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Weekly Wrap: 19 January 2021

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Weekly Wrap: 19 January 2021

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 19 January 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

Funding Support for Single Site Arrangements is ending

(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, based on current case numbers in the community and within aged care residents and staff in these areas, single site workforce arrangements in hotspots and high risk locations can begin to cease. The Australian Government would like to thank the residential aged care sector for its hard work and collaboration in moving to these arrangements.

Australian Government funding support under the Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 Grant (SACWIC) is available to support providers who have implemented single site arrangements during the relevant grant period.

Providers should commence transition out activities so that normal working arrangements can recommence from the dates set out below. After these dates, eligible providers can submit applications for the SACWIC grant. This will remain open until 30 June 2021.

If you are experiencing financial challenges, you may be able to apply before the end of the activity period. We encourage you to contact the Department of Health to discuss your application.

State Local Government Area/Suburb SACWIC Grant Activity Period
New South Wales Northern Beaches LGA 18 December 2020 – 29 January 2021
Victoria Brighton 31 December 2020 – 29 January 2021
Doveton
Glen Waverley
McKinnon
Mordialloc
Moorabbin
Queensland City of Brisbane 8 January 2021 – 22 January 2021
City of Ipswich
Logan City
Moreton Bay Region
Redland City

 

Public Sector facilities in Victoria are continuing single site arrangements until February 2021, as funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, Queensland Government Aged Care Direction No.20 remains in place which recommends Aged Care Facilities limit the mobility of their workers.

Providers are also encouraged to take steps to understand your workforce by developing a register for recording each workers mobility and their skills and training. Further advice on how to prepare for and implement a single site workforce arrangement can be found in the National COVID-19 Aged Care Plan. This guidance will support providers to prepare in the event single site arrangements are required again in the future.

The Support Hub, assisted by ACSA and LASA, is available to support aged care providers and workers with transition out activities. You can visit The Guiding Principles Support Hub or seek assistance by phoning 1800 491 793 (free call).

Workers and managers can also obtain free counselling support by phoning 1300 687 327 or visiting Converge International to book an appointment. Converge International will deliver up to five free counselling sessions per person, per issue. Services include employee and manager support, career guidance, financial counselling and family support. Make sure you state that you are from the "Dept of Health - Aged Care Workforce" when booking.

 

Australian Government support for single site working arrangements 

(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, Australian Government funding is available to support providers with the out of pocket costs of implementing single site workforce arrangements in a number of hotspot and high risk locations across the country.

Funding support under the Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) grant is available for residential aged care providers who choose to implement single site working arrangements between 8 January and 22 January 2021, in the following Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Greater Brisbane:

  • City of Brisbane
  • City of Ipswich
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Redland City.

Funding support is also available for providers who have been implementing a single site working arrangement from 31 December 2020 in the following high risk suburbs in Victoria:

  • Brighton
  • Doveton
  • Glen Waverley
  • McKinnon
  • Mordialloc

Finally, funding support is also available for providers in the Northern Beaches LGA in New South Wales who have been implementing single site working arrangements from 18 December 2020. In these locations, SACWIC will remain open for providers to submit their applications until 30 June 2021. Providers can submit an application for out of pocket expenses after 22 January 2021 but can apply earlier if a provider is experiencing significant financial strain.

The Department is monitoring local cases and, based on the advice from the Chief Medical Officer, will advise when providers can return to ordinary working arrangements.

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 NSW directions for aged care providers and visitors

(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, NSW Health has updated its advice for Residential Aged Care Facilities and Home Care Service providers as at 8 January 2021.

This advice extends directions to aged care providers to exclude visitors who have been in the following LGAs of Queensland since 2 January 2021: City of Brisbane, Logan City, City of Ipswich, Moreton Bay Region, Redland City, Lockyer Valley Region, Scenic Rim Region or Somerset Region.

Staff who have been to those identified Queensland LGAs since 2 January 2021 and are essential for maintaining the service should have a risk assessment performed in consultation with the local public health unit.

Aged care providers are urged to regularly visit the NSW COVID-19 website on areas of active community transmission.

 

Updated Queensland directions for aged care providers and visitors

(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, Queensland Health has issued Aged Care Direction no. 20 which came into effect at 11 am on 14 January 2021.

This update specifies that people who have been in Victoria on or after 21 December 2020 may now visit a residential aged care facility. Employees, contractors and other persons necessary for the operation of the facility no longer need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before entry.

All visitors must not have any COVID-19 symptoms and comply with all other restrictions of the facility. The advice for people who have been in Greater Brisbane on or after 2 January 2021 remains, in that unless 14 days have passed since the person left Greater Brisbane, they are restricted from entering a residential aged care facility in Queensland. Greater Brisbane includes:

Despite these restrictions, you may enter a residential aged care facility if you wear a single use surgical face mask and the appropriate PPE and are:

  • an employee, contractor, or student of the facility
  • providing goods or services necessary for the facility’s operation
  • providing health, medical, personal care or pharmaceutical or pathology services to a resident
  • required for emergency management, law enforcement or to comply with a power or function of a government agency or entity
  • a prospective resident or a support person of a prospective resident
  • maintaining continuity of care for a resident that can’t be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the facility’s operator
  • attending for an end of life visit and have been granted an exemption.

Anyone providing medical care (including staff, volunteers or family members) must wear appropriate PPE as outlined in Queensland Health’s Residential Aged Care facility and Disability Accommodation PPE Guidance. Visitors are restricted to residential aged care facilities within the current restricted Local Government Areas within the Metro North, Metro South and West Moreton Hospital and Health Service regions.

 

Reminder on IPC lead training requirements

(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 a part of the second COVID-19 supplement, residential aged care providers are required to put in place an infection prevention and control (IPC) lead.

Nominated IPC leads should now be undertaking specialist IPC training (if not previously completed) in order to complete this by 28 February 2021. Providers are encouraged to support their nominated IPC lead to meet this deadline.

Residential aged care providers were required to report their IPC leads to the Department in December 2020 through the My Aged Care Provider Portal. Providers can continue to update this information in the portal to reflect any changes to nominated leads and/or progression through the training. The Department will be contacting providers who have yet to report or misreported shortly.

 

Stay up to date with COVID-19 exposure locations and alerts

(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, all approved aged care providers are urged to continue to monitor and remain up to date with the list of COVID-19 exposure sites across jurisdictions. State and territory health authorities continue to update these lists as new information becomes available. We encourage providers to ensure staff are also familiar with these lists.

 

Information about asymptomatic testing in metropolitan Melbourne RACFs

(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 you will be aware, asymptomatic testing for residential aged care facilities (RACFs) located in the Melbourne metropolitan area is still required on a fortnightly basis, under the Victorian Public Health Direction.

To support broader uptake of the asymptomatic testing by staff in RACFs, the process of fortnightly testing has changed. The Australian Government has contracted Sonic Healthcare (Melbourne Pathology) to undertake testing across Melbourne. Over the course of a month, Sonic will attend in-person on one occasion. The second round of testing will be undertaken by RACFs themselves. To complete this second test within the month, RACFs should:

Ordering, testing and collection instructions – metro Melbourne
Please see the guide for ordering swabs, undertaking the test and how swabs can be collected. If you have any questions, please contact:

You can also contact Sonic on the Sonic Aged Care Facility COVID-19 Hotline 1800 570 573, 8am-6pm.

Victorian regional RACFs
There is no change to asymptomatic testing for RACFs located in regional Victoria. Testing will continue on a monthly basis by Sonic. Note: private RACFs will follow the asymptomatic testing process outlined, public RACFs will follow the process provided by the Victorian Government.

 

ACN launches aged-care CPD series to upskill nurses

According to Hospital and Healthcare, to support nurses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) has launched an aged-care continual professional development (CPD) series. The series will allow nurses involved in the aged-care sector to update their knowledge and skills by reflecting on their practice and ensuring best practice — highlighting the role nurses play in clinical governance in the aged-care sector by ensuring their practice supports compliance with the Aged Care Quality Standards.

 

Keep an eye out for Covid scams

According to The Senior, since the start of the pandemic in March last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has received more than 5170 scam reports mentioning the coronavirus with over $6,280,000 in reported losses.

 

Other News

REMINDER: CHSP grandfathered client additional migration – My Aged Care provider portal closes on 29 January 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 My Aged Care provider portal will close at 11:59pm AEDT Friday 29 January 2021. We remind providers to:

  • upload your grandfathered client data using the new data collection template – the previous template cannot be re-submitted into the provider portal
  • enter client service information
  • submit the completed information.

There are no extensions.

‘Grandfathered clients’ are people who received services before the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) began and who are not yet registered in My Aged Care.

 

Funding for dementia programs extended

According to Community Care Review, dementia training, education and support will get a $44 million boost, the government has announced. Aged care services minister Richard Colbeck says the funding will extend national programs provided by Dementia Training Australia and Dementia Support Australia for another year. The programs deliver clinical support, assessments, recommendations for care interventions, mentoring and capacity building for family and informal carers, primary and acute care staff and aged care service providers.

 

Labor claims industrial relations reforms could see workers lose $1000

According to Aged Care Insite, Labor has accused the government of giving workers a summer holiday pay cut as it pushes ahead with plans to alter penalty rates. The government will push ahead with a suite of industrial relations reforms in 2021. It will also seek provisions allowing distressed industries employers to pay a “loaded rate”, a higher hourly rate, instead of penalties like public holiday rates. The opposition claimed that, if passed, the laws could mean some workers would lose up to $1000 in holiday penalty rates if they worked Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and Australia Day.

 

10,000 more home care packages on the way

According to Community Care Review, the federal government has announced 10,000 extra home care packages worth more than $850 million in its midyear economic outlook (MYEFO) released late last year. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the announcement reflects the need to provide older Australians with appropriate care. “The health and wellbeing of older Australians is an absolute priority,” Mr Morrison said on December 16. “By providing more support to people at home, we are ensuring that Australians, as they age, have greater choices and their families have greater choices.”

 

Request for tender open: Aged Care Transition to Practice Program

(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.)

The Department of Health is seeking organisations and/or established or future consortia to lodge tenders to develop and deliver an evidence-based Aged Care Transition to Practice (ACTTP) Program.

Announced in the 2020-21 Budget, the ACTTP program will:

  • assist graduate nurses by providing the support needed to develop their knowledge, skills and competence in the delivery of quality aged care services
  • be designed to attract and retain new nurses to the aged care sector by offering access to important mentoring and training opportunities.

The request for tender is currently open and available on the AusTender website. Tenders must be received by 2pm on 17 February 2021.

 

Study finds high rates of dementia in Torres Strait residents

According to Community Care Review, dementia rates among Torres Strait residents are up to three times higher than the general population, according to the first research of its kind to ever look at this group. Using a culturally specific tool, researchers from James Cook University assessed 276 people aged between 45 and 93 across all 18 island and mainland communities in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area of Far North Queensland.

 

Legislation

No significant developments this week.

 

Resources and Upcoming Events

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.

 

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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