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Weekly Wrap 15 October 2021

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Aged care news highlights from the week ending 15 October 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

 

Rapid antigen test kits available through the National Medical Stockpile for providers in high risk Victorian Local Government Areas

The Department of Health is offering rapid antigen test kits and training to aged care providers across Victoria and New South Wales in high risk Local Government Areas (LGAs).

Rapid antigen testing is proving highly successful in screening staff and visitors for COVID-19 with results in 15 minutes. Screening staff and visitors before entering an aged care environment, such as a residential aged care facility, minimises the risk of an outbreak.

The Australian Government encourages all eligible aged care providers in high risk Victorian LGAs to implement rapid antigen test screening as an additional layer of protection for senior Australians who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, and as a tool to ultimately protect your residents and workers.

Importantly, the use of rapid antigen testing will complement, and will not replace, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Any positive rapid antigen test result will require staff to isolate and for the test to be confirmed by a follow-up PCR test in a laboratory.

Who is eligible for a rapid antigen test kit?

All aged care providers and workers in high risk areas. This includes residential aged care (including MPS and NATSIFAC), home care, services delivered through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and Short Term Restorative Care (STRC) who operate or have staff who live or work in a high-risk LGA.

As of 13 October, identified high-risk LGAs in Victoria include:

  • Greater Melbourne: Brimbank, Casey, and Cardinia, Darebin, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Port Phillip, Whittlesea, and Wyndham.
  • Greater Victoria: Mitchell Shire, Mildura.

How to order

Eligible providers can order online via the Rapid Antigen Testing Order Form.

How do the rapid antigen test kits work?

After ordering kits, the providers will receive information, training and support to implement rapid antigen testing. Testing needs to be administered or supervised by a registered health practitioner (onsite or remotely), however, a training provider will ensure they are able to competently administer the test and advise on appropriate protocols for screening.

More information is available on the Department of Heath website.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) also sets out regulations that apply to rapid antigen test kits, conditions of supply and frequently asked questions on the supply of rapid antigen tests.

 

 

 

Other News

 

Minister foreshadows big changes to aged care training

According to Community Care Review, workforce Minister Stuart Robert has foreshadowed significant changes to the way people are trained to work in aged care as the sector stares down the barrel of a looming workforce shortage. CEDA’s Duty of Care report released in August identified a potential shortage of 110,000 aged care workers by 2030. National Skills Commission data also shows that a quarter of a million extra workers will be needed for the care sector by 2025, with aged care one of the fastest growing segments of the market.

 

New Workforce Advisory Service

According to the Department of Health, from 11 October 2021, residential aged care and home care service providers can apply for a free, independent and confidential workforce advisory service. This service supports providers to develop workforce training and skills plans. The service also provides strategies to help providers attract, retain and grow the skills of workers. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will deliver the independent advisory services with services available until 30 June 2023. Service providers can apply to access the workforce advisory service on the PwC website.

 

National Cabinet approves reduced visitor restrictions plan for aged care homes

According to Aged Care Guide, residents in aged care facilities will be able to get together with their loved ones again after National Cabinet agreed on a plan to remove visitation barriers across the sector, which will reduce social isolation issues in nursing home settings. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has outlined principles that would allow for the removal of visitation restrictions in aged care facilities.

 

Aged Care Registered Nurses’ Payment to reward clinical skills and leadership

According to the Department of Health, the Australian Government recognises the critical role of registered nurses (RNs) in the delivery of high quality aged care.

The Aged Care Registered Nurses’ Payment will be available from 2022 to RNs who have worked for the same employer for the periods:

  • 1 November 2021 – 31 October 2022
  • 1 November 2022 – 31 October 2023

Full time RNs will be eligible to receive $3,700 and payments for part-time/casual RNs will be determined on a pro-rata basis. A supplementary payment will be available to RNs meeting extra criteria, for example, nurses working in regional and remote areas.

The payment will be delivered through a non-competitive grant process, with providers responsible for applying on behalf of their employed RNs. Applications will open in November 2022. Providers are encouraged to incorporate information about this payment into recruitment strategies over the next two years.

For more information visit the department’s website.

 

Request for tender to develop direct care staff development program

According to the Department of Health, the Skills Development Program for Aged Care Staff is part of the Enhancing Nursing Skills and Leadership Capability in Aged Care 2020–21 Budget measure. The program provides direct care staff with training to ensure they have up-to-date skills to deliver quality care.

The department has approached the market to engage a supplier to develop the program. This involves developing and implementing the online training packages.

The Request for Tender closes on 1 November 2021. You can find more information on the AusTender website.

 

Reminder! First Food and Nutrition Report due 21 October

According to the Department of Health, this is a reminder to residential aged care services and Multi-Purpose Services, to complete your Food and Nutrition Report by 21 October at 11:59pm AEDT.

If you signed an undertaking with the Department of Health to receive the 2021 Basic Daily Fee supplement you must complete the Food and Nutrition Report each quarter.

Please note that supplement payments will cease if reports are not submitted on time. Back-payments will not be provided.

You can find the Food and Nutrition Report form on the My Aged Care Provider Portal and download a copy of the explanatory notes to help you complete your report.

You will need administrator access to see the portal and the form. Request administrator access from your organisation’s My Aged Care service provider portal administrator. Refer to section 1.6 of the My Aged Care – Provider Portal User Guide

For enquiries about the My Aged Care portal, please email myagedcare@health.gov.au or call 1800 836 799. If you have any questions or require assistance with the Food and Nutrition report, please email BDFS@stewartbrown.com.au

 

National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program data due 21 October

According to the Department of Health, data for the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) for this quarter is due by 21 October 2021. This is the first quarter using the five new quality indicators.

You may notice improvements when submitting your data through the My Aged Care Provider Portal. Please ensure you:

  • complete all fields and check your data before submission
  • do not include any personal information such as names or initials of care recipients
  • reach a submittedstatus to complete data entry.

For more information and support, you can call the My Aged Care Provider and Assessor Helpline on 1800 836 799 or visit the department’s website.

 

What we’ve heard about Quality Standards

According to the Department of Health, the Engagement Hub has a new blog, What we’ve heard – where we will share what we’re hearing from you about the aged care reforms. The latest post outlines the insights gained from the Aged Care Quality Standards evaluation undertaken in August. Stay tuned and keep checking the blog for more posts on what you’ve told us. You can also sign up to our engagement database to receive updates on future engagement activities.

 

Record support for NSW voluntary assisted dying bill to enter parliament this week

According to Aged Care Insite, legislation that would give terminally ill people in NSW the right to end their own lives on their terms will be formally introduced to the state’s parliament on Thursday. Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, who is leading the push for reform, on Tuesday presented parliament with a petition signed by 100,000 supporters of the voluntary assisted dying laws he is proposing.

 

Self-reporting in BDF raises accuracy concerns

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, provider reporting requirements to receive the $10 boost to the residential aged care subsidy are a welcome start but self-reporting raises concerns over the accuracy of information, an accredited practising dietitian tells Australian Ageing Agenda. The 2021 Basic Daily Fee Supplement is a $3 billion initiative within the Federal Government’s $17.7 billion aged care budget package to boost the subsidy for daily living services, as recommended in the aged care royal commission’s final report.

 

 

Legislation

 

No significant developments this week.

 

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