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Weekly Wrap: 25 October 2020

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Weekly Wrap: 25 October 2020

Aged care news highlights from the week ending 25 October 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

There is work to do: Aged Care Minister

According to Inside Ageing, Australia’s aged care minister has highlighted the “significant amount of work for us all to do” to create a properly resourced high-quality sector. Speaking to the Leading Age Services Australia 10-day Congress today Mr Colbeck outlined the Australian Government funding and actions over the last year, which have totalled $4.6 billion in COVID-19-related boosts and additional funding. He said 2020 had been a year of challenge, given the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and the devastation of COVID-19. “It has been a test for us all in the sector, government, providers, residents and families and consumers groups,” he said.

 

Updated directives for Victorian aged care workers

(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 Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued updated directives for workers and providers of residential aged care in Victoria.

The new aged care worker directive includes details on mobility restrictions for workers who have worked at an outbreak site or restricted zone and information on access restrictions for workers and visitors, templates for the Worker Declaration and the Visitor Declaration are available for you to use. Information is also included on asymptomatic testing of aged care workers and requirements on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The full updated directive for Victorian workers can be found on the DHHS website.

 

Fact Sheet: Testing of Asymptomatic Workers

This Fact Sheet from the Department of Health explains why some asymptomatic aged care staff are being tested for COVID-19, who will be conducting the testing and how you will know if your facility is going to be tested.

 

Guide to buying PPE for COVID-19

(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 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
  • Information on WHS duties.

The guide also contains information on national, state and territory portals that have been established to help connect buyers and sellers of PPE. While these may assist you in finding new suppliers, it is important to conduct your own due diligence when deciding to purchase PPE.

The guide is not intended to replace information from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Safe Work Australia or other health authorities.

 

ACQSC translated resources

(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 has a range of translated resources available to assist aged care providers, the aged care workforce and aged care recipients.

The video How to stay safe from COVID-19 is available in 15 different languages. It aims to help older Australians and aged care service users understand the steps they can take to keep themselves safe during the current pandemic, including basic hygiene and physical distancing.

The poster What to expect during a COVID-19 outbreak is also available in 15 languages and is designed to help residents understand what to expect in a COVID-19 outbreak, when a number of changes will be made very quickly.

These resources are in addition to a range of translated resources on the Department of Health’s website.

Aged care providers and staff are reminded of the need to consult relevant state and territory guidelines, as well as federal advice.

 

Update on VACRC early warning system 

(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) COVID-19 Early Warning System (EWS) will cease operations from 22 October 2020.

The system was designed to identify COVID-19 infections early through a voluntary notification process. However, in its current form, the EWS is not an accurate way to provide early detection.

A coordinated program of COVID-19 testing of aged care workers is being introduced across Victoria. This process will serve as a form of early warning for the presence of infection in facilities.

Please note, you must still notify positive COVID-19 test results, immediately by email to teamone.ccom@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

 

Living well in the COVID-19 pandemic

(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, as restrictions are easing at different rates in NSW and Victoria, older Australians are reminded to take a risk based approach to social outings. It is recommended that older Australians consider their own risk factors, along with the number of COVID-19 cases in their area, and assess what activities are important to them and how much risk those activities carry.

Resources are available to support these decisions, including aLiving Well in the COVID-19 Pandemicdocument, along with a COVID-19 Action Plan that can help you manage risks as you move about.

 

Mental health support for aged care workers

(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, while the pandemic has changed so much about the way we live and work, maintaining good mental health is very important, particularly so for workers in aged care. There are a range of resources available to support the aged care workforce.

Resources include the Department’s Head to Healthsite, which can help you find digital mental health services from some of Australia’s most trusted organisations. It brings together apps, online programs, online forums, and phone services, as well as a range of digital information resources.

Digital and phone support for mental health during COVID-19 has been strengthened with a number of digital and telehealth support services, including for vulnerable people and those with severe and complex needs.

Beyond Blue has produced a flyer detailing the support they can offer during COVID-19 which can be printed and displayed on notice boards for the residents and staff, and emailed to the families and friends of residents.

 

Queensland relaxes COVID rules for aged care, weddings

According to Aged Care Insite, larger groups of Queenslanders will be able to hit the dancefloor at weddings after the state clocked up 36 days without COVID-19 community transmission. Aged care facility residents will also be allowed to go on excursions as the state’s health restrictions were further eased from 4pm on Friday.

 

Grief and trauma support webinar

(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 Government has recently announced the organisations to deliver a grief and trauma package to support those touched by COVID-19 in the aged care sector. The Older Person’s Advocacy Network (OPAN) is hosting a webinar to introduce the providers of the $12.4 million package. The webinar will present what supports are available for aged care recipients, their loved ones and aged care staff and how to access services.

Representatives of each organisation delivering the package will talk you through the support their organisation can offer. The webinar will cover:

  • The varying ways in which COVID-19 may have impacted mental health
  • The different ways grief and trauma may feel (and look)
  • The grief and trauma services that are available to support aged care recipients, their loved ones and aged care staff
  • What trauma informed care is and how aged care facilities can access training and resources
  • The support and services available for carers and aged care providers of people living with dementia
  • How to access these support services.

Joining OPAN on the panel will be:

  • Marie Alford – Dementia Support Australia
  • Associate Professor Andrea Phelps – Phoenix Australia
  • Chris Hall – The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement.

There will be the opportunity to ask panellists questions during the webinar via a live Q&A function. You can also submit a question in advance when you register for this event.

The webinar is on Wednesday 28 October 2020, 3pm to 4pm AEDT.

The webinar will be recorded and available on the OPAN website for viewing if you cannot attend on the day.

 

Govt’s grief and trauma support lacks measures for staff

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the Federal Government’s package for grief and trauma will increase aged care workers’ already heavy workloads and not adequately support them, an aged care workforce expert tells Australian Ageing Agenda. Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck announced a $12.4 million grief and trauma package on Wednesday to support people in the aged care sector affected by COVID-19. It comes as Victoria reports one new case linked to residential aged care facilities and 23 active cases among a cumulative total of 4,632, according to data from the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre on 15 October.

 

Investigation into use of blood glucose monitoring devices in COVID-19 accommodation

According to Victoria Health, the Department of Health and Human Services is supporting Safer Care Victoria and Alfred Health to identify and contact residents whose blood glucose levels were measured using provided devices while in COVID-19 accommodation, between 29 March and 20 August 2020.

Blood glucose level testing devices intended for use by one person were used across other residents. The lancet (or needle) was changed between individuals, however, the body of the device could have retained microscopic amounts of blood. This is where the cross-contamination risk lies if used across multiple people. The devices were immediately removed from use in COVID-19 accommodation when Alfred Health became aware they were in use.

An independent Expert Advisory Group has advised that this situation presents a low risk of blood borne virus (hepatitis B and C, and HIV) transmission to people who have had a BGL taken using the provided equipment. These people are therefore being contacted to be offered precautionary screening and follow up care. The department is supporting the review of resident health records and contacting people to determine whether they may have had the test.

Those considered at risk will be contacted subsequently by Alfred Health to arrange screening. Safer Care Victoria is conducting an independent review to identify what happened and why and will make recommendations for systems improvements.

 

Other News

Royal commission lawyers spell out 124 recommendations for commissioners

According to Aged Care Insite, Australia’s aged care system is littered with systemic failures, rife with abuse and needs to put people first, a royal commission has heard. Counsel assisting Peter Rozen put forward 124 recommendations for commissioners to consider during the second-last day of hearings on Thursday. He said there has been an absence of leadership by successive governments in aged care. “Even though the aged care system caters for more than 1.2 million older people, governments have treated it as a lower-order priority,” Rozen said.

 

Minister promises quick response to RC’s final report

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the government intends to respond as quickly as possible to the aged care royal commission’s recommendations when it is handed down in February next year, the aged care minister has told an industry conference. Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck highlighted the government’s response to COVID-19 to date, reiterating it $1.6 million contribution for residential aged care to manage the pandemic in an address to the LASA Ten Days of Congress yesterday.

 

Staffing top concern for aged care residents

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, almost half of aged care residents have concerns related to staff and understaffing, a new report commissioned by aged care royal commission shows. The National Ageing Research Institute report, which was produced in partnership with Ipsos and the Social Policy Research Centre of the University of New South Wales, was published this morning alongside a complementary report on home and respite care perspectives. It is the royal commission’s 13th report and involved a survey of 391 aged care residents from 67 aged care facilities. The survey examined residents’ experience of care, quality of life, concerns and complaints including whether the complaints were resolved.

 

Call for independent assessors for new classification scheme

According to Inside Ageing, the Australian Government is seeking providers for a new aged care classification scheme to independently assess 300,000 aged care residents from next year, as part of its planned overhaul of the $21 billion sector. The Australian National Aged Care Classification, developed by the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) and University of Wollongong with clinical experts, features a provider funding model, care recipient classification mode and assessment scheme. The tender is being facilitated by AusTender and closes November 13 – Details can be viewed here.

 

Bill introduced to make providers spending public

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, South Australian Centre Alliance Member of Parliament Rebekha Sharkie has introduced a bill into Federal Parliament this week calling for greater transparency in how the aged care sector spends the government funding it receives. Ms Sharkie, who is Federal member for Mayo, introduced the Private Member’s Bill on Monday.If adopted, it will require residential aged care providers to disclose their income, spending on food, medication, staff, training, accommodation and administration and how much they pay their parent bodies.

 

First stage of aged care research centre underway

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, a federally-funded research and business collaboration is developing the operational model for the sector’s $34 million aged care research centre. Flinders University in Adelaide and national consultancy firm Wells Advisory have been awarded the tender to develop an operational model for the Centre for Aged Care Growth and Translational Research.

 

Trust in aged care remains low but steady, report shows

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, more Australians believe aged care recipients are treated with respect, consideration and empathy this year than they did last year, but they are still in the minority. It is the same for people’s trust in the aged care system, according to the Inside Aged Care Report 2020, which insights agency Faster Horses Consulting developed based on a survey of 2,072 Australians. The report, which is the third in the series to date, investigated the general public and aged care recipients’ views on trust, funding, innovation, transparency and care quality in the aged care industry. It found that 44 per cent of respondents perceive aged care residents are treated with respect and consideration (44 per cent), up from 38 per cent last year.

 

Nutrition for seniors

(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, senior Australians have been encouraged to maintain a healthy diet as the COVID-19 pandemic changes the way we live, work, study and socialise.

As part of National Nutrition Week, the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, has urged people of all ages to eat well to boost their immunity and overall health.

He said this is particularly important for senior and vulnerable Australians.

“Eating well is at the foundation of our individual health but this can be challenging for many people during such difficult times,” Minister Colbeck said.

Minister Colbeck praised the efforts of meal delivery services like Meals on Wheels, which plays a crucial role in supporting the health and wellbeing of over 200,000 older Australians across 592 service locations.

View the Minister’s media release.

 

LASA session to explore aged-care design

According to Hospital and Healthcare, Leading Age Services Australia’s (LASA) current online event, Ten Days of Congress (12–23 October), will include a session aimed at helping non-designers understand how to harness design to help the seniors and aged-care sector deal with the many issues it is currently facing. Presented by James Kelly, Seniors Living & Care Partner at ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects, the session — Designing for community, connection and sense of place — will explore innovative design as a powerful tool for change.

 

Denmark’s ageing in place success story

According to Community Care Review, Denmark has been able to cut hospital visits and reduce the need for residential aged care by its proactive approach to home care, which includes the use of aged care “event planners”. Michelle Carden from the Royal Danish Embassy in Canberra discussed why the Danish model for ageing in place has become an international success story at the LASA conference on Tuesday.

 

Legislation

Aged Care Amendment (Aged Care Recipient Classification) Bill 2020 [CTH] – Bill introduced 21.10.20

The Aged Care Amendment (Aged Care Recipient Classification) Bill 2020 amends the Aged Care Act 1997 to introduce an additional, discretionary procedure for classification of recipients of residential aged care and some kinds of flexible care.

The amendments will allow for the introduction of a new classification system focused on independently determining the care needs of older Australians accessing residential aged care and some types of flexible care.

 

Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No. 2) Bill 2020 [CTH] – Bill introduced 21.10.20

The purpose of the Bill is to improve the administration arrangements of paying home care subsidy to approved providers.

Approved providers are currently required to provide a monthly statement to their

home care recipients that shows the care recipient’s available funds, how the funds are being spent (i.e. care and services delivered) and the amount of unspent funds. The measures in the Bill improve financial accountability and allow for better transparency over the actual use of funds for home care service delivery by requiring approved providers to also report to the Commonwealth the cost of care and services delivered to the home care recipient each month in order for the subsidies to be paid to the approved provider.

Currently, approved providers hold and manage any accumulated unspent funds (both Commonwealth subsidy and consumer contributions) that may arise over time on behalf of the home care recipient if the cost of the care and services they access is less than the sum of their home care fees and subsidies paid by the Commonwealth. Once the measures in the Bill commence, the Commonwealth will retain, on behalf of care recipients, the Commonwealth subsidy that may be in excess of the services provided, to be drawn down in future.

 

Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Financial Transparency) Bill 2020 [No. 2] [CTH] – Bill introduced 19.10.20

A Private Member's Bill to amend the Aged Care Act 1997 to require residential aged care providers to give an annual financial transparency report to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, who would then make them public. The Bill also amends the Corporations Act 2001 to ensure residential aged care providers include detailed financial information in their annual financial statements.

The Bill requires aged care providers to disclose their income, their spend on food and medication, the amount spent on staff and staff training, accommodation, administration, and how much they pay out to their parent bodies.

 

Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia) (Telepharmacy) Amendment Bill 2020 (No. 80 of 2020) [SA] – Introduced 15.10.20

The purpose of this Bill is to make permanent the legal provisions for the authorising of telepharmacy in South Australia. Similar temporary provisions were supported by members as part of the COVID-19 Emergency Response (Further Measures) (No.2) Amendment Bill. These provisions were extended with the passage of the COVID-19 Emergency Response (Expiry and Rent) Amendment Bill 2020 and are set to expire on 6 February 2021.

 

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.

 

Clinical Governance in Aged Care Conference – online 28 and 28 October 2020

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the Clinical Governance in Aged Care conference is taking place on 28th & 29th October 2020 via live stream and will support you with the knowledge and practical insights to improve safety, accountability and compliance. You'll learn strategies to help you deliver improved outcomes as an aged care provider for your customers through the pandemic and beyond.

 

CaldWays Conference 2020 – 29-30 October 2020

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, it’s time to increase your cultural intelligence. Learn from leaders who have transformed their organisations to be genuinely inclusive of CALD communities, older people, Indigenous Australians, LGBTIQ+ and other groups that are too often misunderstood and ignored.

 

Webinar 29 October 2020 – Dementia: a multidisciplinary approach to caring for people with changed behaviours

According to the Department of Health, the department has engaged NPS MedicineWise to deliver this free webinar for nurses, GPs, pharmacists and other aged care workers.

The webinar will cover:

  • using a person-centred approach in the management of changed behaviours
  • working as part of a multidisciplinary team to implement non-pharmacological strategies
  • overcoming barriers.

A multidisciplinary panel will discuss a case study and provide their collective perspectives on how they work together and collaborate with families and people living with dementia. Panel members include:

  • Professor Henry Brodaty, Director, Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration
  • Theresa Flavin, person currently living with dementia
  • Ellie Newman, physiotherapist and Director UWA, Dementia Training Australia
  • Dr Allan Shell, GP and senior educator for the Timely Diagnosis project
  • Dr Andrew Stafford, academic and accredited pharmacist
  • Perri Waddell, registered nurse
  • Kara Joyce, NPS MedicineWise facilitator

This webinar is part of a broader education program designed to improve dementia care.

 

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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