Four Practical Things Aged Care Providers Can Do Right Now in Response to the Royal Commission’s Interim Report

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you would have heard something about the Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. And it probably wasn’t good news.

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Weekly Wrap: October 27, 2019

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Weekly Wrap: October 27, 2019

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 27 October 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.


CDC throws up challenges for home care staff

According to Community Care Review, consumer directed care is throwing up challenges for frontline staff, a study has found, making it hard to build consistent relationships with clients and leading to a lack of connectedness and isolation among home care workers. The report is based on interviews and focus groups with 39 frontline and operational staff at Anglicare SA and Amana Living Perth. It was supported by HESTA. The study found increased choice for consumers has resulted in increased expectations on workers, and demands are often harder to meet. It also found staff are having difficulty getting tasks done with less time and are concerned that funding packages are failing to meet the needs of clients.

Emotional needs of aged residents unmet: new study

According to Aged Care Insite, aged care workers say they don’t have enough time to meet older people’s emotional and social needs because they are so rushed and under pressure to provide basic physical care. Workplace cultures in which staff are rushed and have little choice but to leave residents with unmet social and emotional needs appear to be standard, a joint University of NSW, Macquarie University and RMIT study said. “Care workers routinely observe that older people’s emotional needs are left unmet in the system designed to support them,” RMIT’s Wendy Taylor said.

Unspent funds hit $7000 per client

According to Community Care Review, a key report on the financial position of the aged care sector reveals the average amount of unspent home care funds held by providers has increased by around $1000 in the last year to just under $7000 per client. The StewartBrown Aged Care Sector Report for the year ending June 30 also found a declining financial performance among home care providers with a further reduction in average operating surpluses.

Better off working at Aldi? Royal commission witness talks aged care pay

According to Aged Care Insite, nurses working in aged care are paid so poorly that they are forced to stay on higher casual rates and work 52 weeks a year to attain a living wage, the royal commission has heard. Paul Gilbert from the ANMF’s Victorian Branch also said that due to low pay rates, nurses often have to take more than one job to make ends meet. “I think that most people that we ever speak to do want more hours and occasionally get more hours, but it’s still not a static like it is in most other industries, where you know you’re going to be working three, four, five days a week. No one gets to work full-time. People are working multiple jobs to get an income.” The pay for personal care workers is also poor, according to Gilbert.

Additional $320m not enough to improve sector’s bottom line

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the financial performance of residential aged care facilities has declined further despite this year’s one-off funding boost, a new industry report shows. Data released by accounting and benchmarking firm StewartBrown shows the average net profit in 2018-19 was $2.11 per bed per day, or $728 per bed per year, down from $2.37 in 2017-2018 even after the federal government’s 9.5 per cent or $320 million funding boost. Without the subsidy, and in real terms, the average result per bed per day is a loss of $2.62, according to the 2019 Aged Care Financial Performance Survey of 1,012 residential aged care facilities.

RedUSe program could minimise restraint, say stakeholders

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, renewed calls for the federal government to roll out an intervention proven to reduce the use of antipsychotics in aged care facilities are going unanswered. Researcher Dr Juanita Breen and aged care provider peak bodies are among those again advocating for University of Tasmania’s successful Reducing Use of Sedatives program (RedUSe) following Human Rights Watch’s report last week about the use of chemical restraint in residential care.

National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program – introduction of 2 new quality indicators

The Department of Health has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to develop two new quality indicators (QIs) relating to:

  • medication management
  • falls and fractures.

The process currently being undertaken by PwC to develop the two new QIs includes an evidence-based literature review, sector and expert consultation, as well as piloting. Consultation on the development of the two new QIs is underway and will provide an opportunity to receive feedback on the existing QI measures: pressure injuries, use of physical restraint and unplanned weight loss. Residential aged care services wishing to participate in the pilot of the new QIs should register their interest via email to PwC: AgedCareQI@au.pwc.com.

Commonwealth MIA on aged care workforce: royal commission lawyer

According to Aged Care Insite, the Commonwealth appears to be missing in action. That was counsel assisting Peter Rozen’s assertion as he discussed governance and leadership within the aged care sector while wrapping up a week of royal commission hearings centred around the aged care workforce. Rozen said the Commonwealth needs to demonstrate leadership and commit the resources necessary to ensure delivery of an aged care system that meets community standards, and added: “It needs to act quickly.” “There appears to be a lack of leadership and expertise about aged care within the Department of Health,” he said.

G20 health ministers endorse dementia policy

According to Community Care Review, dementia has been recognised in a declaration by G20 Health Ministers, who have also committed to implementing national action plans. Dementia featured heavily at the Okayama Declaration of the G20 Health Ministers, which brought together health ministers from 19 countries and the European Union, as well as invited guest countries and organisations this week. “We recognise that dementia is one of our common challenges which has significant impacts on health, quality of life, economy and the entire society,” the Declaration states.

New system to use predictive analytics to improve care

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, a research and vendor collaboration is developing software to predict the deterioration of aged care residents’ health to improve care planning and reduce avoidable hospital transfers. The clinical decision support software is being developed for Telstra Health’s residential aged care software suite through a $1 million partnership announced on Tuesday between RMIT University, Telstra Health and the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre. The software will analyse clinical data of aged care residents for signs of deteriorating health to help providers plan and direct staffing and clinical resources more effectively and reduce unnecessary emergency hospitalisations.

Legislation

Nothing in the news this week.

Resources and Upcoming Conferences

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.

The Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) project on improving home care payment arrangements - consultation period now open

According to The Department of Health, the consultation period for ACFA’s project looking at the financial impact of improving home care payments arrangements is now open. In forming its advice to Government, ACFA is seeking written submissions responding to its consultation paper by 12 November 2019. You can have your say via a link on the Department of Health’s site.

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.

Uploading Data Collection Template: Quick Reference Guide for CHSP providers – deadline extended to 8 November 2019

The My Aged Care Provider Portal will open from 22 July until 11.59pm AEST 8 November 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.

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.

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.

International Dementia Conference: Care in the Age of Outrage – call for papers, submissions close 8 November 2019

The Dementia Centre is inviting submissions for paper and poster presentations for the 2020 International Dementia Conference - Care in the Age of Outrage. Taking place in a period of significant reflection here in Australia through a Royal Commission on Aged Care and similar international initiatives seeking to reform and inform dementia care, this conference will explore how we shape the future of how we live, love and care together.

Australian Association of Gerontology: 52nd AAG Conference – 5-8 November 2019, Sydney

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, this year’s Conference builds on the previous AAG conferences where the importance of both enabling and appreciating the contributions that older people make to their families, communities and society was acknowledged. The engagement and participation of older people throughout the conference is critical and reflects the conference theme which is “Coming of Age Together – New ways of acting and knowing”.

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.

Strengthening the Aged Care Workforce – 3-5 December 2019, Melbourne

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, after two successful events in Sydney, the Strengthening the Aged Care Workforce conference will be taking place on the 3rd - 5th December 2019 in Melbourne for the first time. Designed in partnership with COTA Australia & ACSA, this conference will bring together industry leaders to discuss how service providers can train, support and guide their workforce through the changes taking place in this sector.

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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