Aged care news highlights from the week ending 9 June 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.
Three State Government-run aged care facilities fail compliance tests
According to The Advertiser, of the 23 aged care homes failing to meet standards, three are government-run. An Oakden whistleblower says that’s a devastating result and the state cannot squander the opportunity to move on from past failures. State-run facilities make up three of the 23 South Australian facilities found to be non-compliant or facing sanctions. Minlaton’s Melaleuca Court Nursing Home, in the Yorke Peninsula, and Disability SA’s Northgate aged care service have been found to be non-compliant for failing to meet a standard around behavioural management. Melaleuca Court also failed a measure around regulatory compliance.
The NSW Government will establish a new Ageing and Disability Commissioner to better protect our vulnerable adults
According to a NSW Government Fact Sheet, the NSW Government will establish an Ageing and Disability Commissioner from 1 July 2019, to better protect adults with disability and older people from abuse, neglect and exploitation in home and community settings. In regard to aged care, the Commissioner’s main role will be to investigate allegations of abuse, provide support to vulnerable adults and their carers following an investigation, make recommendations to government on systemic issues, and raise community awareness.
Quality Standards Overview: The Aged Care Quality Commission’s new standards and a relevant past issue of the RAC Communiqué
The Residential Aged Care (RAC) Communiqué is an electronic publication containing narrative case reports about lessons learned from Coroners’ investigations into preventable deaths in Residential Aged Care settings. Starting at page nine, this issue of the Communique provides a relevant Coroner’s case study for each of the eight Aged Care Quality Standards.
Providers told to work with staff through the royal commission
Aged care organisations need to focus on keeping their workforce engaged during the scrutiny of the aged care royal commission, an aged care executive tells Australian Ageing Agenda. Providers also need to help staff see the positive side of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety despite negative reports in the media, said Kasy Chambers, executive director at New South Wales-based provider Anglicare. “Don’t paint the royal commission only as negative and don’t be defensive. Talk about it as an opportunity to learn from others, and to have the spotlight of the country on your work area”.
Reminder - Readiness and transition to new home care pricing arrangements
According to a Department of Health media release, by 1 July 2019, all home care providers must publish their pricing information in the standardised pricing Schedule, including their full price list on My Aged Care. Providers should familiarise themselves with the requirements and other related changes outlined in the legislation. Providers are encouraged to enter their pricing information as soon as practical through the My Aged Care provider portal, noting it will be mandatory from 1 July 2019. As part of ongoing engagement with home care providers since July 2018, the department recently sent a letter to remind them of their requirements and to further support their readiness and transition activities. The letter was accompanied by a provider readiness checklist and a fact sheet for existing clients. These documents and additional support materials can be found on the department's website.
Major update to infection prevention and control guidelines
According to Hospital and Healthcare, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released the 2019 edition of the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare, marking their first update since 2010. According to the NHMRC, there are over 165,000 healthcare associated infections in Australian acute healthcare settings every year, making them the most common complication for hospital patients. To combat this, the NHMRC, in collaboration with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, has updated the Guidelines based on the latest national and international evidence.
Elderly LGBTQI+ Aged Care Residents Say They’re Being Forced “Back Into The Closet”
According to SBS’s The Feed, LGBTQI+ elders say they’re being forced to suppress their sexuality and go back into the closet, out of fear of being discriminated against by aged care providers. Several elderly residents and advocates have told The Feed LGBTQI+-phobic discrimination is occurring - with many more living ‘invisibly’, too scared to speak up.
Nurses should lead the way in palliative care: ACN
According to Nursing Review, in the five-year period between 2011–12 and 2015–16 there was a nearly 30 per cent growth in palliative care hospitalisation. The Australian College of Nursing recently released a white paper titled Achieving Quality Palliative Care for All: The Essential Role of Nurses. Chief executive Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward said: “The death of someone we love is exceptionally difficult to face and I think that has made it challenging for us as a nation to have frank and fearless policy discussions about how we care for people who are confronting their mortality. The nursing profession makes up the largest component of the palliative care workforce. ACN wants to see increased support for nurse-led models of care that will ensure people receive the physical, emotional, social and spiritual care they deserve."
Nurse named in Albanese’s shadow aged care team
According to Nursing Review, MP and nurse Ged Kearney has been added to opposition leader Anthony Albanese’s aged care team. The former union leader, who won the federal seat of Batman for Labor, was named Shadow Assistant Minister on Sunday. Speaking to Nursing Review in the lead up to last year’s Batman by-election, Kearney said her experience as a nurse would play a key role in parliament should she win.
Antidepressants, opioids can more than double risk of falls
Aged Care Insite reports that older Australians starting antidepressants or opioids face more than double the risk of a fall or hip fracture, a new paper says. For the study, published today in Australian Prescriber, the research team compared 8828 veterans with hip fractures with 35,310 people of the same age and gender, examining their medicine use in the previous six months. The risk of hip fracture was higher for all five groups of drugs tested (antidepressants, opioids, antiepileptic drugs, benzodiazepines and antipsychotics). The highest risk, more than double, was when selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or opioids were started. The team said this risk remained high with ongoing use.
Whole of Tasmania to tackle dementia risk
According to Aged Care Insite, a new project will see researchers work to help shift the dementia risk of an entire state. The largest of its kind, the study has been designed to empower people to self-manage significant modifiable dementia risk factors. Launched today by the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, the Island Study Linking Ageing and Neurodegenerative Disease (ISLAND) Project will recruit 10,000 community members aged 50 and over. Wicking Dementia Centre director Professor James Vickers said the project is the first in the world to target a whole population through a public health and educational campaign.
“Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia, and Tasmania has the oldest population in the country, one which is ageing faster than the national average,” Vickers said. “Tasmania also has high rates of modifiable risk factors of dementia; however, it has been estimated that a third of dementia cases may be prevented if the population can attend to these risk factors.”
How cultural background affects dementia care
According to Aged Care Insite, in high-income countries like Australia, nursing and aged care workforces are increasingly multicultural. In Australia it is estimated that 32 per cent of RACF workers were born overseas. In similar nations, such as the UK, figures are as high as 40 per cent. These workers have been essential to the aged care workforce, filling significant staff shortages and reflecting the multicultural make-up of aged care residents. However, migrant workers bring with them differing levels of dementia understanding and this can affect many facets of care. Some literature has found differing perceptions of dementia in different cultures. For example, some cultures view dementia as an embarrassment or dishonourable, or even just a part of normal ageing.
No updates this week
Resources and Upcoming Conferences
Aged Care and Elder Law Conference – 16-18 July 2019, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane
The Thomson Reuters Aged Care & Elder Law Conference series is taking place in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane over 16-18 July 2019. The conference aims to address the key issues in legal, regulatory and compliance in aged care, retirement villages and senior living, including implications of the Royal Commission, navigating the new framework and Standards, workplace risks, responding to suspected elder financial abuse, and “being litigation ready”.