Aged care news highlights from the week ending 22 September 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.
Calls to push on with reform as aged care royal commission extended
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, aged care reforms and urgent action to improve the sector’s viability must go ahead now despite the six-month extension of the royal commission, stakeholders say. Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck announced on Friday that government approved the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s request for a six-month extension to hear more evidence. Mr Colbeck also announced the appointment of former Federal Court of Australia judge Tony Pagone as the third royal commissioner, who will work with fellow commissioners Richard Tracey and Lynelle Briggs for the remainder of the inquiry. The due date of the royal commission’s final report has been extended from 20 April to 12 November 2020.
Indexation rate and Maximum Permissible Interest rate (MPIR) update
According to The Department of Health, an update of the schedules for residential and home care fees and charges, as well as subsidies and supplements will take effect from 20 September 2019. This is in line with changes to the basic age pension and indexation rates. The Department of Human Services’ quarterly review of fees and charges for all care recipients takes effect from 20 September 2019. Care recipients and providers will receive letters letting them know if there is a change to a person’s fees and charges or if a refund may be due.
What impact will the proposed religious discrimination legislation have on health and aged care providers?
According to Lexology, the proposed religious discrimination legislation (if passed) may have a significant impact upon health and aged care providers in terms of employment and the provision of services and accommodation. Whilst laws protecting against discrimination are prima facie beneficial to a harmonious Australian community, one of the main issues with the draft legislation is the uncertainty over what constitutes a ‘religious belief’ and how radical (and therefore disruptive) that belief could be.
Listed providers doing ‘better than average’
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the revenue of three listed aged care providers has increased but so have costs including for the aged care royal commission, StewartBrown’s latest analysis shows. The listed providers, Regis Aged Care, Estia Health and Japara Healthcare, collectively received $29 million in additional subsidies from the federal government last financial year as part of a one-off 9.5 per cent residential aged care funding boost. They each increased their operating revenue by an average of 8.3 per cent for the year ending June 2019, according to the analysis published this month. This includes the additional funding that Regis ($10.8 million), Estia ($10.3 million) and Japara ($7.9 million) received.
Medication reviews identify up to four problems per resident
Australian Ageing Agenda reports that medication reviews are a useful strategy for identifying and proactively resolving aged care residents’ medication-related problems, according to new Australian research. Monash University’s Centre for Medicine Use and Safety conducted a systematic review of Australia’s Residential Medication Management Review (RMMR) program, which is funded by the Australian Government. Medication reviews in aged care homes identify an average of 2.7 to 3.9 medication‐related problems per resident, according to the research looking at 13 medication review studies.
Aged care providers call for ‘systemic reform rather than tinkering around the edges’
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the aged care system needs a “radical redesign” based on the consumer experience and unrestricted by departmental boundaries, jurisdictions or sources of funds, a collaboration between industry consultants and aged care providers tells the royal commission. Global accounting and advisory firm Grant Thornton and sector peak body Leading Age Services Australia held six workshops in capital cities in August involving 121 aged care CEOs and executives from 112 for-profit, not-for-profit and government providers. They came together to discuss the sector’s current and future “wicked problems” to inform the Perspectives on the Future of Ageing and Age Services in Australia report, which Grant Thornton submitted the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and safety on Monday.
Air pollution linked to higher dementia risks
According to Community Care Review, Australian researchers have found a clear link between air pollution and an increased risk of developing dementia later in life, in a study that pulls together global data for the first time. The study, printed in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, analyses research on people living in regions of Canada, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States. It shows higher rates of dementia when people were exposed over a long period of time to two types of air pollutants commonly found in cities worldwide. These are nitrous oxides and particulate matter 2.5 – an airborne mix of solid particles and liquid droplets where each particle is less than 2.5 micrometres wide (the average human hair is 70 micrometres wide).
Renewed calls for more nurse practitioners in aged care
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, a nurse practitioner approach in residential aged care leads to better outcomes for residents and nurses than a doctor-led model, an upcoming conference on ageing will hear. Aged care nurse practitioner in psychogeriatrics Hazel Bucher, who works across six residential aged care facilities in Tasmania alongside a general practitioner, said it was important for the sector to recognise the benefits of nurse practitioners. Ms Bucher said nurse-practitioner models, which typically involves a nurse practitioner employed at a facility or working with a GP in a facility in a shared-care approach, can improve care outcomes for residents through regular health and wellbeing checks.
Rate of fall-related injuries on the increase
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the rate of injuries caused by falls among older Australians has increased over the last decade, with more than 100,000 older Australians hospitalised because of a fall last year, the latest government statistics show. “Three-quarters of all injury hospitalisations for people aged 65 and over are a result of a fall,” the AIHW Trends in hospitalised injury due to falls in older people report, released on Thursday says. Most fall-related injuries in people aged over 65 occurred in women (65 per cent), but rates for men are increasing at a greater rate than for women. Fall rates for men increased by 3 per cent a year while they went up 2 per cent a year for women.
Medicines and Poisons Bill 2019 (Qld) – Bill passed Assembly 17.09.19
The Bill replaces the existing legislation with a modern outcomes-focused regulatory framework that simplifies licensing requirements, streamlines the requirements for prescribing medicinal cannabis, improves national uniformity, provides certainty for medicines manufacturers by applying the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Act, and includes no new or increased fees.
Resources and Upcoming Conferences
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.
Navigating the Aged Care System Webinar Series - Webinar: Aged care support and service options – 11.00am-12.30pm 25 September 2019
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is hosting a webinar covering:
- Overview of other support & service options
- Respite care (community & residential)
- Private aged care
- Support for veterans & war widows/widowers
- Short term help options: short-term restorative care & transition care
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.
ACSA National Summit – 8-10 October 2019, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) is hosting the 2019 ACSA National Summit, to be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), 8–10 October 2019. The 2019 ACSA National Summit will bring together thought leaders and innovators – both local and international – to discuss hot topics, challenges and opportunities, workshopping together to uncover solutions to some of the aged care industry’s biggest challenges.
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.