COVID-19 and Aged Care: Some Previous Articles That Providers May Find Helpful

Since the COVID-19 pandemic commenced, Aged Care Essentials has provided articles to assist aged care providers in continuing to do what they do best - caring for residents. Below you'll find some of our most read articles of the last year.

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Weekly Wrap 15 June 2021

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Weekly Wrap 15 June 2021

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 15 June 2021, aggregated by CompliSpace.

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.


Coronavirus/COVID-19 News

 

New reporting requirements on aged care workforce COVID-19 vaccination – updated information

(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:

Instructions on how to access the new online reporting tool

The Australian Government announced the introduction of a new reporting tool for all approved providers of residential, in-home and community aged care services to report on the COVID-19 vaccination status of their aged care workforce.

The reporting becomes a formal requirement for residential aged care providers starting on 15 June 2021 and it will become a formal requirement for in home and community aged care providers in the coming weeks. All providers are strongly encouraged to start reporting now.

To access the new reporting tool on the My Aged Care Provider Portal, providers are advised to refer to the updated My Aged Care Provider Portal User Guide: Part 1 Administrative Functions which are available on the health.gov.au website. Section 2.6 (page 84) provides the steps to report on workforce COVID-19 vaccination status.

 

National cabinet agrees to mandatory vaccines for aged care workers

According to Aged Care Insite, the Covid-19 jab could become mandatory for aged care workers after the federal and state governments agreed to the measure. Demands for mandatory vaccines have risen in recent days after Victoria’s Covid-19 outbreak passed between staff and residents at Melbourne’s Arcare facility. Speaking after a national cabinet meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed the nation’s leaders had paved the way for the measure. “I was very firmly of the view, and supported strongly by states and territories, that we need to look at how we can do this safely,” Mr Morrison said.

 

Mandatory vaccination proposal splits aged care

According to Inside Ageing, aged care industry representatives are split over a proposal to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for workers, with some operators concerned additional demands would reduce goodwill, increase “rebellion” and entrench worker shortages.

 

WA to mandate aged care workers are vaccinated against COVID-19

According to Inside Ageing, as reported by the Australian Financial Review, the McGowan government has pledged to mandate that aged care workers are to be vaccinated.

 

Government grilled over poor aged care workforce vaccination numbers

According to Aged Care Guide, the Federal Government was taken to task over their conflicting information around the number of aged care staff that have been vaccinated so far against COVID-19 at Tuesday's Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee.

 

Reminder: Single site arrangements for COVID-19 impacted areas of Greater Melbourne remain in place until 24 June 2021

(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, to continue to minimise the potential risk of workers unintentionally transmitting COVID-19 by working across multiple sites, aged care workers in residential aged care facilities in the Greater Melbourne area are reminded to limit their work to one site until 24 June 2021.

Australian Government Grant funding remains available to support providers with out of pocket costs associated with implementing single site arrangements in Greater Melbourne for the four week period from 27 May 2021 to 24 June 2021. The Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) grant opportunity remains open until 31 December 2021 for providers wishing to make a claim for the current period.

These arrangements may be further extended on the advice of the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer and in line with the de-escalation criteria set out in the National COVID-19 Aged Care Plan, including an assessment of the risk to vulnerable populations such as those in aged care.

In addition to funding support, providers can also access guidance on practical implementation of single site arrangements, including employee relations expertise, through the Guiding Principles Support Hub website or hotline on 1800 491 793.

 

Updated advice for NSW 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, the screening advice for Residential Aged Care Providers and Home Care Providers has been updated on 9 June 2021.

Key update states that staff and visitors must not enter a RACF and be excluded from work from home care service providers if in the last 14 days they have been in:

This information can change rapidly so please check the NSW Health at least daily for updates.

 

QLD Health - Updated advice

(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, the list of exposure sites has been updated since yesterday. Affected sites to date are located on the Sunshine Coast, Goondiwindi, and Toowoomba.

Sunshine Coast has extended testing site hours at the Caloundra Specialist Ambulatory Care drive -through clinic from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday. This is not the only option for testing – for a full list of testing clinics please visit the website.

Anyone who has been to an exposure site cannot visit a hospital, aged care facility or disability accommodation – even if they return a negative result – for 14 days since they attended the exposure site.

Reminder for Queenslanders:

Please consult the contact tracing website regularly for the latest list of exposure sites.

If you have also been to New South Wales since 1 June please regularly check their website or Facebook page for any exposure sites (note: contact tracing is still underway).

If you have been to any of the exposure sites, regardless of whether you have any symptoms, you must get tested immediately and remain at home until you return a negative result. Additional testing facilities will be available on the Sunshine Coast.

Anyone in Queensland who has any symptoms – however mild – is asked to get tested and remain at home until they receive a negative result.

 

Other News

 

Strengthened restrictive practice requirements for residential aged care facilities

(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, from 1 July 2021, aged care providers must comply with strengthened legislative obligations for the use of restrictive practices.

The Aged Care and Other Legislative Amendment (Royal Commission Response No.1) Bill 2021 was introduced into Parliament on 27 May 2021, and makes changes to current aged care legislation.

The Quality of Care Principles 2014 have also been revised and outline the detail of the amended requirements relating to the use of restrictive practices, including the limited circumstances where a restrictive practice can be used.

An exposure draft of the proposed amendments to the principles is available to assist aged care providers to prepare to meet their enhanced responsibilities.

The amended principles are a result of the Independent review of legislative provisions governing the use of restraint in residential aged care and consultations with key stakeholders across the aged care sector and clinical experts on the use of restrictive practices.

The revised legislation:

  • emphasises individualised care and reinforces the rights of aged care recipients
  • strengthens and clarifies the definitions of restrictive practices
  • clarifies consent requirements to ensure providers understand their obligations, and
  • ensures restrictive practices are only used as a last resort to prevent harm after best practice behaviour supports and plans have been considered and applied.

For more information visit the department’s website.

Should you have any questions or concerns with the legislative amendments please email qualityagedcare@health.gov.au.

 

First SIRS insight report released, half of providers record serious incidents

According to Aged Care Insite, the first set of data from the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) has been released, with just under half of all providers reporting serious incidents. Under the new scheme, which came into force in April, residential providers have been required to report serious priority 1 incidents to the Commission within 24 hours of becoming aware of the incident. During the period 1 April to 12 May 2021, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission received 4,496 notifications from residential aged care providers. 1,876 (42 per cent ) were considered by the Commission to meet the criteria for a Priority 1 reportable incident. Of the priority 1 incidents the most common fell under the category "unreasonable use of force", with 778 such incidents reported.

 

Govt says home care needs ‘overestimated’

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the government says it has over-estimated by 5,000 the number of lower level home care packages it needs to roll out over the next two years. Aged care services Minister Richard Colbeck told a senate estimates committee last week that the 80,000 packages promised in the federal budget will begin rolling out from July 1 at the rate of 40,000 a year. Assistant health secretary Chamandeep Chehl said between this year and 2023 there will be 12,000 level 4 packages, 37,000 level 3, and 36,000 level 2 packages. There will be a total of around 16,450 level 1 packages – 5,000 fewer than previously projected.

 

Aged care reform webinars starting 21 June – register now!

(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, the department is holding a series of webinars to share information about the aged care reforms announced in the 2021‑22 Budget and in response to the Aged Care Royal Commission.

These webinars are an opportunity for anyone using or needing aged care, working in aged care or interested in improving aged care in Australia, to learn more about the reforms.

Webinars will include presentations from the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, and Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services. There will also be presentations and panel discussions by senior officials from the department.

Webinars will be held online. You’ll have the opportunity to tell the department how we can work together with the aged care sector and the community to implement the reforms.

Find out more and register for the Aged Care Reform Webinar Series on the department’s website.

 

Diversity and inclusion initiatives in June and July 2021

(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, the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing will be hosting the following diversity and inclusion initiatives in June and July:

Cultural Diversity in Ageing Virtual Conference: Care to Communicate Hearing the Voices of Older People, 17 June, 12-5pm AEST. This conference will showcase a line-up of speakers who are working to improve the ways in which aged care services can garner the voices of older people to shape a more equitable aged care system, now and into the future. For more information visit the Cultural Diversity website.

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Cultural Diversity in Ageing Excellence Awards. These awards recognise and showcase initiatives that promote excellence in the provision of culturally inclusive aged care services across Australia. Nominations close on Sunday 20 June. For more information visit the Cultural Diversity website.

Diversity Training Series – upcoming free monthly webinars facilitated by diversity experts from across Australia. To register your interest or view past recordings visit the Cultural Diversity website.

Ensuring the workforce has sufficient knowledge, skills and is respectful of culture and diversity contributes to Standard 7 of the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Seeking out, developing and using tools, training and information that support delivery of care that is inclusive of diverse characteristics and life experiences is also a recommended action in Outcome 5 of the Actions to support older Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people – a guide for aged care providers.

 

QI Program poster now available!

(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, the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) poster is now available to download, print and display!

From 1 July 2021, the QI Program requires approved residential aged care providers to report on new quality indicators across five crucial clinical areas.

QI Program data must be reported quarterly and according to the requirements in the QI Program Manual 2.0 – Part A.

A range of QI Program resources, including the poster, is available on the department’s website.

 

Legislation

 

Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Service Staff Vaccination Recording and Reporting) Principles 2021 [CTH] – commenced 6 June 2021

The instrument amends the Accountability Principles 2014 and Records Principles 2014 to establish requirements for certain residential aged care providers to record and report numbers of service staff vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza.

 

Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2020 (No. 90 of 2020) [SA] – passed 9 June 2021

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.

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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