Residential Aged Care Assessments: What to Expect in 2021

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) recently released its Sector Performance Report for the period July to September 2020.

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Weekly Wrap: 13 December 2020

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Weekly Wrap: 13 December 2020

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 13 December 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.


Coronavirus / COVID-19 News

Guide supports providers to manage COVID outbreaks

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has released new guidelines to support residential aged care providers to prepare for, prevent and manage a COVID-19 outbreak. The practical guide, Outbreak management planning in aged care, aims to help providers minimise the risks and impact of potential COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities. It has been developed for residential aged care providers to support staff, residents, family members and visitors.

 

Reminder: Aged Care Workforce Retention Payment – payment 3

(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, this is a further reminder that the final Aged Care Workforce Retention Payment (ACWR) will be paid in January 2021. The value of this payment will be equal to the second payment, unless a variation to funding is required. Variation requests are to be submitted to the Department by no later than Friday, 11 December 2020.

If a variation is required to payment 3, providers can submit a Variation Request and Declaration, along with an updated Eligible Aged Care Worker Staffing Profile Spreadsheet available on the Department’s website. Providers should undertake a calculation of the eligible workforce in the four weeks preceding the census date (Monday, 30 November 2020) and compare the profile to payment 2. If the amount for payment 3 has decreased by more than 10 per cent since payment 2, you will need to submit a variation to the Department. You may submit a variation if the amount for payment 3 is more than payment 2 and you wish to claim for the additional amount.

If there are any concerns providing information by this date, please email ACWR@health.gov.au.

 

Allied health funding to boost reablement in COVID-19 response

According to Inside Ageing, allied health professionals will be paid more to visit residents in aged care under a funding boosts for mental health and other healthcare services. Releasing its Australian Government Implementation Progress Report on the Royal Commission to Aged Care Quality and Safety Report, Aged Care and COVID-19, Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Commonwealth accepted all recommendations from the inquiry and allocated additional funding of $132.2 million across the system.

 

ACFI COVID-19 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, we are now undertaking ACFI reviews from our offices until further notice. This removes any risk of COVID-19 transmission during departmental staff visits.

We have had queries about pain management assessments to support claims under ACFI question 12.4 (b). Details can be found on the department’s website.

 

New fact sheet – temporary resident relocations in emergency situations

(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, if your residential aged care service is affected by an emergency event, you may need to temporarily relocate residents to another approved service.

A new fact sheet for providers outlines how funding and resident fees operate and what providers should do when a resident needs to be temporarily relocated.

The department’s website also provides comprehensive resources that can assist in your emergency planning.

 

Top doctors change heatwave advice amid COVID-19 pandemic

According to Aged Care Insite, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging Aussies not to flock to airconditioned shopping centres this summer as coronavirus remains an ongoing threat. RACGP Victoria chair Dr Anita Munoz said the advice for patients had to change this year due to the COVID-19 virus. “We used to advise people to go to a public place with airconditioning on very hot days, such as a shopping centre, as we know many people don’t have access to a cool home,” she said. “This year is different because we are still in the grips of a worldwide pandemic – COVID-19 is highly contagious, and the last thing we want is people, particularly vulnerable people, gathering in public places during heatwaves.”

 

Business Improvement Fund grants 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, grant opportunities for the Business Improvement Fund for residential aged care have been extended to 30 April 2021.

Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) recently hosted a webinar demonstrating how to access the Business Improvement Fund. You can watch the webinar, or view the presentation slides.

Providers can apply for funds to improve business operations, support the sale of a facility to another provider, or closure where there are no other options available.

The Business Improvement Fund is designed to support small to medium providers:

  • with limited access to other financial support
  • facing significant pressures which may impact on care or risk service closure.

For more information visit the GrantConnect website or email queries to bif@health.gov.au.

Applications must be submitted via GrantConnect by 2:00 pm AEST on 30 April 2021.

 

Webinar on a safe environment for visitors and residents

(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, ACSA and the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) have jointly hosted a webinar that provides practical guidance on how residential aged care facilities can continue to implement a safe environment for visitor access and resident movement.

Infection prevention and control experts discuss mitigating risk to facilitate good visitor access and implementing best practice for COVID recovery. The webinar also takes you through the latest information and shared key learnings on visitor checks, symptomatic testing, PPE use, outdoor areas and state and territory public health declarations.

 

Stress testing your COVID-19 outbreak plan

(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 this webinar for all Australian residential aged care providers, ACSA has partnered with VACRC to discuss the best practices to stress test aged care providers’ outbreak management plans.

The webinar is on Friday 11 December, 1-1:45pm. You can register here.

 

Entry to residential aged care facilities – state and territory directions

(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, as we are heading into the festive season this is a reminder to all residential aged care providers about entry restrictions for residential aged care facilities.

State and territory governments established directions under their emergency management provisions in response to COVID-19, which set out requirements for entry into residential aged care facilities. Generally, these directions restrict the entry of visitors who have not had the influenza vaccination to residential aged care facilities, unless an exemption applies. This gives effect to the recommendations of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), endorsed by National Cabinet.

The directions are continuing to be updated in response to the COVID-19 situation. Approved providers should continue to stay up to date with the directions and their legislative responsibilities in relation to state and territory public health orders and contact the relevant state or territory health department as needed. Further information for residential aged care providers and individuals to explain how the directions apply is available on state and territory government health department websites.

The AHPPC continues to strongly recommend all visitors and staff of residential aged care are vaccinated against influenza to protect the health and safety of residents.

 

Safer Care Victoria webinar information – Keeping the focus on healthcare worker wellbeing

(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, please join Safer Care Victoria for their next webinar about protecting and promoting healthcare worker wellbeing on Friday 18 December 2020 at 10:30 – 11:30am.

Safer Care Victoria will be looking forward as Australia settles in to our new normal and asking how do we create lasting change to make sure we look after the health and wellbeing of our healthcare workers?

The panel of healthcare workers, leaders and experts will share:

  • lessons learned during coronavirus (COVID-19) about healthcare worker wellbeing, and how we can prepare for future surges
  • ways to help staff restore, replenish and recover
  • resources and materials available to enable lasting change in worker wellbeing.

The webinar is aimed at Victorian clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers, managers and leaders working in health services, community health, primary and aged care. Places are limited to 500.

For further information and to register visit the Safer Care Victoria website.

 

Updated NSW advice to Residential and Home Care 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, New South Wales issued updated advice on 4 December 2020 for Residential Aged Care Facilities and Home Care service providers.

Residential aged care facilities are encouraged to plan safe ways for residents and families to meet up during the festive season. All residential aged care facilities in NSW should support visits for residents, unless the facility is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak or where visitors are in a category that require restriction of access, including where they are unwell or have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

 

Other News

Medication goes unchecked in aged care: research

According to Aged Care Insite, new research shows that only one in five Australians receive a government-funded medication review after entering an aged care facility. Lead researcher Dr Janet Sluggett, from the University of South Australia, said the findings point to potential dangers for aged care residents and she believes medication management demands greater attention. “Residents are taking an average of 10 different medicines each day and this often includes medicines that need close monitoring such as antipsychotics, opioids, insulin and blood thinners,” Sluggett said.

 

Govt rejects financial transparency bill

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the Federal Government does not support the private member’s bill calling for aged care providers to disclose how they spend government funds because its usefulness is unclear and it pre-empts the royal commission’s final report, the Senate has heard. The Senate considered the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Financial Transparency) Bill 2020, which was introduced by South Australian Centre Alliance Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie in October, last Monday. The bill, if adopted would require residential aged care providers to disclose their income, spending on food, medication, staff, training, accommodation and administration and how much they pay their parent bodies for public reporting. Liberal senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said the Federal Government would not support the bill.

 

Report calls for $1 billion ‘rescue fund’ to lift quality

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, it will cost the Federal Government an additional $7 billion a year to revamp the aged care system to ensure all older Australians receive the support they need to remain active, independent and engaged, according to a new report. Independent think tank the Grattan Institute has proposed Australia move to a new rights-based model of aged care because the current approach “is a mess and is not fit for purpose.”

 

New research finds Baby Boomers are set to change the face of aged care – and they want a continuum of care

According to the Donaldson Sisters, Australia’s 5.2 million Baby Boomers want more funding for aged care are set to radically change the face of the aged care system forever, with demands for more funding, greater services in their own homes, and more interesting activities in communal facilities, according to new research by Not For Profit aged care and retirement living provider RSL LifeCare.

 

New fact sheets – explaining aged care fees to care recipients

(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 the responsibility of approved providers to help care recipients understand the fees they will be asked to pay when they enter care. To support providers to meet this responsibility, the department has developed three new fact sheets about aged care fees:

Understanding fees for aged care homes

Understanding fees for residential respite care

Understanding fees for home care

We recommend providers give a copy of the relevant fact sheet to new care recipients and their families when discussing fees.

 

Aged care diversity framework and action plans

(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 reminder that the Aged Care Diversity Framework and action plans are available to help providers deliver safe, inclusive and respectful care for people with diverse needs, characteristics and life experiences.

The action plans can help aged care service providers and older people address barriers faced by older:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, and intersex (LGBTI) people.

The shared action plan for providers and the government action plan set out actions to support all diverse older people.

 

Aged Care Centre for Growth and Translational Research (CGTR) – online consultation

(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 project team from Flinders University has been selected to develop a model for the future Aged Care Centre for Growth and Translational Research (CGTR), scheduled to open in 2021.

The aged care sector is encouraged to register to participate in two survey rounds to have the opportunity to identify what they would value most from the future CGTR. Please note that the first of the two surveys will be closing soon on 14 December.

Flinders University wants to hear from:

  • consumers
  • family and friends of consumers
  • aged care providers
  • education providers
  • professional bodies
  • advocacy organisations.

You can view a short video to learn more about this future centre, and how you can provide your own ideas and input into its design.

For more information about the centre and this consultation process, email ACCGTR@flinders.edu.au or call (08) 7221 8746.

 

Claim for payment advice from Services Australia

(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:

Claims

All aged care providers should submit their online and paper claims to Services Australia as soon as possible to ensure prompt processing.

If claim forms have missing or incorrect details, Services Australia will return them for corrections, delaying processing. Reduce delays by confirming details before submitting your claim for payment.

Advance payments for December 2020 and January 2021

Services Australia will issue advance payments for residential care and home care services on these dates:

December 2020 advance was calculated on 30 November for payment from 2 December 2020

January 2021 advance will be calculated on 18 December for payment from 22 December 2020

Note: Delays of one to three days may occur as funds move between financial institutions.

Submit your November 2020 claim to Services Australia as soon as possible to allow for processing time for the January 2021 advance payment.

 

Independent review recommends overhaul of retirement income system

According to Aged Care Guide, an independent Retirement Income Review has suggested the entire system needs to be overhauled, a call that is supported by industry and consumer peak bodies. This Review was undertaken over ten months, looking into the three pillars of Australia's retirement system - the age pension, compulsory superannuation and voluntary savings. It found that the retirement income system works well, however, there is a lot of room for improvement. Additionally, the report doesn't make any recommendations, only observations.

 

Legislation

Aged Care Amendment (Aged Care Recipient Classification) Bill 2020 (Cth) – passed 10 December 2020

The Aged Care Amendment (Aged Care Recipient Classification) Bill 2020 amends the Aged Care Act 1997 to introduce an additional, discretionary procedure for classification of recipients of residential aged care and some kinds of flexible care.

The amendments will allow for the introduction of a new classification system focused on independently determining the care needs of older Australians accessing residential aged care and some types of flexible care.

 

Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2020 (2020) (SA) – introduced to House and Senate 2 December 2020

A Bill for an Act to provide for and regulate access to voluntary assisted dying, to establish the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board, to make related amendments to other Acts, and for other purposes.

 

Resources and Upcoming Events

Effective Management of Subcontractors in Home Care: 15th December 2020 1pm - 4:30pm AEDT

According to Australian Ageing Agenda: Join Lucille Scomazzon, Partner and Sector Leader, Healthcare from the Maddocks Legal team, as well as industry experts Lorraine Poulos and Jeremy McAuliffe at our on-line event.

 

Assessing the Standards – new workshops 

According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, the Commission has scheduled a new round of our “Assessing the Standards” online workshops, running throughout October. Through active participation in this online workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the principles that inform the Commission's approach to performance assessment
  • Understand and describe how they and other staff contribute to the achievement of quality outcomes for consumers
  • Use the self-assessment tool to gather and analyse information to evidence performance against the Quality Standards and/or identify opportunities for improvement
  • Contribute effectively to their organisation’s continuous improvement systems

Visit our website to find out more about the workshops and to register.

 

Webinar series: Changes to regulatory arrangements for residential aged care providers supporting NDIS participants from 1 December 2020

According to the Department of Health, Residential Aged Care (RAC) providers supporting National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants will need to be registered* with the NDIS Commission from 1 December 2020. This also applies to RAC providers who start supporting NDIS participants after 1 December 2020. *Note that registration will be automatic for RAC providers with NDIS participants as at 1 December 2020.

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) is currently delivering a series of webinars to help RAC providers with the transition and to understand their responsibilities.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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