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.

Read Now

Weekly Wrap: 01 November 2020

All Posts

Weekly Wrap: 01 November 2020

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 01 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

National Reopening Framework

(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 Framework for National Reopening builds on the 3-Step Framework for a COVIDSafe Australia, to nationally reopen to a state of ‘COVID Normal’, wherever it is safe to do so, by December 2020. The aim of the framework is to provide consideration and guidance for a reopening of Australia whilst managing the health impacts and severity of COVID-19.

The framework includes:

  • Key principles and pillars to support a COVIDSafe Australia
  • Best practice health components
  • Industry preparedness, restrictions and risk mitigation for business
  • Proposed steps and timings summary
  • The proposed new three step framework

It is important that you continue to keep up to date with the latest state/territory requirements. States and territories have the decision making authority in relation to public health measures. The framework has not been endorsed by the Western Australian Government.

 

New 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, time is running out to move to the new Aged Care Provider Portal. Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, aged care providers have until 20 November 2020 to get access to Services Australia’s new Aged Care Provider Portal. The new Aged Care Provider Portal (ACPP) has improved features that make it secure and easier to use and is designed to minimise the time it takes for providers to submit their claims online. 

Key features include:

  • Faster processing – The ACPP does not ‘timeout’ like older portals and features an intuitive design that allows for faster event and claim submission. 
  • ‘Save as you go’ ACFIs – ACPP users can save a ‘draft ACFI’ and come back to complete and submit any time within a 7 day period.
  • Provider Self-Service – ACPP users with Organisation Administrator access can easily manage which users can view information and submit claims without having to contact the agency. 
  • Quick & easy navigation between services – Users can easily switch between all the services you have access to across Residential Care, Home Care, Transition Care and Short-Term Restorative Care.   

Users of business-to-government (B2G) software will need to get ACPP access to continue to check the status of submitted events and claims. This is in addition to any third party software you currently use. If you need help in supporting your transition, please contact us on 1800 195 206 (Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time). Visit the Services Australia website for more information.

 

Minister shirks fault for aged care deaths

According to Aged Care Insite, the minister in charge of Australia’s aged care system doesn’t feel personally responsible for residents dying from coronavirus. Some 683 aged care residents have died in nursing homes with COVID-19. Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck has used a Senate estimates hearing to defend the federal government’s response, putting the blame on Victoria. “I don’t feel responsible personally for the deaths that have occurred – as tragic as they all are – that have been caused by COVID-19,” Colbeck said on Tuesday when asked if he felt ministerial responsibility for the deaths.

 

Providers told to act on workforce reforms now

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, there are several principles in the sector’s workforce strategy that aged care providers should implement immediately instead of waiting for the aged care royal commission’s final report, the author of the strategy tells an aged care conference. Professor John Pollaers, the former chair of the aged care workforce strategy taskforce and lead author of its final report A Matter of Care addressed last week’s Strengthening the Aged Care Workforce conference about where to from here.

“The conversation that we really want to have… about where do we go from here is to recognise what we can do for ourselves,” Professor Pollaers told the conference. “It’s important to acknowledge that… we cannot afford to answer the question ‘where to from here’ by saying we’re going to wait for the outcomes of the royal commission, or we’re going to wait for the government to design a new system,” said Professor Pollaers, chancellor of Swinburne University of Technology and executive chairman at Leef Independent Living Solutions.

 

Reminder on Requesting PPE from the National Medical Stockpile 

(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, providers are reminded that additional P2/N95 masks are being made available from the National Medical Stockpile to residential aged care facilities in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire.

All facilities in these areas will be able to request P2/N95 respirator masks using a one-off request form. Requests should be submitted by 30 October 2020.

If additional PPE is required and it cannot be sourced through your usual means, you can submit a request to the National Medical Stockpile through the usual online PPE form. Applications for additional PPE will be prioritised and distributed to aged care facilities that are most in need.

Providers are also reminded that the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources has developed a guide to assist organisations when purchasing PPE for COVID-19. It is designed to provide information on PPE and factors to be aware of when buying PPE.

The four-page guide covers key information consumers need to know when purchasing PPE, including:

  • Information on how PPE is regulated
  • Information on common types of PPE and how they are used
  • Tips to avoid fraud
  • Information on consumer rights

 

Order your flu vaccines now to prepare for the 2021 influenza season

(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, it is critical for aged care providers to be commencing preparations for the 2021 influenza season and to be on the front foot in ordering vaccines. Influenza vaccination is more important than ever in aged care given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In Australia the influenza season usually peaks between June and September. In 2020 there was strong demand for seasonal influenza vaccines early in the season which remained consistent. Given demand for influenza vaccines will likely remain high next year, now is the time to consider your influenza vaccination requirements and take action.

More information on the most up-to-date recommendations for the use of vaccines in Australia is available in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

 

Guidance for Aged Care Facilities Dealing with COVID-19 in Victoria

(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 Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) has developed a number of resources and guidance for aged care facilities dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19. This includes advice on communicating with families.

Resources include factsheets on establishing and maintaining ongoing communications with residents, nominated representatives, families and staff in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak and a contact details template. In addition, factsheets are available on personal protective equipment and visiting residential aged care facilities in Victoria.

A new factsheet has been developed for aged care staff looking after elderly residents. This provides guidance for managing the risk to older people’s physical, nutritional and psycho-social status. Even where residents are COVID-19 negative, lockdown, isolation and disruption to usual activities, processes and supports can still have a major impact on residents.

 

Updated Advice for New Residential and Home Care Services  

(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 written to the state’s Residential Aged Care Providers and Home Care Services with new advice. Key updates include:

Staff who have been in Shepparton are no longer excluded.

There remains a risk of community transmission in NSW and wearing of masks provides an additional barrier of protection. As a precaution NSW Health recommends over the next week all facilities and home care providers plan for all staff to wear surgical masks when at work.

Exclude visitors if they have been in the following areas in the 14 days: Liverpool LGA, Camden LGA, Bayside LGA, Waverley LGA and Randwick LGA. Some visitors may be allowed after a risk assessment and when extra measures are put in place.

Facilities are urged to monitor the latest COVID-19 news and updated locations, for any areas of concern.

 

Older adults may not get early COVID-19 jab

According to Aged Care Insite, elderly Australians may not get early access to a coronavirus vaccine if the medicine has not been trialled on older age groups. Department of Health secretary Brendan Murphy said older Australians were considered the most vulnerable and they would be the priority for receiving a vaccine. “However, most of the vaccines have not been trialled in the over-65s and it’s quite likely that the first registrations of some vaccines will exclude them being used in over-65s,” Murphy told a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday. “So we then have to think about a second level priority.”

 

Dr Norman Swan explores COVID-19's impact on future aged care

According to Aged Care Guide, physician and ABC producer, journalist and broadcaster, Dr Norman Swan, expressed the need for costly changes in a fragmented and ill-working aged care sector, and outlined the suspected changes we should expect to see in the industry following COVID-19.

 

Other News

Responses to Counsel Assisting’s final submissions close on 12 November 2020

In the Final Hearing of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Senior Counsel Assisting, Peter Gray QC and Peter Rozen QC, presented submissions on behalf of the Counsel Assisting team over two days. Counsel Assisting have also published final written submissions, which include 124 proposed recommendations and an annexure on the timing of implementation of these proposed recommendations.

Any interested person may provide a response to Counsel Assisting’s final submissions and other matters arising at the hearing, including remarks made by Commissioners. Visit the final hearing page to learn more.

 

Sector’s financial performance declines further

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, almost six in 10 aged care homes in Australia are making a loss, highlighting the sector’s broken funding model, the latest report from benchmarking firm StewartBrown has found. For the 12 months ending June 2020, 58 per cent of homes recorded a loss, up from 56 per 12 months ago. The data released this week shows aged care homes on average made a $6.90 loss per bed per day before tax, which is more than double the $2.62 loss reported in 2018-19. But without the COVID-19 funding, it would have been 64 per cent of homes recording a loss and a $9.84 loss per bed per day on average, according to StewartBrown’s June 2020 Aged Care Financial Performance Survey of 1,190 aged care homes.

 

Ratios recommended to royal commission

According to Inside Ageing, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has flagged potential recommendations for mandated staffing ratios for residential care, an enforceable duty of care and an independent pricing authority for pricing in its final hearings.

After two years of evidence and investigation into the industry, counsel assisting the inquiry Peter Rozen, QC, yesterday outlined a roadmap for change with 124 areas for consideration by the commissioners.

The full set of recommendations can be accessed here.

He said the level of substandard care across the industry was too high and more oversight and regulation was required.

 

Recommendations put aged care on right track, say stakeholders

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, Counsel Assisting’s final submissions to the royal commission give hope for positive reform in the sector, aged care industry peak bodies and other representatives say. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety heard 124 recommendations to overhaul 18 aspects of the aged care system from Counsel Assisting’s final submissions last week. The key suggestions include a new act based on human rights principles, a new and independent process for setting aged care quality standards and mandated staffing ratios in residential aged care.

 

Pushback on proposal to take aged care out of government

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, senior counsel assisting the aged care royal commission have made the case for the creation of an independent body that would take responsibility for aged care out of the hands of the government and its bureaucrats. In their final submission, Peter Gray QC and Peter Rozen QC recommend the establishment of an Australian Aged Care Commission independent of government and responsible for administering and regulating the aged care system. Royal Commissioner Lynelle Briggs described the proposal as “quite extraordinary … and even courageous” and questioned whether such a move would be in the best interests of older Australians.

 

Briggs takes aim: aged care commissioner calls recommendations ‘radical’, commissioners disagree on direction of aged care

According to Aged Care Insite, in a surprising interaction at Thursday’s final hearing into the aged care royal commission, Commissioner Lynelle Briggs appeared to attack the recommendations of the counsels assisting midway through the hearing. The first morning of the two-day hearing saw Counsel assisting Peter Gray start running through the salient points of the mammoth 124 recommendations, explaining what evidence led them to those recommendations. Gray had gone through a few big-ticket items on the proposed reforms in detail, including the creation of a new Aged Care Commission, an Aged Care Advisory Council and the creation of an inspector general of aged care – all independent oversight bodies – before Briggs interjected with her own view on the topic. Describing the recommendations as extraordinary and courageous – which did not seem to be a compliment – Briggs challenged the counsels assisting, asserting that finding land, building offices and staffing any new bodies would take too long and cost too much. She also strangely took aim at the idea that the new bodies would lie outside of Canberra.

 

RC’s oral health recommendations a ‘win’

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, Counsel Assisting’s proposals on improving dental care for aged care recipients are welcome and need to remain a priority in the royal commission’s final report, the head of a dental peak body tells Australian Ageing Agenda.

 

What to expect from the freehold aged care sector in 2021

According to Inside Ageing, in this guest post, the team at CBRE Healthcare and Social Infrastructure share their predictions on leasing yields and freehold property values and what this means for the aged care sector in the current period.

 

Disgraced ex-Opal boss given large government contract to look into aged care finance

According to Aged Care Insite, officials from the Department of Health have defended giving over $900,000 in contracts to a firm headed up by disgraced former Opal Aged Care managing director Gary Barnier. A senate estimates hearing on Tuesday heard that Cooperage Capital Pty Limited has received two grants from the Department of Health this year on limited tender, to help look at financial pressures in aged care. Officials confirmed that Cooperage is “largely” run by Barnier, who is also a board member of the department’s Aged Care Financing Authority, and that Cooperage signed two contracts with the health department for $415,800 and $503,800. Barnier is a controversial figure in the aged care industry. He left Opal Aged Care abruptly in 2017, before an investigation into his conduct as managing director reached its conclusion.

 

Undergraduate and postgraduate aged care scholarships 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, the Australian College of Nursing (ACN), with the support of the Department of Health, is proud to administer undergraduate and postgraduate aged care scholarships. Funding of up to $30,000 is available to support undergraduate and postgraduate study. Scholarships are available for those who are studying or intending to study one of the following courses in semester one 2021:

  • Certificate IV in Aged Care
  • Diploma of Nursing
  • Advanced Diploma of Nursing
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Masters

Additional scholarship places have recently been announced and recipients may be eligible to receive a completion bonus at the end of their course. Applications close 8 November 2020.

For more information and to apply, visit the ACN website for:

Aged Care Scholarships: Undergraduate

Aged Care Nursing Scholarships: Postgraduate

To discuss these opportunities further, contact the ACN Scholarships team by:

phoning 1800 116 696

emailing scholarships@acn.edu.au

 

CHSP funding to replace Social and Community Services Supplement payment from 1 July 2021

(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, Social and Community Services (SACS) funding will cease from 30 June 2021 when the SACS special account legislation sunsets. To support CHSP providers to continue to deliver key services to vulnerable older Australians, the Government has agreed to increase the ongoing base funding of all Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) providers who are receiving SACS funding in the 2020-21 financial year.

The department will work with the Community Grants Hub to vary grant agreements of eligible CHSP service providers. CHSP providers should receive a deed of variation shortly. CHSP providers are encouraged to sign and return their deed of variation as soon as possible to avoid any impact on the January 2021 payment. For more information, please contact your Community Grants Hub Funding Arrangement Manager (FAM).

 

Survey – Role of lump sum accommodation payments in the residential aged care sector

(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 Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) has commissioned the Macquarie University Centre for the Health Economy (MUCHE) to explore the role of lump sum accommodation payments in the residential aged care sector.

Your organisation is invited to participate in an online survey, which will collect information on current and future use of lump sum accommodation payments within your organisation. It will also seek your opinion on the future of residential aged care accommodation financing.

The survey should be completed by a person in your organisation that is familiar with its financial operations, including the use of lump sum accommodation payments. All survey responses will be kept confidential and held on a secured server. The survey respondent and your organisation will remain anonymous to the research team, ACFA and the department.

Information collected from the survey will be used to develop key themes on the role of lump sum accommodation payments in residential aged care. These will be included in the final report from MUCHE which will be delivered to ACFA. Please complete the survey which closes on 13 November 2020. The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete.

 

Home Care Packages Program Data Report 4th Quarter 2019-20

(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 4th Quarter 2019-20 Home Care Packages Program Data Report was released on 22 October 2020. The report is available on the AIHW GEN aged care data website.

 

Legislation

Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No. 1) Bill 2020 (CTH) – Bill passed 28.10.20

The purpose of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No. 1) Bill 2020 (the Bill) is to change the payment of home care subsidy to approved providers from being paid in advance to being paid in arrears.

Paying home care subsidy in arrears will introduce a more contemporary business practice into home care subsidy payment arrangements and bring these arrangements into alignment with other Government programs.

The Bill will not affect the eligibility of consumers to home care subsidy or the amount of home care subsidy payable for eligible home care consumers.

 

Resources and Upcoming Events

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.

Related Posts

Subscribe