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Weekly Wrap 29 July

2/08/22
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Aged care news highlights from the week ending 29 July 2022, 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

Inquest into largest NSW aged care Covid-19 outbreak

According to Aged Care Insite, a Sydney aged care home where 19 residents died from COVID-19 turned into a place of “chaos and dysfunctionality” due to lack of staffing and poor communication, an inquest has heard. Anglicare’s Newmarch House saw a 65-day coronavirus outbreak between April and June 2020, where 37 out of 97 residents and 19 staff members became infected.

 

ADF support extended as COVID cases escalate

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, defence force personnel drafted into aged care homes to fill acute staff shortages will remain on standby for another two months, the Department of Defence has announced this week.

 

NSW Chief Health Officer Update

(Note: this excerpt is from the Department of Health and Aged Care 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 and Aged Care, from Monday 18 July 2022, the following NSW Chief Health Officer advice has been updated for:

Residential Aged Care Facilities:

A summary of the updates is as follows:

  • Visitor restrictions are no longer included in the Public Health Order. However, in the context of rising case numbers, restrictions are incorporated in the Chief Health Office advice, with a recommended limit of visitors of 2 adults and 2 children per resident each day. However, the provider has discretion to allow more visitors in special circumstances.
  • Visitors are encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 but it is no longer a mandatory requirement. Influenza vaccination is also strongly encouraged.
  • The exemption relating to receiving a COVID-19 booster vaccination has been extended to 6 September 2022, the conditions on the exemption remain.
  • Effective COVID-19 antiviral treatments are available, and facilities should ensure pathways are in place for residents to have early access to treatment.
  • Amendment of the reinfection period from 12 weeks to 4 weeks to align with the AHPPC statement on COVID-19 winter update.

 

 

Other News

Aged care reform bills presented to parliament

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the Albanese Government introduced legislation on Tuesday to deliver on its election commitments to fix the aged care crisis and respond to the royal commission’s recommendations. Two bills were presented before parliament: the Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022 and the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022.

Included in the implementing care reform bill is the requirement for aged care homes to have a qualified registered nurse on site 24/7. However, the bill allows facilities to apply for an exemption.

The Royal Commission Response Bill will provide the legislative framework for the new AN-ACC funding model for residential aged care homes, which will replace the Aged Care Funding Instrument in October 2022. It also extends the functions of the hospital pricing authority and renames it to Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority. Also included in the royal commission response bill is the introduction of a star ratings system, which will see the Department of Health and Aged Care publish a comparison valuation for all residential aged care services by the end of 2022.

 

Government to assess aged care regulator

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the Albanese Government has announced it will conduct a capability review of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells confirmed the government would act on the aged care royal commission recommendation after the former administration had failed to do so. The government’s review will consider whether the Commission has the appropriate resources, workforce, necessary regulatory and investigatory skills, clinical knowledge, assessment skills and enforcement skills, to meet its regulatory responsibilities.

 

Quarterly Financial Report webinar: updates and Q&A

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, the first Quarterly Financial Report (QFR) is due on 4 November 2022. To help aged care providers prepare for new quarterly reporting requirements, the Department of Health and Aged Care is hosting a second free technical webinar on the Quarterly Financial Report (QFR). In this webinar, presenters will:

  • reiterate key features of the QFR
  • highlight key Aged Care Financial Report (ACFR) enhancements
  • answer financial reporting questions.

The webinar will be held on 18 August 2022 from 1.00pm to 2.30pm AEST. To register and learn more about the webinar visit the department’s website. If you have any questions or need help accessing the webinar, please contact ffbconsultation@health.gov.au.

 

Serious Incident Response Scheme – important resource updates

According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, we have updated a few of our Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) resources for residential aged care providers to clarify reportable incidents involving unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct.

We consider any incidents involving unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct to be Priority 1 reportable incidents. This means that you must report these to us via the My Aged Care portal within 24 hours of becoming aware of the incident.

You must also report incidents that are unlawful or considered to be of a criminal nature (for example, sexual assault) to police within 24 hours. If you’re unsure whether an incident is a crime, report it to the police. Police are the appropriate authorities to investigate and identify whether an incident may involve criminal conduct.

We have now updated our Serious Incident Response Scheme – Guidelines for residential aged care providersresource to:

  • clarify the reporting timeframes for unlawful sexual contact and inappropriate sexual conduct incidents
  • replace some references to ‘distress’ and ‘impact’ with ‘harm and/or discomfort’ to align with the legislation
  • more clearly define ‘could reasonably have been expected to have caused’
  • provide more guidance on the repeated use of restrictive practices.

We've also amended our Reportable incidents: Unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct fact sheetReportable incidents workflow, and the ‘Unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct’ incident in our SIRS decision support tool in line with the updates to the guidelines. If you have any SIRS queries, you can call us on 1800 081 549 or send us an email at sirs@agedcarequality.gov.au.

 

Residential respite care funding under AN-ACC

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, all people eligible for respite care will receive an AN-ACC respite classification level that will determine respite funding from 1 October 2022.

People who have been assessed during the shadow assessment period will retain that AN-ACC respite classification. Those who have not been assessed will receive a classification based on their current respite care approval:

  • those with a low care respite approval will receive AN-ACC respite classification 101
  • those with a high care (or a high care and a low care) approval will receive AN-ACC respite classification 102.

Care recipients and providers can request a reclassification after 1 October 2022 if there has been a significant change in their care needs. More information is available on the department’s website.

 

Dementia Carer Respite and Wellbeing Program

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, a new measure from the department will improve the quality of respite care for people living with dementia and their carers.

Funding of $32 million will be used to put in place innovative and evidence-based care models that combine respite care for people living with dementia and their carers. The program will include opportunistic education, peer support and a focus on wellbeing.

HammondCare is delivering the first stage of the program, called Staying at Home. Find out more on the HammondCare/Dementia Support Australia website.

Read more information about the broader Dementia Carer Respite and Wellbeing Program on the department’s website.

 

Upgrade to the Services Australia Aged Care Payment System

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, Services Australia is upgrading their Aged Care Payment System (ACPS) on 20 August 2022.

The upgrade will support the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model due to commence on 1 October 2022.

To implement the new system, online claiming channels will be view only from 11 – 19 August 2022 inclusive. This means:

  • Claims must be lodged by 7 August 2022 to ensure they are processed.
  • Events (entry, leave, departure etc) and finalised claims cannot be submitted during the view only period.

To minimise potential financial impacts:

  • The August advance will be paid as normal on 1 August 2022
  • The September advance will be paid in mid-August 2022.

For more information see Changes to residential aged care claiming (servicesaustralia.gov.au)

 

 

Legislation

Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022 [CTH] – passed House and introduced to Senate 27 July 2022

A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to aged care, health and aged care pricing, and information sharing in relation to veterans and military rehabilitation and compensation, and for related purposes. The Bill seeks to amend various acts in order to implement several time critical aged care measures, many of which respond to recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (Royal Commission) Final Report: Care, Dignity and Respect (Final Report).

 

Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022 [CTH] – referred to committee 28 July 2022

The Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022 seeks to amend the Aged Care Act 1997 (Aged Care Act) to implement a series of urgent measures that will give older Australians the dignity and respect they deserve. These amendments are intended to enable meaningful, practical improvements to the delivery of aged care services and to provide greater oversight and understanding of what funds are being used for. These measures put the quality of care and safety of older Australians first.

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About the Author

ACE Editorial Team

ACE is published by CompliSpace. CompliSpace is an Australian company that specialises in helping organisations manage their legal and regulatory obligations.

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