister Greg Hunt this week announced doctors will soon have to justify why a patient needs to have the drug risperidone for more than 12 weeks. But this move is yet another quick fix that won’t solve this complex problem. This article provides a useful overview of what chemical restraint means and what needs to be done about it.
Nothing in the news this week.
Resources and Upcoming Conferences
Workforce Submissions – due by 6 December 2019
Following the third Melbourne hearing, which focused on workforce issues, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is seeking written submissions on policy issues relating to a number of workforce issues, including staffing levels, registration schemes for non-clinical staff, remuneration and working conditions, training and governance.
To make a submission follow the link above to the Commission’s website.
Online claiming for Aged Care providers is changing
The Department of Human Services is developing a new Aged Care Provider Portal. The new portal will be a secure place for aged care providers to access our online services and make claims for aged care subsidies and supplements. It will eventually replace two current systems – Aged Care Online Services for Home Care and the Aged Care Online Claiming System for Residential Care. The portal will be similar to the current portals but with some improved features to make it easier to use. The new portal will also introduce a more secure authentication and log in method using Provider Digital Access (PRODA). To access the new portal individuals will need to sign up for PRODA. If your users don’t already have a PRODA account, they should register for one now in preparation. The Department will let you know when it’s time to switch over to the new Aged Care Provider Portal.
Material change form update
The Department of Health has made updates to the material change form to make it clearer what information you need to provide when submitting a change, including in relation to third parties. Approved providers are required to notify any change of circumstance that materially affects their suitability to be a provider of aged care within 28 days of the change occurring. For example, if the approved provider is unable to manage its financial responsibilities or goes into external administration, makes substantial changes to its organisational or governance structure or has a change in key personnel. The form is now available on the department’s website.
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.
The Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) project on improving home care payment arrangements - consultation period now open
According to The Department of Health, the consultation period for ACFA’s project looking at the financial impact of improving home care payments arrangements is now open. In forming its advice to Government, ACFA is seeking written submissions responding to its consultation paper by 12 November 2019. You can have your say via a link on the Department of Health’s site.
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.
Managing Dignity of Risk Challenges in Residential Aged Care WORKSHOP – various locations across Vic and NSW in October and November 2019
According to The Communiques, this essential workshop is designed for executives, senior managers, clinicians and relevant personnel to provide a systematic approach to examining the issues of how to manage risks for older residents living in residential aged care facilities. Balancing staff and organizational responsibilities of duty of care with the residents’ rights and choice in Dignity of Risk. For more information, including times and locations of workshops, follow the link above and download the full program.
National Conference on the Future of Aged Care: Beyond the Interim Report of the Royal Commission – 19-21 November 2019, Melbourne
According to Criterion Conferences, this national conference will be the first opportunity to critically unpack and explore the Royal Commission’s Interim Report, with strategic insights from key industry leaders and experts.
OPAN event: Understanding the New Charter of Aged Care Rights – 25 and 26 November 2019, South Australia
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) invites you to a free interactive educational event in South Australia for consumers, carers and families, and providers. The event will cover the rights in the Charter and its benefits, implementation requirements and implementing the Charter in Home Care and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
Event locations and start times:
Port Pirie - John Pirie Motor Inn
25 November, 2pm – 4pm ACDT
Victor Harbor - McCracken Country Club
26 November, 2pm – 4pm ACDT
Strengthening the Aged Care Workforce – 3-5 December 2019, Melbourne
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, after two successful events in Sydney, the Strengthening the Aged Care Workforce conference will be taking place on the 3rd - 5th December 2019 in Melbourne for the first time. Designed in partnership with COTA Australia & ACSA, this conference will bring together industry leaders to discuss how service providers can train, support and guide their workforce through the changes taking place in this sector.
Clinical Care and Quality in Home Care Seminar – Thursday 5 December 2019, Sydney
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, this seminar will provide attendees with practical, easy to implement ideas and strategies in their workplace in the area of clinical care provision. This seminar will provide you with many resources and tools. There will be industry expert speakers to provide additional advice and experience. There will be a strong focus on what EVIDENCE might be required during an audit by the ACQSC assessors. A USB with extensive resources will be provided to all attendees. Target audience: Managers, Quality Officers, Co-ordinators, Case Managers, Care Managers, Registered Nurses, New Providers.