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Weekly Wrap: 5 January 2020

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Weekly Wrap: 5 January 2020

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 5 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.

Most people living in aged care homes feel safe and respected, new report says

According to The Donaldson Sisters, surveys conducted over the past two years show older people generally have a positive view of their experience in residential care – despite what the media headlines and the Royal Commission into Aged Care may say – according to a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 98 per cent of residents said they felt safe ‘all the time’ or ‘most of the time’. The questions on whether staff treats respondents with respect and met their health care needs were met with similarly positive responses. Even the questions that drew the least positive responses – having staff to explain things and liking the food – still achieved scores of 80 per cent and 85 per cent respectively.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Role Expands

According to The Department of Health, the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (New Commissioner Functions) Bill 2019 takes effect from 1 January 2020. The following functions transition to the Commission:

  • aged care compliance and enforcement actions
  • compulsory reporting of assaults
  • prudential compliance operations
  • approving all residential and home care providers
  • home care compliance and investigations.

These functions build on the Commission’s existing responsibilities for:

  • complaints resolution
  • the accreditation, assessment and monitoring of aged care services.

Changes to Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s Assessment Methodology are Now In Effect

According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s latest Bulletin, in addition to the changes to the assessment methodology announced in October’s Quality Bulletin, a new requirement relating to key documents also came into effect on Monday 9 December 2019. Providers will now be requested to make key documents and information available at the commencement of performance assessments. There is an information sheet on the key documents in the Resources section of the Commission’s website. It is expected that these documents will be provided to the Assessment Team within one hour of the conclusion of the entry meeting. Early access to this information by the team supports increased effectiveness of time on site.

Emergency approval applications from residential care providers for residential respite during bushfire emergencies

The Department of Health advises residential care providers that where a residential aged care facility is operating as an approved provider and taking people into aged care respite, the provider can apply for emergency approval under Section 22-5(2) of the Aged Care Act 1997.  As per current requirements, the provider will need to submit an Application for Care form to their local ACAT within five business days after the day on which the care started. The department appreciates that service providers may currently face delays in submitting these applications due to experiencing bush fire related constraints. The department reassures providers that where they are unable to submit the Application for Care form to their local ACAT within five business days, the provider can, as soon as practicable, apply for an extension (as required under Section 22-5(3) of the Act) with the reason for the delay (ie “bush fire related emergency”) advised to the ACAT at the time of requesting the extension.

$320m funding boost for residential care

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the Federal Government has announced residential aged care will receive an additional $320 million as part of its new $662 million package to support older Australians. The funding will equate to an additional $1,800 per resident and will be provided over the next 18-months to support the delivery of quality care services, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. Of the $662 million, $4.2 million will go towards a national aged care quality indicator program and $4.6 million towards replacing the Aged Care Funding Instrument with a trial of a new residential care funding tool.

Four predictions for home care in 2020

Community Care Review makes four predictions for home care in 2020:

  • From Care to Wellness: an increased focus on the social determinants of health
  • New strategic priority: the financial wellbeing of care workers
  • Mix of payer sources becoming more important
  • When it comes to technology, it takes a village.

Concerns royal commission sees industry as complacent

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the aged care royal commissioners already seem to be forming a view that the sector is complacent about change, and providers need to dispel that perception by being open and upfront, an industry conference has heard. Delegates at LASA’s Tri-State conference in Albury also heard that managers and CEOs need only look to the experience of the banking royal commission to see where arrogance and lack of preparation can lead.

PainChek granted $5M for national aged care roll out

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the Morrison Government has announced funding for a national trial of an Australian-developed pain recognition tool for aged care residents with dementia. The $5 million initiative will provide for a universal one-year access license to facilitate the implementation of smart phone pain assessment and monitoring app PainChek to Australian residential aged care facilities with residents living with dementia. The app automatically detects pain via artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology and is improving pain management in residential aged care according to early research findings and adopters, which include Dementia Support Australia.

Govt announces 2020 ACAR

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the government is seeking feedback on where to allocate 10,000 new residential aged care beds in 2020. Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck announced in December that applications for the 2020 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) will open in March 2020 and close in May 2020. ACAR 2020 will offer:

  • 10,000 residential aged care places
  • 750 short-term restorative care places
  • up to $60 million in capital grants for residential aged care.

WA launches ten-year elder abuse strategy

According to Community Care Review, the West Australian government has released a ten-year strategy to help prevent elder abuse, which is estimated to affect up to 49,000 people in the state. The WA Strategy to Respond to the Abuse of Older People contains four main pillars built around education, support, safeguards and effective responses. It’s estimated that as many as 14 per cent of older Western Australians – between 7,000 and 49,000 seniors – are experiencing or have experienced abuse.

Dementia resource helps pick up signs of abuse

According to Community Care Review, guidelines for picking up warning signs of elder abuse are included in a new resource to help GPs and primary care workers recognise and manage dementia in the community. The resource, People with dementia: A care guide for general practice was developed a team of experts who say there’s a need to address the lack of guidance for primary care on managing the condition. The guide says while there is no “gold standard” method for identifying elder abuse, looking out for signs, symptoms and risk factors for abuse can help GPs, nurses and other primary carers broach the topic and assess for harm. It recommends proactive management of risks by GPS and primary carers as part of a comprehensive care plan and stresses the need for clear documentation of risks, signs and symptoms of abuse.

New digital roster system aims to free care workers

According to Community Care Review, a new digital platform that allows community care workers to view, create, change and cancel shifts from a mobile device while they are in the field has joined the market. CarelinkAir Roster, released by cloud software company Civica in November, builds on the company’s current CarelinkAir platform, which gives staff access to digital forms while away from the office. The technology adds to a range of currently available community care digital solutions that are designed to reduce data entry duplication and enable employee and client data to be accessed remotely.


Aged Care Legislation Amendment (New Commissioner Functions) Act 2019 (Cth) – Act commenced 1 January 2020

The purpose of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (New Commissioner Functions) Act 2019 is to transfer additional aged care regulatory functions of the Secretary of the Department of Health to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner. This reform completes the two-year agenda to strengthen and enhance aged care regulation to protect and assure the quality of care provided to consumers of Australian Government funded aged care. It delivers on the intention as set out in the objects of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018.

Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 (Cth) – submissions on latest draft Bill close 31.01.20

Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Freedom of Religion) Bill 2019 (Cth) – submissions on the second exposure draft and explanatory materials close 31.01.2020

On 13 December 2018, the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General released the Report of the Religious Freedom Review. The Review made several recommendations and concluded that there is an opportunity to further protect and better promote freedom of religion under Australian law and in the community. In its response, the Australian Government committed to a range of measures to implement the Review's recommendations. These form the basis of the legislative package the government will introduce into Parliament. The Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 will make consequential amendments necessary to implement the Religious Discrimination Bill. The stated aim of the Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Freedom of Religion) Bill 2019 is to amend existing Commonwealth legislation to better protect the right to freedom of religion.

Resources and Upcoming Events

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?

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.

Material change form revision and key personnel

On 28 October 2019, the Department of Health updated the Notification of a Material Change Form. This update:

  • removed the direction not to report key personnel
  • added fields to collect third party information
  • updated existing fields to make them more specific
  • revised the privacy notice.

From late 2016, the department advised that key personnel did not generally need to be reported (except in relation to disqualified individuals). The department now considers that changes in key personnel may be material to a provider’s suitability and as a result will need to be reported.

The department is now seeking updates of key personnel information to ensure records are accurate in relation to the current state for approved providers. Providers are encouraged to review their circumstances, including arrangements with third party organisations, and notify the department where they consider it is a material change to previous operations.

Online claiming for Aged Care providers is changing

The Department of Human Services is developing a new Aged Care Provider Portal. The new portal will be a secure place for aged care providers to access our online services and make claims for aged care subsidies and supplements. It will eventually replace two current systems – Aged Care Online Services for Home Care and the Aged Care Online Claiming System for Residential Care. The portal will be similar to the current portals but with some improved features to make it easier to use. The new portal will also introduce a more secure authentication and log in method using Provider Digital Access (PRODA). To access the new portal individuals will need to sign up for PRODA. If your users don’t already have a PRODA account, they should register for one now in preparation. The Department will let you know when it’s time to switch over to the new Aged Care Provider Portal.

Material change form update

The Department of Health has made updates to the material change form to make it clearer what information you need to provide when submitting a change, including in relation to third parties. Approved providers are required to notify any change of circumstance that materially affects their suitability to be a provider of aged care within 28 days of the change occurring. For example, if the approved provider is unable to manage its financial responsibilities or goes into external administration, makes substantial changes to its organisational or governance structure or has a change in key personnel. The form is now available on the department’s website.

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.

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.

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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