Four Practical Things Aged Care Providers Can Do Right Now in Response to the Royal Commission’s Interim Report

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you would have heard something about the Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. And it probably wasn’t good news.

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Weekly Wrap: October 13, 2019

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Weekly Wrap: October 13, 2019

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 13 October 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.


Over half of Australian residents in ‘understaffed’ homes: royal commission report

According to Aged Care Insite, a new report released by the aged care royal commission has found that, in comparison with the American system, 57.6 per cent of all Australian aged care residents live in homes that are understaffed. The research paper, written by the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong, looked into the staffing levels of the Australian sector compared with international standards. Researchers looked at the staffing benchmarks in the United States, British Columbia in Canada, Germany, and Victoria and Queensland. Our staffing lags behind Germany and Canada in a number of areas. The report shows that although 93 per cent of Australian residents receive the German requirement of at least 112 minutes of care per resident day, only 7 per cent of residents receive the required 56 minutes of care per day from qualified nursing staff.

Slew of aged care workers plan to leave the sector: survey

According to Aged Care Insite, attrition is a key player in the aged care sector’s future workforce woes and a new survey has shown why. The survey of 5,000 workers revealed more than two-thirds (38 per cent) plan to leave the aged care sector within five years. Australian Community Research (ACR) director Karen Luscombe said workers are getting less job satisfaction. “They want to deliver quality care but can only deliver basic levels of care when they are so hard pressed,” Luscombe said. “It’s leading to the concerning situation of worker burnout with experienced staff planning to leave the sector.”

Religious discrimination bills raise concerns for aged care

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the proposed religious discrimination legislation could have a significant impact on how aged care providers conduct their business and manage their staff if passed, a legal expert tells Australian Ageing Agenda. The religious discrimination bills propose to make it illegal to discriminate both directly and indirectly on the basis of having a religious belief or not having a religious belief in certain categories of public life, said Hall & Wilcox partner Alison Choy Flannigan. “The most relevant categories for aged care providers will be the employment of people, the provision of good and services and accommodation for the aged population,” Ms Choy Flannigan told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Aged care royal commission chair Richard Tracey dies

According to Aged Care Insite, Aged care royal commission chair Richard Tracey has died aged 71. In a statement, the commission said that Tracey died on Friday 11 October after a short illness. Tracey died in California where he was receiving treatment for cancer diagnosed seven weeks earlier. Commissioner Lynelle Briggs described Tracey’s death as a “complete shock” and paid tribute to a “wise” man.

Royal commission ‘not a one way process’

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, aged care providers should use the royal commission as a platform to advocate for what they need to deliver quality care and to learn how to best do it, a national aged care conference has heard. And they don’t need to wait until the commissioners provide their reports and recommendations, YMCA NSW chief operating officer Lisa Giacomelli told the Aged & Community Services Australia National Summit in Melbourne on Tuesday. She said royal commissions were opportunities for advocacy, and particularly collective advocacy, speaking in partnership with vulnerable people and bringing purpose and care to the forefront.

Colbeck calls for sector to positively promote aged care work

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, providers need to showcase that aged care has “strong” career paths and is a positive industry to work in to attract and retain staff, the sector’s minister tells an industry conference. Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck told the Aged and Community Services National Summit 2019 in Melbourne on Tuesday that the aged care sector was facing a huge task with its workforce. “We have in the sector an exceptional workforce already who cares and who predominantly is concerned to ensure that people that they are interacting with are getting the care that they need. But unfortunately at the moment… the royal commission and some of the stories that are being run through the media as a result of that make it very difficult to attract people to the sector,” Mr Colbeck told the conference. He said it was unfortunate because there were positive and fulfilling aged care careers.

Walking, water aerobics not enough for bone health

According to Community Care Review, gentle exercise like walking and water aerobics is not enough for seniors, who should use weights to maintain bone and muscle health and avoid potential fractures and falls, says a Deakin University study. Community exercise programs could be key to improving the health of Australia’s ageing population, with around 75 to 95 per cent of those over 50 not doing enough physical activity to strengthen their muscles and bones, which start to deteriorate in the late forties. Good active exercise to target bone health includes dancing, stepping, jogging, stair climbing, skipping and tennis. Also key is progressive weight-bearing exercise that targets the muscles around the hip and spine, with rapid, short sessions twice a week more effective than one long session.

Home care workers reluctant to report risk

According to Community Care Review, in-home carers often form a unique bond with clients and this can make them reluctant to report workplace health and safety risks, a conference has heard. Unlike residential care, the in-home carer provides services in the client’s own home, which presents a unique set of requirements and challenges. “There’s a certain way a client does things, and this has lots of implications for in-home carers,” Aideen Gallagher, co-founder of OHS consultancy Risk Managed, told the ACSA summit on Tuesday. Risk occurs when a carer steps in to fill a client’s loss of ability, she told delegates in Melbourne. The carer is reluctant to say no, and like a frog in boiling water, they often don’t realise the risk until too late. “The biggest predictor of risk is a caregiver filling the gap for loss of client function,” Ms Gallagher said. “That’s where the injuries are happening – when a care giver tips over the edge by unnecessary moving and handling.”

New model as self-managed care plummets

According to Community Care Review, a new self-management model is available to home care providers following a dramatic fall in the percentage of service outlets offering self-management for clients. The model, developed the older person’s advocacy organisation COTA, is based on several principles including information and support, capacity building and the use of a debit card to spend allocated funds.

Melbourne Hearing 3 – aged care workforce

According to an Aged Care Royal Commission media release, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Melbourne Hearing 3 will next week examine aged care workforce planning, the link between quality of care and staff numbers, education and training, pay, working conditions and career paths, the possible role of workforce registration, and innovation and technology.

Legislation

Nothing in the news this week.

Resources and Upcoming Conferences

GP Guide to Clinical Care of Older People

According to Aged Care Insite, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has released its fifth edition of the Silver Book, a guide for GPs dealing with the clinical care of older people.

New spiritual guide for community providers

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the latest resource from Meaningful Ageing Australia provides information for community aged care providers on how to introduce a spiritual care program for their clients. The guidebook, titled The Space Between: Implementing spiritual care in community aged care, is based on an award-winning program run by Catholic Healthcare over the past decade.

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.

Uploading Data Collection Template: Quick Reference Guide for CHSP providers

The My Aged Care Provider Portal will open from 22 July until 11.59pm AEST 23 October 2019 for Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) providers to upload the grandfathered client data collection template. The Department of Health has released a Quick Reference Guide that explains how to upload the data collection template into the My Aged Care Provider Portal and select the services each client receives.

Standard 8 Organisational Governance Masterclass – various locations across NSW, ACT and QLD in September and October 2019

Australian Ageing Agenda invites you to join your fellow directors, chief executive officers, executives & mangers to enhance your understanding of the Consumer Outcome, Organisation Statement and Requirements of Standard 8 and the practical steps and activities you should take.

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.

In Conversation with Professor Mary Marshall – Perth 22 October 2019; Sydney 31 October 2019

The Dementia Centre is hosting “In Conversation with Professor Mary Marshall”. Mary Marshall, Emeritus Professor, OBE, is an international leader in the design of environments for people living with dementia, and social care. Topics covered:

  • Mary Marshall's interest and career in dementia, where this started
  • why design was so important in her work
  • what has changed since she began in dementia design and social care
  • what needs to change
  • a Q & A with the audience opportunity.

LASA National Congress – 27-29 October 2019, Adelaide

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the LASA National Congress will offer global perspectives, best-practice keynotes, and interactive, thought-provoking discussions, designed to empower our industry to actively embrace future opportunities and become the change we want to see. This year’s theme is: Better Ageing Futures for All Australians.

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.

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.

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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