Residential Aged Care Assessments: What to Expect in 2021

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) recently released its Sector Performance Report for the period July to September 2020.

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Weekly Wrap: 29 November 2020

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Weekly Wrap: 29 November 2020

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 29 November 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.


Coronavirus / COVID-19 News

Government releases three-tiered visitor guidelines for aged care

According to Aged Care Insite, the government has announced a three-tiered set of visitation guidelines for aged care providers that hinges on the COVID-19 threat level in the community. The plan was backed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC). It spells out the ways in which providers can ramp up or scale down their response to community COVID-19 transmission or locally acquired cases as needed. Where there are no such reports (Tier 1), the government advises fewer restrictions on visitors, excursions, small gatherings and outdoor exercise.

 

Updated NSW advice for Victorian 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 issued updated advice on visitors to residential aged care. From 23 November 2020, Victorians can now visit NSW residential aged care facilities subject to usual screening processes.

Key points from the updated advice are to:

Visit the NSW COVID-19 website daily for updates on areas of active community transmission in NSW.

 

Translated aged care COVID-19 resources available

(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, older Australians are vulnerable to becoming unwell with COVID-19. It is essential that everyone, including people who do not speak English, know how to stop the spread of COVID-19.

To support the aged care sector, we have translated resources in 63 languages for aged care workers, residents and visitors. Please note that you will need to use Google Chrome to access these links.

If you are in South Australia, we encourage you to download and distribute these resources.

General COVID-19 resources are also available in 63 languages, including audio, posters, fact sheets and social media assets. These resources cover a range of COVID-19 related topics such as testing, mental health services and COVID safe behaviours.

 

Updated aged care visitation guidelines for residential aged care

(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, visitation guidelines for aged care are being updated to better protect senior Australians and those who care for them as the nation returns to COVID-normal. Read the Aged Care Minister’s media release.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has endorsed three-tier escalation guidelines to help providers ramp up or down their response, depending on the level of COVID-19 in the community.

Concurrently, Visitation Guidelines during COVID-19 have also been released. The Visitation Guidelines align with the Industry Code which was also updated on 20 November 2020, to reflect the ‘three-tier’ model of escalation and de-escalation.

 

Five reasons why COVID-19 has left the health sector vulnerable to cybercrime

According to Hospital and Healthcare, an industry white paper published by cybersecurity firm Kroll explores the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare industry’s cybersecurity landscape and shares best-practice guidance for healthcare providers. The risk landscape resulting from the pandemic is characterised by five key vulnerability points:

  • Rapid shift to remote working
  • Expansion of telehealth
  • Workforce under pressure
  • Interoperability
  • PPE shortages

Residential Aged Care Communique – Volume 5, Issue 4

This issue of Residential Aged Care Communique focuses on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and aged care. This issue includes summaries of public inquiries into COVID-19 and aged care from United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. These have common themes around the suffering of residents, family and staff. The lessons are to have better planning and preparation, be proactive with infection control and prevention, the value of and need for additional staff.

 

Study finds older people at risk of social media misinformation about COVID-19

According to Aged Care Guide, new research released by Macquarie University shows that older people are likely to be influenced or are more exposed to health misinformation on social media, particularly during stressful events like the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Eldercare says it’s not forcing staff to resign

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, South Australian aged care provider Eldercare has denied union claims it is sacking personal care workers who choose to work for another aged care provider. The United Workers Union issued a statement on Friday to say that Eldercare was forcing employees to resign should they choose to primarily work for another provider. However, Eldercare said it contacted these employees to ask their intentions and invite them to request further unpaid leave if their circumstances warranted it. Under current COVID-19 restrictions, South Australian aged care staff are only allowed to work at one facility to limit the risk of coronavirus spreading between facilities.

 

Other News

Study finds Government-run aged care averages better on quality indicators

According to Aged Care Guide, new research released by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has found that Government operated aged care facilities outperform non-for-profit organisations and for-profit organisations on 50 quality indicators.

 

Landmark work value case calls for 25 percent aged care wage increase

According to Aged Care Guide, the Health Services Union (HSU), a members-based union, has launched a landmark work value case with the Fair Work Commission in a bid to lift wages by 25 percent for the aged care workforce. If the Fair Work Commission was to approve the case, HSU believes 200,000 personal carers, activities officers, caterers, cleaners and administrators in the aged care sector would receive a pay rise of, at least, five dollars an hour.

 

2019-20 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997

(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 2019-20 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 2019–20 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.

Email agedcarereporting@health.gov.au with any enquiries.

 

Monitoring financial risks

(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 department collects annual financial information from approved aged care providers to help identify those providers that may be at financial risk. This ensures older Australians continue to receive high quality care.

The department may seek more information from the identified providers to improve its understanding of the provider’s current and short term viability. While seeking to minimise the impact on a provider, the department expects that a provider will make the information requested available within the required timeframes. More information about the department’s approach to financial monitoring and business assistance is available on the department’s website.

 

More needs to be done for Forgotten Australians in aged care

According to Aged Care Insite, more than 500,000 older Australians are not being served properly by the aged care sector. That is the approximate number of Forgotten Australians, people who at one point in their life were placed in institutional or out-of-home care as children and therefore need safer and more personalised aged care.

 

ELDAC's Digital Innovations in Aged Care

(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, since COVID-19, organisations and services have further embraced digital practice for their residents, carers and staff. End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) recognises that technology is now even more important in supporting aged care.

ELDAC’s Digital Innovations team is working on four new tools:

  • the care worker app to support staff providing care for older Australians at home
  • the online self-care tool specifically for the aged care workforce
  • a home care search filter to provide easy access to articles and evidence from national and international studies
  • a palliative care projects database with information on Australian studies focused on aged care, palliative care and advance care planning.

ELDAC is interested in your ideas for developing the most useful innovations to support those working in aged care. You can find out more, or join the discussions, on the ELDAC website.

 

Bring your claiming up-to-date with the new Services Australia Aged Care Provider Portal

(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, on 20 November 2020, Services Australia closed access to the legacy Aged Care Online Claiming and Aged Care Online Services portals.

Start using the Aged Care Provider Portal (ACPP) today to continue claiming digitally. You can check out these education materials to learn more about using the portal to prepare your monthly claim.

You can use the ACPP to catch-up on your claiming. When a monthly claim is finalised in the portal, it is generally processed overnight. Once a claim shows as Approved, you can download your payment statement straight away. The next month’s claim will also open automatically.

From February 2021, as part of the Improved Payment Arrangements (IPA), Home Care Packages Program subsidies and supplements will be paid in arrears for services delivered. These changes will not affect care recipients’ subsidy entitlements.

Home Care Package providers should ensure their claiming is up-to-date as services will be paid their final advance (for January 2021) in late December. For more information about IPA, visit the Department of Health website.

 

Extended timeline to apply for Business Improvement Fund Grants

(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, grant opportunities for the Business Improvement Fund for residential aged care have been extended to 30 April 2021. Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) recently hosted a webinar demonstrating how to access the Business Improvement Fund. You can watch the webinar, or view the presentation slides.

Providers can apply for funds to improve business operations, support the sale of a facility to another provider, or closure where there are no other options available.

The Business Improvement Fund is designed to support small to medium providers:

  • with limited access to other financial support
  • facing significant pressures which may impact on care or risk service closure.

For more information visit the GrantConnect website or email queries to bif@health.gov.au.

Applications must be submitted via GrantConnect by 2:00 pm AEST on 30 April 2021.

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety: Newsletter Issue 5

This Spring 2020 edition of the Royal Commission’s newsletter covers:

  • Final hearings for the Royal Commission
  • Royal Commission releases COVID-19 report
  • How virtual hearings became the new normal
  • Diverse research supports the Royal Commission's work
  • Number of public submissions surpasses 10,000

Lack of time, distance from work key barriers to dementia training

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, aged care staff want dementia-specific education to provide better care for residents, but many of them report barriers to accessing it, a conference on aged care research has heard. Deakin University professor in nursing Professor Alison Hutchinson told the Australian Association of Gerontology Conference on Thursday that a lack of time during work hours and education provided far from their job were the top two barriers identified in her research.

 

Consumer directed care failing older rural residents

According to Community Care Review, consumer directed care isn’t working for older rural people living in smaller regional and rural areas, research suggests.

 

Legislation

No significant developments this week.

 

Resources and Upcoming Events

Effective Management of Subcontractors in Home Care: 15th December 2020 1pm - 4:30pm AEDT

According to Australian Ageing Agenda: Join Lucille Scomazzon, Partner and Sector Leader, Healthcare from the Maddocks Legal team, as well as industry experts Lorraine Poulos and Jeremy McAuliffe at our on-line event.

 

Assessing the Standards – new workshops 

According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, the Commission has scheduled a new round of our “Assessing the Standards” online workshops, running throughout October. Through active participation in this online workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the principles that inform the Commission's approach to performance assessment
  • Understand and describe how they and other staff contribute to the achievement of quality outcomes for consumers
  • Use the self-assessment tool to gather and analyse information to evidence performance against the Quality Standards and/or identify opportunities for improvement
  • Contribute effectively to their organisation’s continuous improvement systems

Visit our website to find out more about the workshops and to register.

 

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.

 

Calculating residential accommodation payments in a leap year

This year is a leap year, with 366 days instead of 365. The Department of Health has received queries from approved providers of residential care seeking advice on how to calculate a daily accommodation payment (DAP) in a leap year. The calculators specified in the Fees and Payments Principles 2014 (No. 2) (the Principles) refer to 365 days for working out:

  • the DAP (or contribution) equivalent to a refundable accommodation deposit (RAD) (or contribution)
  • the amount of interest on a RAD (or contribution) balance or accommodation bond balance.

Even though 2020 is a leap year, residential care providers should continue to use 365 days when calculating DAP amounts and the interest payable on refunds of lump sum deposits. But please be aware that daily payments and daily contributions are payable for 366 days in 2020.

 

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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