Aged care news highlights from the week ending 26 January 2020.
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.
Aged care wait times go up, level four home care wait nearly 3 year
According to Aged Care Insite, the latest data released by the Productivity Commission shows that wait times for those needing to enter residential aged care have increased almost 50 per cent since 2016–2017. The report released this week also shows that those Australians waiting for the highest-level home care package have an average wait of 34 months. Data for the 2018–19 period tells us that 41.9 per cent of older people entered residential aged care within three months of their ACAT approval. However, the median wait time is now at 152 days, an increase from 121 days in 2017–18 and 105 days in 2016–17. For home care packages the wait times range from seven months for a level 1 package to 34 months for a level 4 package. The report states that “as approval processes for clients have changed significantly under the new arrangements, data are not comparable over time and data for 2018-19 should not be compared to previous years”.
Senior Australians face longer wait times to get into aged care
According to The Guardian, it takes 152 days on average for senior Australians to be admitted to residential aged care, an increase in wait times of about a month in just the last year. According to the latest report on government services statistics, published by the Productivity Commission, about 40% of senior Australians are now waiting nine months or more to be admitted into aged care. Labor has seized on the statistics, citing the fact average wait times have blown out by almost 300% from 40 days in 2012-13, when the Coalition was elected to federal government, to 152 days in 2018-19. The jurisdictions with the worst wait times for residential care were the Australian Capital Territory (325 days), Western Australia (210), South Australia (194) and Queensland (167). The states with better than average wait times were Tasmania (119 days), Victoria (124) and New South Wales (143). For those seeking in-home care, the average wait nationwide was 137 days, up from 73 in 2012-13, with the longest waits in South Australia (221 days), Tasmania (213) and Victoria (200).
RC reports propose way forward for aged care
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, adopting practices from overseas, such as a rehabilitation-first approach, expanding the use of local domestic-style living models and offering tailored respite services are among strategies that can improve Australia’s aged care system, Flinders University-led research finds. The reports released on Friday, and produced in collaboration with commercial and industry partners, are the second and third research papers produced for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Research Paper 2: Review of International Systems for long-term care of older people examines approaches to long-term care in 22 countries, including Denmark, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Russia and the United States. Lead researcher Dr Suzanne Dyer said Australia was providing a higher proportion of its long-term care for people in residential aged care (45 per cent) than many of the other countries. Other nations support more long-term care recipients through home and community care services, the report found.
Five in six facilities offering additional services
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, many aged care providers are selling additional services but some are charging residents fees for services required under legislation including laundry and wound dressings, according to a new industry report. The Additional Services Industry Insights Report from aged care consultants Pride Living is based on a 2019 survey of 100 residential facilities across Australia. It found that 84 per cent of facilities surveyed actively offer and market ad-hoc additional services on a fee-for-service basis and 30 per cent offer additional services via bundled packages. Popular additional services include entertainment options such as in-room television, Foxtel and Wi-fi, dining services including menu choice and alcohol and extra events and outings. Additional services aim to enhance the resident experience and caterer to individual preferences while giving providers a revenue source for services not required under the Aged Care Act. However, the survey found “a concerning number of providers” are charging for services required under the Act such as basic laundry services, special aids and treatments like dressings, and men’s shed programs.
GP guidelines updated to include elder abuse, LGBT
According to Community Care Review, elder abuse and issues relating to the care of LBGT people are covered for the first time in new clinical guidelines on the care of older people released by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. The RACGP released its updated and expanded Aged care clinical guide (Silver Book) Part B this month. RCAGP Harry Nespolon says there is huge opportunity for GPs to make a difference in the lives of older people and says the guidelines have been the go-to-guide for GPs caring for Australian seniors for the last two decades.
Government releases dementia, aged care research roadmap for public consultation
According to Aged Care Insite, Australians will be able to have their say on the government’s $185 million Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission with this week’s release of a draft roadmap. The medical research package aims to help older Australians maintain their health and quality of life as they age, live independently for longer and access quality care when they need it. The funding will be invested from 2018–19 to 2028–29. Those interested will be able to sound off on the mission’s goals, guiding principles and priorities, as well as areas of research they would prefer to see.
ACIITC report shows impacts of aged care technology
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the sector’s technology council has produced a report to improve aged care providers’ understanding of current technology and innovation relevant to the industry. The Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council report Aged and Community Sector Technology and Innovative Practice outlines what the research and evidence is indicating based on a literature review of academic, government, business and industry reports produced from 2016 to 2019. It provides an update on the literature showcased in the aged care technology roadmap, which the ACIITC launched in 2017, and focuses on technologies that support positive ageing and independent living and technologies that support and enhance the care of older people.
Scientists identify drugs that could reverse cognitive decline
According to Aged Care Insite, American and Israeli scientists have found that drugs that quell inflammation in the brain could also slow and even reverse cognitive decline, which is associated with diseases such as dementia. The researchers found that mice with cognitive decline were able to learn new tasks and showed similar brain function to mice half their age when administered one such drug. The two research papers – co-authored by academics from UC Berkeley and Ben-Gurion University – point to a new way of approaching dementia and cognitive decline, identifying inflammation of the brain and a “leaky blood-brain barrier” as potential key causes.
New project explores integrating intergenerational environments
According to Australian Ageing Agenda, an architecture practice and three universities have secured over $1 million to develop a new model of shared living and learning for seniors and school students. The five-year research project aims to explore how primary and secondary schools and residential aged care and retirement living environments can be integrated to improve health outcomes, promote social inclusion and make better use of existing infrastructure. Fulton Trotter Architects, Queensland University of Technology, Australian Catholic University and Deakin University are undertaking the five-year research project with the support of a $1.1 million National Health and Medical Research Council’s Ideas Grant.
Nothing in the news this week.
Resources and Upcoming Events
Webinar: Update on new aged care assessment arrangements – 12 February 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm (AEDT)
According to The Department of Health, this webinar will provide an update on the development of new aged care assessment arrangements and address common themes arising from stakeholder questions during the December 2019 webinar. The new arrangements will start from April 2021, providing a streamlined process for consumers to access aged care services.
Quality Indicators (QIs) pilot – specific service types invited to participate
The Department of Health has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to assist in the development and pilot to trial the new QIs relating to:
- medication management
- falls and fractures.
To ensure the pilot captures the views and experiences of residential aged care services nationally, the department would like to strongly encourage the following services to take part:
- Services operating in Queensland or remote areas
- Smaller services (less than 50 residential aged care places)
- Previous QI Program pilot participants
- Private (for profit) or State Government services.
Participation in the pilot is an opportunity for your service to trial and provide feedback on these indicators ahead of the implementation of the additional QIs from 1 July 2021. The pilot will commence in February 2020, please register your interest by 27 January 2020.
NATSIFAC Program Bi-Annual One-off Grant Opportunity – Second Approach now open
According to The Department of Health, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care (NATSIFAC) Program 2019-2020 Bi-Annual One-off Grant Opportunity – Second Approach is a targeted, competitive application process. NATSIFAC Program service providers can apply for grant funding to address a clearly identified need that supports the delivery of aged care services. Service providers in remote and very remote Australia (geographical locations defined as Modified Monash Model 6 and 7) will be prioritised. The Grant Opportunity opened on Thursday 16 January 2020. All applications must be received by the department by 2:00pm, Thursday 12 March 2020.
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?
Women in Healthcare Leadership Summit – 17-20 February 2020, Sydney
Criterion Conferences would like to personally invite you to the Women in Healthcare Leadership Summit taking place from the 17th-20th February 2020. This is your chance to gain real advice from real healthcare leaders to learn not only how to survive in the industry, but truly thrive as a leader.
Financial Transformation in Aged Care Conference – 29-30 April 2020m Sydney
Criterion Conferences is hosting a Financial Transformation in Aged Care Conference. Developed in partnership with COTA Australia and ACSA, this event is your opportunity to voice your concerns, strategise with leading providers, and actively engage in dialogue that will build a stronger, sustainable future for your organisation and the industry.
2018-19 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997
According to the Department of Health, the 2018-19 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997 is now available from the GEN Aged Care Data website. The report details the operation of Australia’s aged care system during the 2018–19 financial year and provides a snapshot of the system as a whole. It is delivered to Parliament each year by the Minister in accordance with section 63-2 of the Aged Care Act 1997.
Summary page in the My Aged Care portals
According to The Department of Health, the new and improved Client Summary page is available on the My Aged Care portals and now includes a tracker for each client’s journey. This is available to all providers, assessors and clients using the portals. For providers and assessors, the tracker means you will be able to quickly see what stage a client is at in their journey.
Accounting and Business Advisory Services now available
According to The Department of Health, residential and home care service providers can now apply for free independent business advisory services to help them review their operations and provide advice on business management and financial strategies. The services are intended to target providers at risk from financial stress such as providers operating in rural and remote locations and smaller providers. PricewaterhouseCoopers will deliver the independent advisory services with services available until 30 June 2021. Service providers can apply to access the business advisory via The Department of Health’s website.
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.