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: 22 November 2020

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Weekly Wrap: 22 November 2020

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 22 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

Updated Direction for South Australian 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, in response to a number of new cases of COVID-19 in South Australia, the South Australian government has issued updated Directions for Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs). The updated Directions outline the following requirements:

  • Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn if a worker is providing care to a resident and cannot maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from the resident. The South Australian COVID-19 Strategy for Residential Aged Care Facilities outlines how and when PPE should be worn.
  • Care workers must not provide personal care to a resident at a second RACF within 14 days of providing care to a resident at another RACF. Care workers, including contractors and volunteers, must notify the RACF of any additional places of employment.
  • A worker must not enter or remain on the premises of a RACF unless they have completed COVID-19 infection control training.
  • Residents will be restricted to two visitors per day.

All aged care workers are reminded to complete COVID-19 infection control training. Additional training modules, specifically designed for aged care workers are also available on the Department of Health’s website. Full details are included in the full Residential Aged Care Facilities No 13 Direction. Please continue to stay up to date with advice and Directions on the SA Health website.

 

South Australia will end its hard lockdown on Saturday night — three days early

According to ABC News, South Australia will come out of hard lockdown on Saturday night — three days early — and outdoor exercise with family or housemates will be allowed "effective immediately". It comes as the state records three new coronavirus cases, all of which were already in quarantine and were close contacts of one of the medi-hotel security guards and the Brompton aged care home. Premier Steven Marshall thanked South Australians for "their spirit" during this lockdown, which only allowed people to leave their homes once a day to obtain essential goods. But he said authorities decided to end the lockdown after discovering one of the positive cases at the centre of the Woodville Pizza Bar coronavirus hotspot had misled contact tracers.

 

ACQSC Assessment contacts of South Australian residential 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, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Commission) has begun telephoning all approved providers of residential services in South Australia from Monday 16 November 2020.

The Commission is seeking assurances from providers that COVID-19 response plans have been developed and are ready for immediate activation. This includes confirmation that services have arrangements in place to manage risks to consumers and to provide staffing supply.

The telephone call is not an assessment of performance against the Standards. The call will take approximately 30 minutes and arrangements will be made to call back if the provider is busy at the time of the call.

 

Victorian Guiding Principles ending on 30 November

(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 'Guiding Principles for residential aged care – keeping Victorian residents and workers safe' (the Principles) began on 27 July 2020 and will end on 30 November 2020 in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

Providers of non-government aged care facilities should begin transitioning with normal working arrangements recommencing from 1 December 2020. Public Sector facilities in Victoria are continuing single site arrangements until February 2021, as funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

Various supports are available to assist this transition:

The Guiding Principles Support Hub or free call 1800 491 793

Staff counselling support, visit Converge International or free call 1800 687 327 (till Dec 30)

Please state that you are from the "Vic Residential Aged Care Workforce" when booking an appointment

The Support for Aged Care Workers (SACWIC) grant ends on 30 November. Eligible providers can lodge SACWIC applications until 30 June 2021.

Providers are also encouraged to continue to limit workforce mobility where possible and to take steps to understand their workforce by developing a register for recording each workers’ mobility, skills and training. The Department is currently updating the CDNA national guidelines for the prevention, control and public health management of COVID-19 outbreaks in residential care facilities in Australia to include advice relating to preparing for single site workforce arrangements should these be implemented in the future.

 

Updated NSW advice for aged care 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, the NSW Ministry of Health has updated advice for staff and visitors of residential aged care facilities and home care service providers. Services are now advised to exclude staff and visitors who:

NSW aged care providers should continue to monitor the NSW COVID-19 Website for regular updates of venues where confirmed COVID-19 cases have recently attended.

 

Flu Vaccination information

(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, state and territory governments have established directives that set out requirements for visitors and entry into residential aged care facilities, including any mandatory requirements for a flu vaccination. Given the current low transmission rate, these restrictions have been eased in many jurisdictions or have included allowances if the flu vaccination is no longer available now the flu season has ended.

All aged care providers are encouraged to refer to their latest state and territory flu vaccine directive to ensure aged care residents are able to see family and friends, including community volunteer visitors, where it is safe to do so.

The directions are available on the following websites:

 

Pandemic creates prime opportunity for change: academics

According to Aged Care Insite, there has never been a better time to fix aged care than now. The pandemic has opened wide the existing cracks that run through the sector and academics from the University of Melbourne believe this makes now the time for action. Writing in Pursuit – the university’s research and commentary website – the academics argue that we should be developing processes to strengthen older people’s social networks, community connections, health, and to help people to grow old at home.

 

Other News

ACOC & ACOS closing this Friday, providers to use ACPP instead

(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, this Friday 20 November 2020 at 9pm (AEDT) Aged Care Online Claiming (ACOC) and Aged Care Online Services (ACOS) portals will close. After this date, providers will need to submit claims either:

Providers using business-to-government (B2G) software will need to get ACPP access to continue checking the status of their submitted events and claims regardless of any third party software they currently use.

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, providers have until this Friday (20 November 2020) to request access to the ACPP. It may take up two weeks for applications to be processed.

Once you have access to the ACPP, you can start using it straight away.

If you need help, please contact us on 1800 195 206 Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (AEDT) or via email at aged.care.liaison@servicesaustralia.gov.au.

Visit the Services Australia website for more information.

 

Government-run and Not For Profits out-performing For Profits on quality indicators, Royal Commission research says – but data raises some questions

According to The Weekly Source, the Royal Commission continues its work, even as the 26 February 2021 deadline for the Final Report approaches – and its latest research paper initially appears to be bad news for private operators. Labelled by the Royal Commission as the most detailed profile of quality in residential aged care that has been published in Australia, the huge 249-page three-part ‘Research Paper 15 – Residential Care Quality Indicator Profile’ brings together over 50 quality indicators about residential care including how the results are distributed across facilities. These indicators have then been analysed using statistical methods – and the results are not good for the ‘private’ sector. While Government-run facilities make up just 9% of Australia’s 2,700 aged care services, they had the best average results for 31 indicators, compared to two indicators for Not For Profits (which are 57% of the sector) and one indicator for For Profits (34%). Not For Profit facilities had stronger average results than For Profits facilities on 25 of the indicators, while For Profits had stronger average results just two.

 

Aged Care Workforce Retention Payment 3 and audit program

(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, payment 3 of the Aged Care Workforce Retention (ACWR) program will be paid in January 2021. The value of the third payment will be equal to the second payment, unless a variation to funding is requested.

The census date for the third payment is Monday, 30 November 2020. Providers should undertake a calculation of the eligible workforce in the four weeks preceding the census date and compare the profile to payment 2. If the amount for payment 3 has decreased by more than 10 per cent since payment 2, you will need to submit a variation to the Department. You may submit a variation if the amount for payment 3 is more than payment 2 and you wish to claim for the additional amount.

If a variation is required to payment 3, providers can submit a Variation Request and Declaration, along with an updated Eligible Aged Care Worker Staffing Profile Spreadsheet available on the Department’s website. Variation requests to be submitted to the Department by no later than Friday, 11 December 2020. If there are any concerns providing information by this date, please email ACWR@health.gov.au.

In addition, the Department’s audit program will continue for all payments. As a reminder to organisations participating in the ACWR audit, we encourage you to forward any requested or outstanding information to the auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to finalise audits without delay. If there are concerns providing information, contact PwC at workforceretentiongrant@au.pwc.com or the Department at ACWR@health.gov.au.

 

New voluntary code for accountability and improvement

According to Inside Ageing, an industry code of conduct outlining provider outcomes, accountability and improvement processes has been released in a bid to unify and progress the sector. The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council’s Aged Care Voluntary Industry Code of Practice, released this week, listed seven principles for practical change. In a statement, ACWI chief executive Louise O’Neill said consumers would be able to look to the code to understand how their provider is improving its aged care services and supports. “With industry taking the lead in developing this code, it is fit for purpose for Australian users and the Australian community,” the statement said.

 

Aged care training centre in NSW Budget

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the NSW Government has allocated $2.5 million in the 2020-21 state budget to develop a business case for a residential aged care training facility. The business case will investigate the development of a residential aged care training facility on a TAFE campus to provide the skills training needed to meet the demand for an additional 1 million aged care workers by 2050. NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet, who announced the funding on Sunday, said the TAFE NSW Residential Aged Care Centre of Excellence could be located in either a metropolitan or regional area, depending on the opportunities across the state.

 

Stakeholders respond to Counsel Assisting’s final submissions

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, aged care sector advocates have told the royal commission to expand funding to ensure meals are nutritious, improve access to allied health transition services and adjust the proposed casemix funding approach. Dietitians Australia, the national peak body representing dietitians, welcomed the proposals related to nutrition in its submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in response to Counsel Assisting’s final recommendations in October.

 

Aussies moving 100km to enter aged care: report

According to Aged Care Insite, Sydney to Katoomba. Melbourne to Ballarat. Perth to Waroona. Those are the kinds of distances people in non-metropolitan areas travel from their home to enter residential aged care. New research, released by the royal commission, revealed that many Australians move more than 100 kilometres from their home or drive for more than 60 minutes when beginning permanent residential aged care or using respite at a facility.

 

Legislation

No significant developments this week.

 

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.

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