Aged Care Assessment Teams
ACAT Chat - April 2011
Volume 31 of ACAT Chat - Information for ACATs
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Welcome to Volume 31 of ACAT ChatIn this edition you’ll find lots of new information and a range of articles including an update on the Aged Care Consultations that took place late last year regarding the development of a new ‘front end’ for aged care.
The next round of regional consultations about the transition of community care services for older people under the HACC program to the Commonwealth, and the development of a new 'front end' for aged care information, intake and assessment have just been completed. You can keep up to date with the latest information about the Aged Care Reform at www.yourhealth.gov.au
Other highlights in this edition include a profile of the Senior Australian of the Year, equal rights campaigner, Professor Ron McCallum AO, an update on the ACAT toolkit, and answers to some frequently asked questions. If you have a question that you’d like answered in future editions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The Department also thanks all the ACATs that responded to emergencies from the natural disasters that occurred in several states during the summer months. We appreciate the added pressure that these events bring and that many of you may have been dealing with your own crisis situations at the same time.
Inside this issue:
Aged Care Consultations
ACAT Training Tips
NSW Rural Aged Care Symposium
Locum Bank Victorian Project
Reflections from the field
Update on the Relationship with Veterans’ Home Care and Packaged Care Programs
Update on the National Carer Recognition Framework
Freedom of Information Requests
Consumer Directed Care
ACAT Toolkit Project Update
Assessment of Younger People with Disability
Lost e-Learning Passwords
Senior Australian of the Year
Frequently asked questions
Events New Publications
ACAT Information Sheets
Aged Care Consultations
Improving Information, Intake and Assessment for Aged CareIn early November 2010, a discussion paper titled Improving Information, Intake and Assessment for Aged Care Services was released and provided context for the first phase of national consultations for the development of a new ‘front end’ for aged care.
The consultations were undertaken throughout November and December 2010 and were facilitated by KPMG in each capital city (with the exception of Perth) and Alice Springs.
Across the 12 consultations sessions there have been more than 800 participants, including representation from ACATs, geriatricians, non-government organisations, peak bodies, local, state and territory governments.
Participants embraced the opportunity to share their views, assist in system change, highlight the strengths of the current system and raise issues for consideration.
The feedback from the sessions has been positive and this information will be used to help refine the national model for the new ‘front end’ (‘one stop shop’) concept for aged care.
During the consultation process, stakeholders generally agreed with the proposed key functions of a new ‘front end’ for aged care, which are:
- contact/triage including information provision
- needs identification (including carer)
- comprehensive/complex assessment
- referral and access to services
- care coordination and review.
- the reforms are a tremendous opportunity to redesign and streamline the system
- the terms new 'front end' or 'one stop shop' are distracting
- the need to ensure that current strong local networks are sustained, and not lost
- those at the 'front end' need to be sufficiently skilled to ensure the client’s journey is directed appropriately, an appropriate assessment tool is required and access to clinicians is vital
- the need for consumer choice of services
- the need for independent fair and equitable client allocation to services is important
- acknowledgement that while the workforce is dedicated, service integration for clients is patchy
- integrated IT and shared client information is essential
- looking for consistent flexible funding and fee structures
- the system must ensure that Culturally and Linguistically Diverse needs are considered.
The majority of respondents were from Home and Community Care service providers (29 per cent) followed by Community Aged Care Service Providers (21 per cent). ACAT teams made up almost 8% of respondents, and featured as one of the top five strengths of the current aged care system.
The survey results also highlighted that the top five elements that should feature as part of the new ‘front-end’ for aged care are:
- clear referral pathways
- supported entry into, and navigation of, the aged care system
- multiple ways to access the new ‘front-end’ for aged care - for example, face-to-face, telephone, Internet
- knowledge of the local system
- nationally consistent support and assessment.
Breakdown of survey respondent location by jurisdictionA series of regional broad forums and focus groups with care recipients and carers began on 7 March. The consultation schedule is available at www.yourhealth.gov.au
Feedback from the national consultations and the online survey will assist to further refine the approach to delivering a redesigned ‘front end’ for aged care.
A phased implementation of the new 'front end' for aged care is expected to commence from July 2011 with the aim of improving information, intake and assessment for aged care services. The Australian Government is working towards a sensible transition process to ensure that there will be no disruption to service delivery.
% from the graphNSW - 48%
SA - 20%
NT - 0%
QLD - 10%
WA - 3%
TAS - 2%
ACT - 2%
VIC - 14%
Unknown - 1%
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- Read through each section and practice with the section quiz (many questions or variations of the questions are repeated in the knowledge assessment)
- Practice with the pretest. If you are very new to ACAT operations, perhaps do the pretest at the end, just before attempting the knowledge assessment.
- The knowledge assessment is open book so have the workbook open in one screen so you can refer to it while doing the knowledge assessment.
- Read each question carefully. Even though they are not intended to be tricky, in order to adequately test your knowledge, the questions are designed to make you think.
- If you are really unsure, call a colleague or ask your ACAT Education Officer.
- If you are unsuccessful, review the question(s) you missed. You may see the same question on the next attempt.
NSW Rural Aged Care SymposiumThe Rural and Remote Greater West Aged Care Service (ACAT) held its third Rural Aged Care Symposium in Parkes on 15 and 16 September 2010. The symposium brings together rural aged care workers to share, learn and network. More than 250 people from all over NSW attended the two days, which had a theme of “Striving for Excellence”.
An outstanding line up of speakers came from the Central West Aboriginal HACC Service, Aged Care Integration Unit, NSW Department of Justice and Attorney General, University Western Sydney, Advanced Care Planning Unit Prince of Wales hospital, Alzheimer’s Australia, Department of Geriatrics Concord Hospital, Brain and Mind Institute, SMHOPs and the Dementia Behaviour Management Service.
Topics covered included ageing from the Aboriginal perspective, capacity, guardianship and advanced care planning, dementia, cognition and behaviour and behaviours of concern. There was also a display from exhibitors so that attendees could gather information and resources to take back to their workplace.
A highlight of the two days was the symposium dinner which attracted 70 people. An Elvis theme was chosen (given Parkes is the Elvis Capital of Australia) and a lot of rock ‘n’ rollin’ to great live entertainment was enjoyed by all.
Locum Bank ProjectThe locum project in Victoria began in 2007 as one of a series of Council of Australian Government initiatives designed to improve health services to older people. The project aimed to improve timeliness and consistency of ACAS assessments by providing suitable short-term workforce options.
The pilot project set out to scope, source and train suitable ACAS locum assessors.
Assessors completed training consisting of National Orientation Training and a 10-day placement within an ACAS with an experienced assessor/mentor.
In 2008–09 the project extended to a centralised database that was developed and coordinated by the Caulfield ACAS Manager.
Due to the growth of the Locum Bank, in both number of locums and demand, in 2010 the management of the Locum Bank was divided between the South East region, managed by Maureen Smith of Caulfield ACAS, and the North West region managed by Susan Jennings of Western ACAS.
The challenges for the Locum Bank as identified in the 2009 evaluation included the balance between demand and capacity, sourcing appropriate candidates (best form of advertising remains word of mouth), duplication in employment processes for the locums, developing the locum bank as a viable entity, and the commitment and access to professional development and training.
The Locum Bank and the evaluation were presented at the 2010 National ACAP conference.
The success of the Locum Bank in Victoria was endorsed by the Victorian Department of Health with ongoing funding provided in 2010-11. This includes non-recurrent funds to support salaries, travel and accommodation, where approved, and the appointment of a clinical coordinator project role.
The purpose of this role is to scope the training requirements and explore models of clinical supervision and professional development for locums. This 12-month 0.6 EFT position is held by Josie Barbagallo who is also the clinical coordinator with Bundoora ACAS. This position has membership on the State Training Reference Group and will work with the AEOs in developing future training options for locums.
The Locum Bank continues to be supported by Victorian ACAS teams as a flexible method of covering planned and unplanned leave, including the secondment of clinicians across teams. This included two episodes of interstate ACAT clinicians undertaking short term locum positions in Victoria.
The Locum Bank is a successful example of how health services and the Victorian
Department of Health can work together to find creative solutions to cover leave, reduce wait times for assessment and support a viable alternative workforce.
If you would like further information or a brief sojourn into Victoria as a locum, please contact Maureen, Susan and Josie via email@example.com
Article contributed by the Victorian Department of Health
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Reflections from the fieldI am new to our ACAT team, but I have worked alongside them for many years as the Whyalla Hospital and Health Services’ Discharge Planning Coordinator. Looking from the outside in, you do not realize quite how much and what is involved in doing an ACAT assessment. When joining our team we were extremely busy due to people leaving and sick leave, so my learning curve was steep and quick.
Something I found exceptionally valuable is the ACAT e-learning system. Many areas of the health/aged sector have started using e-learning but this has to be one of the best education packages I have seen. It is well structured and explains or directs you well to things you need to know (Principles and Act). However, I discovered a few pit-falls of the system for those like me who are new - do not try and over analyse things. Sometimes the obvious is likely to be the right thing.
For those who maintain and update the system a word of warning - you have a very hard job to keep abreast of changes in the program. When things change, the wording of questions will also need to change, as they can mean completely different thing or becoming out-dated quickly. As with anything though, people will understand things differently, so wording of questions needs to be exact.
For those of you new to ACAT - embrace these packages and work through them diligently. You will learn so much. You are lucky to be coming into a sector that has such an excellent learning tool. It may be a bit overwhelming at first, but as you see assessments done and do your first assessments things will fall into place. In an area where we are in a way assessing where people’s futures may be, having this education and the guidelines is one of the most important things you have. Remember the importance of the team you work with and how they can help you and you them. New eyes and ears in a team can and often is valuable to all members of the team, so don’t think you have nothing to offer.
I would like to thank those who helped and guided me as I went through the learning packages, not only those within my team but also those outside the team. In this job I do not believe I will ever stop learning and certainly am not foolish enough to think things will stop changing or that everyone I see will be the same.
Contributed by Graham Gloede, Registered Nurse, Whyalla ACAT.
Update on the Relationship with Veterans’ Home Care and Packaged Care ProgramsThe Department of Veterans’ Affairs promulgated in October 2009 a revision and expansion of a section in the Veterans’ Home Care (VHC) guidelines covering the relationship between packaged care programs and VHC services.
The Department of Health and Ageing will shortly update the Community Packaged Care Guidelines with the same wording. This revised and expanded section of the VHC Guidelines covers the following issues: veterans or war widows/widowers transferring from the VHC program to a packaged care program; approval of supplementary VHC services; and packaged care provided to households where a veteran or war widow/widower resides who is eligible for VHC services.
For a copy of the section which has been revised and expanded please go to chapter 5.9 Relationship between the VHC program and packaged care programs on the following link: http://www.dva.gov.au/service_providers/veterans_homecare/index/Documents/05AccessCoordinationFeb10.pdf
Update on the National Carer Recognition FrameworkAs part of the Government’s response to Who Cares…? Report on the inquiry into better support for carers, the Australian Government committed to better recognise carers through the development of a National Carer Recognition Framework. The Framework includes carer recognition legislation in the form of the Carer Recognition Act, 2010 and a National Carer Strategy. The Carer Recognition Act 2010 was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday 22 October 2010 and given Royal Assent on 18 November 2010.
The cornerstone of the Act is the Statement for Australia’s Carers, which sets out 10 principles that Australian Government agencies and funded organisations need to adopt in developing policies and delivering services for carers or the person they care for. It is important for Australian Government funded providers to have an understanding of the Statement for Australia’s Carers included in Schedule One to the Act and reflect the Statement in developing, implementing, providing or evaluating carer supports.
The Act complements existing states and territories’ carer recognition legislation and establishes a definition of carer. The definition encompasses all individuals who provide personal care, support and assistance to individuals who need support due to: disability a medical condition, including a terminal or chronic illness, mental illness, or fragility due to age. A link to the Act can be found at: www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2010A00123
The second component of the Framework is the National Carer Strategy. The Strategy will set the Australian Government’s long-term agenda for respecting, valuing and supporting carers.
In developing the Strategy, the Australian Government held consultations to seek the views of carers, service providers, carer peak bodies and state and territory departments regarding the Government’s proposed vision, aim and outcomes for the Strategy. Throughout Australia, 20 sessions with carer support organisations and service providers were held in 17 metropolitan and regional locations across Australia. Additionally, Carers Australia and Children with Disability Australia conducted sessions with carers during November and December 2010. Stakeholders unable to attend face-to-face workshop were able to lodge a written submission in response to Towards a National Carer Strategy discussion paper.
In total, 301 submissions were received by the Australian Government - 70 per cent from carers and 30 per cent other stakeholders. Analysis of these submissions is now under way. A combined report on feedback received from the submissions and the consultation sessions with service providers and peak bodies will be made publicly available early 2011. The findings from these submissions and consultations will guide the development of the National Carer Strategy.
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Requests under Freedom of Information (FOI)The Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives every person a legally enforceable right to obtain access to any document in the possession of a Commonwealth agency, whether created in the agency or not, or any official document in the possession of a Minister of the Commonwealth - unless the document is exempt.
States and territories have separate FOI legislation which applies to documents in the possession of their agencies.
Requests for access under the Commonwealth FOI Act may be for documents containing personal information collected by the ACAT for the purposes of assessing the person’s care needs under the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Aged Care Act). The personal information may be contained in the ACCR or case notes compiled by the ACAT. Documents such as the ACCR and case notes are compiled by ACATs as part of their function under the Aged Care Act as delegates of the Secretary of the Department. Hence such documents are the property of the Commonwealth.
The personal information in these documents is “protected information” under the Aged Care Act and is prohibited from disclosure under section 86-2 of that Act. Section 38 of the FOI Act has the effect of preserving the operation of specific secrecy provisions in other legislation. Section 86-2 of the Aged Care Act is one such section.
However, under section 86 of the Aged Care Act, 'protected' information can be disclosed in some circumstances, including:
- to the person who the information is about; and
- to someone who is ‘expressly or impliedly authorised’ to receive the information by the person who it is about.
- a solicitor acting on behalf of a person, who provides evidence that the person who the information is about has given their permission for the information to be disclosed.
- another person who can provide evidence of an authority to receive the information which could be in the form of a power of attorney or guardianship order.
It is not unusual for a request to be initiated where there is family conflict over a loved one’s care or wishes. In these circumstances, establishing that an authority exists can be complicated.
A key objective of the Aged Care Act is to protect the interests of care recipients. Elderly people should not need to worry about others having access to documents containing their sensitive personal information. The fact that it is a son or daughter who is requesting information about a parent is not enough in itself for them to obtain their parent's information. If the parent is deceased, the son or daughter needs to provide evidence that when the parent was alive they were authorised to have such information. Such evidence might include, but is not limited to, a guardianship order or relevant power of attorney - or other evidence which shows that the parent trusted the person with his or her sensitive health information.
If an FOI applicant provides clear evidence that he or she is authorised to obtain the sensitive personal information of his or her parent, the Department can provide the information outside the FOI Act. In return for providing the information, the Department asks the applicant to withdraw the FOI request. In these cases, the state or territory office of the Department liaises with the ACAT to obtain copies of the assessment documentation. Sometimes the ACAT will need to access archived records and it can take some time for all the necessary information to be gathered.
Implementation of Consumer Directed CareThe implementation of Consumer Directed Care (CDC) responded to calls from consumers and industry for increased flexibility, choice and control in aged care for consumers, themes which have emerged from previous reviews of community aged care and the Government’s consultation on the final report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission. CDC allows older people and their carers to make choices about the types of care services they want access to and the delivery of those services, including who will deliver them and when.
On 12 April 2010, the then Prime Minister, the Minister for Health and Ageing, and the then Minister for Ageing announced, as part of the National Health Reforms Plan. The release of 1,000 CDC Packaged Care places. On 23 July 2010, it was announced that 500 CDC Package Care places had been allocated nationally, consisting of 300 CDC Low Care places, 128 CDC High Care places, and 72 CDC High Care Dementia places.
In addition, $1.24 million in 2010-11 was funded to provide 200 CDC Respite Care (CDRC) places under the National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP). CDRC provides 200 carers individualised respite budgets of $4,200 to be expended on planned respite services of their choice. CDRC places are available through 16 Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres.
A further 500 CDC packaged care places will be allocated and an additional 200 CDRC packages will be made available in 2011-12. These additional packaged care places were advertised in March 2011 and involve an Invitation to Apply (ITA) process. Applications kits for CDC can be requested by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and applications for CDRC packages can be requested by e-mailing email@example.com. Completed applications for the 2011-12 allocation of CDC and CDRC places must be received within the Department of Health and Ageing by 2.00pm, Thursday 21 April 2011."
Payments to approved providers of CDC packaged care places and CDRC places have commenced through the Department of Health and Ageing.
The evaluation of CDC is being conducted on behalf of the Department by KPMG. A CDC Evaluation Reference Group comprising internal and external stakeholders will assist in developing future policy directions. This group will meet regularly to assist in the evaluation. The final evaluation report is due in January 2012.
Further information about CDC in Australian Government programs is available on the Department of Health and Ageing website at: www.health.gov.au/cdc
ACAT Toolkit Project UpdateThe Department of Health and Ageing engaged National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) in November 2010 to develop the ACAT toolkit and education strategy. The content of the toolkit is based on the recommendations of the Expert Clinical Reference Group Final Report (available at www.health.gov.au/acats)
The toolkit will include core assessment tools to be used in every ACAT assessment for cognitive and physical domains, as well as questions to identify the need for more in depth assessment using one of the recommended follow-up tools.
A trial of the toolkit took place in February with eight ACATs. These teams were selected to represent the range of settings in which ACATs operate and the diversity of clients. The teams that participated in the trial were:
- West Moreton (Qld)
- Cairns (Qld)
- Shepparton (Vic)
- Waverley (NSW)
- North and South Metro (SA)
- Lower Eyre (SA)
NARI will be incorporating trial feedback and finalising the ACAT toolkit by the end of April 2011. The toolkit and education strategy will be presented to ACAT Education Officers at their next workshop in May.
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Improving Aged Care for Forgotten Australians
Development of a National Education Package for Service ProvidersForgotten Australians include care-leavers, former child migrants and people from the Stolen Generations. A care-leaver is a person who was in institutional care or other form of out-of-home care, including foster care, as a child or youth (or both) at some time during the twentieth century. The experiences of Forgotten Australians while in institutional or out-of-home care may affect their ongoing wellbeing and have an impact on those who need aged care services or enter an aged care facility later in life.
Care-leavers have been identified as a special needs group under the Aged Care Act 1997 through an amendment to the Allocation Principles 1997. This amendment took effect from 1 December 2009 to ensure that the needs of Forgotten Australians are considered in the planning and allocation of aged care places.
The Department of Health and Ageing is developing a national education package in consultation with key stakeholders. The package will focus on improving aged care for Forgotten Australians by providing specific educational materials to support aged care service providers to better identify and meet the needs of Forgotten Australians.
The first stage of the development of the package is now complete. This involved consultations with Forgotten Australians and service providers around Australia to determine:
- the scope of the project
- the education needs of service providers
- the content of the education package
- a framework for implementation.
The key findings from the report will form the basis for the next stages of the project, which will focus on writing, designing, producing and distributing the education package.
The package will be a valuable resource for Aged Care Assessment Teams. It will inform assessors of the history and experiences of Forgotten Australians and highlight some of the sensitivities associated with providing appropriate aged care services. Both community care and residential aged care organisations will be able to use the resources in the package to educate their staff to ensure they are able to provide responsive services to Forgotten Australians.
It is anticipated the education package will be ready for distribution around mid-2011.
Assessment of Younger People with DisabilityAt the February 2011 COAG meeting, the Commonwealth agreed to assume funding and policy responsibility for aged care from 1 July 2011. The states and territories will be responsible for care services for people under the age of 65 years, in line with their principal responsibility for delivery of other disability services under the National Disability Agreement. The intent of these reforms is to improve client services in community aged care and disability services by enabling the creation of integrated and coordinated care systems that are easier for clients to access and navigate, and respond more flexibly to clients’ changing care needs.
The primary responsibility of assessing younger people with disability lies with state disability services in order to provide age-appropriate community options through Disability or Home and Community Care services. In most cases, it is more appropriate for a younger person with disability to access specialist disability services rather than aged care services. Whilst there is no minimum age for ACAT approval, the target population for aged care is older people and residential aged care services are designed specifically to meet the needs of frail older people, and are not oriented to provide for the needs of younger people with disability. Age alone should not, however, be used by an ACAT as the sole reason to reject a person’s referral for assessment.
The National Guiding Principles for the referral and assessment of younger people with disability between state and territory disability services and Aged Care Assessment Teams were jointly developed and agreed by state and territory governments and the Commonwealth in 2008.
In deciding whether to accept or reject a referral for assessment, ACATs should consistently apply these principles. The Principles support the fundamental notion of the need to demonstrate that there are no other care facilities or care services more appropriate to meet the person’s needs.
One of the purposes of the guidelines is to provide ACATs with a framework to develop local protocols with their state and territory counterparts to ensure the consistent and appropriate assessments of younger people. In the interests of working together to achieve the best outcome possible for younger people with disability, a protocol between the disability services agency and the ACAT should be developed to:
- clarify the respective roles and responsibilities between the disability services agency and the ACAT within each state or territory
- Identify clear client management procedures between ACAT and the disability services agency including referral processes that are consistent with the Principles
- outline respective roles and responsibilities in relation to younger people with disability who move into residential aged care.
All participating states and territories have committed to minimising disruption for clients and service providers and to continuing the current arrangements for access under the reforms. Younger people with disabilities will still be able to access aged care services when they meet the eligibility set out in the Aged Care Act 1997 and are approved by an ACAT.
Where a younger person with disability occupies a Commonwealth Government-subsidised aged care place, the Commonwealth will seek reimbursement from the states and territories for this expenditure. Similarly, older people will be able to continue to access specialist services provided by states under the National Disability Agreement and states and territories will seek reimbursement of this expenditure from the Commonwealth.
The reforms aim to provide both levels of government with the flexibility and incentives for providing the most appropriate care options for clients. As expenditure on older people accessing disability services will be reimbursed by the Commonwealth, a client-focussed approach, consistent with the National Guiding Principles, should continue to be the basis of any decisions by disability services when referring older clients with disabilities to ACATs.
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Dealing with Lost e-Learning Passwords
Accessing the ACAP National Training ResourcesThe ACAP National Orientation and Delegation Training Resources can be accessed through www.acat.moodle.com.au. From time to time, users may lose or forget their password. In this case, the user should go to the site and note the block shown below from the left hand side of the home page.
Click on “Lost password?”. The following screen will appear.
Enter either your username or your e-mail address and click on OK. You will be sent an e-mail with the following text. (If you do not receive your e-mail immediately, check to see if it has been intercepted by your spam filter.)
Below is an example email only
Someone (probably you) has requested a new password for your
account on 'Aged Care Assessment Program'.
To confirm this and have a new password sent to you via email,
go to the following web address:
In most mail programs, this should appear as a blue link
which you can just click on. If that doesn't work,
then cut and paste the address into the address
line at the top ofyour web browser window.
If you need help, please contact the site administrator,"
Click on the link in the e-mail. This will take you to the following page in the ACAT Moodle system:
A second e-mail will be sent to you. Again, if you do not receive your e-mail immediately, check to see if it has been intercepted by your spam filter.
This second e-mail has the following text:
Below is an example email only
Your account password at 'Aged Care Assessment Program' has been reset
and you have been issued with a new temporary password.
Your current login information is now:
- username: junk
- http ://acat.moodle.com.au/login/change_password.phd
which you can just click on. If that doesn't work,
then cut and paste the address into the address
line at the top ofyour web browser window.
Cheers from the 'Aged Care Assessment Program' administrator,"
Login to the system using the username and password in the e-mail. You will be directed automatically to the Change Password page. Choose a new password that you will remember easily and that meets these rules:
- be at least 8 characters long
- have at least 1 digit (0 to 9)
- have at least 1 upper case letter (A to Z)
- have at least 1 lower case letter (a to z).
Please contact your state or territory training coordinator.
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Senior Australian of the Year 2011
Professor Ron McCallum AO
Equal rights campaigner
Professor Ron McCallum is the first totally blind person to have been appointed to a full professorship at an Australian university. Professor McCallum was the foundation Professor in Industrial Law at the University of Sydney, and from 2002, he served five years as Dean of Law.
He has fervently pursued equal rights for working people across the globe and was the inaugural President of the Australian Labour Law Association from 2001 to 2009. He is currently Chair of Radio for the Print Handicapped of New South Wales Co-operative. The organisation operates radio 2RPH, which reads out newspapers and magazines over the air for blind and other print handicapped listeners.
He is also one of two Deputy Chairs of Vision Australia, and one of 12 members of the first monitoring committee for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He was appointed inaugural Rapporteur of this committee and is now the Chair.
Ron has also recently been appointed to the Federal Government’s National People with Disabilities and Carers Council. Ron is a leading light in the disabled community, working for equality among all Australians.
Senior Australian of the YearThe Senior Australian of the Year Award recognises those Australians aged 60 and over who continue to achieve and contribute. The Department of Health and Ageing has been sponsoring this award since it’s commencement in 1999, the International Year of Older Persons.
There are a many Australians who, in their later years, continue to contribute generously to the community and the nation. They inspire us with their energy, passion and wisdom.
The Senior Australian of the Year Award recognises those Australians who continue to contribute to the community even in their more senior years. They continue to work hard and long hours in their chosen fields and never cease to find more time and new ways to keep on giving.
Article reproduced with permission from National Australia Day Council.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Security of Tenure — suitable alternative accommodationQ Following the article in ACAT Chat Volume 30, can you clarify if hospitals can be considered as suitable alternative accommodation?
A The approved provider should discuss with the care recipient (or representative) whether they wish to find their own alternative accommodation. However, ultimately, it is the approved provider’s responsibility to ensure that accommodation is available for the care recipient, before the care recipient can be required to leave.
The suitability of the alternative accommodation is linked to the assessment of the care recipient’s long-term care needs (see Step 3), e.g. a service that provided only low level care would not be suitable alternative accommodation to meet the needs of a care recipient who was assessed as requiring a high level of care.
The alternative accommodation does not necessarily have to be acceptable to the care recipient who is being asked to leave, or the care recipient’s representative. However, the alternative accommodation does have to be available and able to provide care that is suitable to meet the needs of the care recipient. Some alternative accommodation may not be considered as suitable, such as a service where there are sanctions in place or a service that is a great distance from the existing service.
The suitable alternative accommodation must also be affordable by the care recipient, e.g. an extra service facility may not be appropriate for a concessional resident. Please note that hospital is not considered suitable alternative accommodation.
Overseas clientsQ Can an ACAT be arranged for a person currently overseas?
A Yes. The person making the referral should contact the ACAT closest to where the person arriving from overseas will be living at the time of assessment. ACAT contact details can be obtained on line from the ACAT Finder on the Commonwealth Aged Care Australia website at www.agedcareaustralia.gov.au or by contacting the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222.
Citizenship requirementsQ Are there any residency or citizenship requirements that must be satisfied prior to a person having an ACAT assessment?
A No. The Aged Care Act 1997 does not preclude or exclude non-Australian residents from entitlements under the Act. To be eligible for Australian Government-subsidised aged care services, a person needs to be first assessed and approved by an ACAT for the type and level of care recipient, e.g. an extra service facility may not be appropriate for a concessional resident.
Please note that hospital is not considered suitable alternative accommodation.
Rejection of referralsQ What if an ACAT rejects a referral for assessment?
A When an ACAT rejects a referral for an assessment, they should write to the person making the referral to notify them in writing of the decision. The Department of Health and Ageing developed a template letter to assist ACATs in this regard. While the decision is not ‘reviewable’ under section 85-1 of the Aged Care Act 1997, the Department nevertheless offers a right of review to a person whose referral for assessment is not accepted by an ACAT. If a person wishes to seek a review, they should write as soon as possible to the Secretary (care of the state or territory office of the department in the state or territory where the decision was made). This information is included in the non acceptance of referral template.
Residential Respite ExtensionsQ When a client (or provider) requests an extension to the number of residential respite care days, do they go to the team that approved the respite in the first instance or to the team in the area where the client is accessing respite care? (This is particularly significant now that respite approvals do not expire and the request could come a few years after the approval was made)
A In terms of which team does the extension, common sense should prevail and the process should be the same as has always occurred, given that a person has always been able to enter respite anywhere. The facility should contact their nearest ACAT, this may be the original approving ACAT or a different ACAT.
Q Do we need to do a complete reassessment or is it reasonable to do an extension after conversation with the facility/client/person responsible?
A The ACAT should use the 21-day respite extension form available from Medicare Australia which includes all the relevant considerations including:
- when extending residential respite care, the justification should be based on circumstances such as carer stress, a temporary or unexpected increase in the severity of a care recipient's condition, absence of the carer, or in other cases where ACATs consider it appropriate for respite to be extended.
- consideration should be given to the care recipient’s needs, abilities and wishes, access to, and use of, appropriate community and social supports.
- in extending residential respite care, delegates must consider the appropriateness of continued respite care arrangements or whether permanent residential care may be a more suitable option.
AEO Workshop—May 2011The bi-annual ACAT Education Officers Workshop will be held in Canberra on 25 and 26 May 2011. The two-day workshop will include one day of training on the skills of facilitating e-learning. The tentative agenda for the other day includes a National ACAP update, a train-the-trainer session on the use of the ACAT Toolkit, and a showcase of activities and program by the States and Territories.
New PublicationsThe Australian Government Directory of Services for Older People is a comprehensive guide to the wide range of services provided for older Australians by the Australian Government and is available at: http://www.health.gov.au/
The ACAP Data Dictionary Version 2.1 and the ACCR User Guide (December 2010) are available at www.health.gov.au/acats
ACAT Information Sheet Translated VersionsThe ACAT Information Sheet - ‘How ACATs can help you’ - is now available in 17 different languages and can be downloaded from the ACAT specific website.
Alternatively, go to www.health.gov.au > click on the “For Consumers” tab > scroll down to “Ageing” > and click “Support for people with special needs” from the menu options on the left.
The languages include:
Your feedback on these translated documents would be greatly appreciated, especially if you find any discrepancies with the actual translations. Please contact Jenny Hannan (02) 6289 5572.
If you would like to order hard copies, please contact
National Mailing and Marketing.
Telephone: (02) 6269 1080 Fax: (02) 6260 2770
ACAT Chat contactsACAT CHAT provides ACAT members with updates on the program from a national perspective. We would like to encourage our regional members to share information of interest from their local area.
Informative articles and experiences give members a chance to connect with their interstate counterparts.
Your feedback, contributions and suggestions for articles to ACAT CHAT are most welcome. Staff of the Department of Health and Ageing respond to all correspondence promptly.
Please forward any contributions to either of the following contact points:
Mail: ACAT CHAT
Aged Care Assessment Program Section
Department of Health and Ageing
GPO Box 9848
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Phone: Jenny Hannan (02) 6289 5572
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The information booklet
5 Steps to Entry into Residential Aged Care
is available on line at:
Or by calling the Aged Care Information Line on: 1800 500 853
Commonwealth Government Department of Health And AgeingNew South Wales
Sandra Withers (02) 9263 3779
George Pappas (03) 9665 8654
Gayle West (07) 3360 2566
Rebecca McIlroy (08) 9346 5424
Kirin Moat (08) 8237 8286
Vicki Colville (03) 6221 1466
Australian Capital Territory
Alison Phillips (02) 6289 2825
Robyn Simpson (08) 8919 3430
Useful ContactsAged Care Info Line 1800 500 853
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre 1800 052 222
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