Date published: 
2 September 2021
Type: 
Newsletter
Intended Audience: 
Health sector

This newsletter provides important information on matters affecting the aged care sector, including aged care initiatives, programs and processes. We encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, particularly your communications teams, and encourage them to subscribe for future updates.

In addition to the newsletter, we also send announcements which provide short snippets of targeted information and are sent as required. To help ensure you haven't missed any important information from us, we've added links to recent announcements including all COVID-19 updates.

Webinar: Employment of care and support workforce

The Australian Government is committed to growing a skilled and sustainable care and support workforce. As part of the A Life Changing Life campaign, the Department of Social Services has partnered with SEEK to host a webinar to help employers attract the right people to fill care and support roles.

The webinar is for all employers in the care and support sector, and there is no cost.

Aged care providers are invited to join the webinar exploring current employment trends and showcasing the tools available to support your resourcing strategies.

Date: Thursday 9 September 2021
Time: 11:00am – 12:00noon AEST

RSVP Yes

This is part of a new webinar series in partnership with SEEK, connecting employers with industry experts who will share insights and practical advice tailored to recruiting people into the care and support sector.

Vision Australia webinar: understanding low vision and blindness

Date: Wednesday 15 September 2021
Time: 4:00-5:00pm AEST (2:00pm in Perth)

Vision Australia is hosting a webinar that will help you learn how you can support aged care clients to live more independently and continue doing the things they love.

People with vision loss are three times more likely to suffer depression and twice as likely to experience a decrease in social independence.

If you work as a RAS or ACAT assessor, this session will build your knowledge and confidence to discuss relevant supports and goals with vision impaired clients when completing assessments. The webinar will cover:

  • common eye conditions and their impact on vision
  • impacts of vision loss on daily living activities
  • daily living strategies, aids and equipment useful for people with blindness or low vision
  • selecting the relevant service types when referring vision impaired clients for appropriate services.

Health professionals may be eligible for Continuing Professional Development points when attending this session.

Register for the webinar and you will be sent a login link. Share this invitation with colleagues who may also be interested in attending.

If you have questions about the webinar or need further information, call Denise Pellow on 1300 847 466.

Supporting communication in language in aged care homes

Communication Cards and Aged Care Signage are now available in four new languages – Urdu, Hebrew, Sinhalese and Gaelic – which means 61 languages are now available in these popular products.

The products have been developed to help aged care providers deliver culturally appropriate care to people from CALD communities, by the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing, part of the PICAC alliance in Victoria.

All languages are free to download from the Centre’s website.

Communication Cards depict a wide range of daily activities and situations in aged care and can be used to prompt discussion, assist with directions, clarify a client’s needs, etc. They cover themes such as meals, personal care, feelings, pain, lifestyle, medical staff and family.

Aged Care Signage is designed to help residents in aged care facilities navigate their way around their home or service and aim to minimise confusion. The signs include words such as kitchen, dining room, keep out, danger and this way to the garden.

It’s also important to consider that the preferred language for some people in aged care homes may be Auslan. To support how you communicate with people who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing, the department funds Auslan Connections to provide free sign language interpreting services to aged care service providers. You can use these services to help your clients engage with and take part in their aged care services. If you use these services for other reasons, you will need to pay for them through your funding or the client’s budget. More information is available on the Department of Health website.

Displaying information in language, and supporting the use of interpreting services, is a foundational action in the diversity action to support older CALD people, a guide for aged care providers.

Communicating with consumers in a way that is clear, easy to understand and enables them to exercise choice, demonstrates a culture of inclusion and respect which is central to Standard 1 in the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Services Australia Aged Care Quarterly Review

Services Australia reviews the costs of aged care four times a year in January, March, July and September. This ensures the cost of a person’s aged care services aligns with changes in their financial circumstances.

The next Quarterly Review for Residential Care and Home Care will take place on 25 September 2021 with a date of effect of 20 September 2021.

Services Australia will send updated fee letters to aged care providers and care recipients as soon as possible after the Quarterly Review.

The online claiming system for Home Care will be unavailable from 8pm Friday 24 September 2021 until 8am Monday 27 September 2021 as Quarterly Review tasks are undertaken.

Further information is available on:

Transitional arrangements to allocate residential care places beyond the ACAR

The final Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) occurred in July 2021.

From 1 July 2024, residential care places will be assigned directly to consumers.

Until then, approved providers will be able to apply to the department for an allocation of places. This will provide certainty to approved providers who are continuing capital developments over the next three years but are not currently holding an allocation of places.

This will be a non-competitive process that focuses on:

  • consideration of the provider’s compliance record, and
  • evidence that the premises meet the requirements under relevant laws and standards for occupation.

Further detail about transitional arrangements and application processes will be released over the coming months.

For more information on the 2024 changes to residential care, visit the Department of Health website. A fact sheet for providers is also available.

From ACFI to AN-ACC: preparing for transition

The Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) will transition to the new Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model on 1 October 2022.  The new funding model will better match funding to resident needs and provide more equitable distribution of funding.

Providers will be given full information regarding the AN‑ACC classification of each of their residents and the proposed AN-ACC price ahead of the implementation date. The provision of this information is dependent on finalisation of the shadow assessment process, which commenced on 6 April 2021, and has been affected by COVID restrictions.

We recognise that providers are keen to understand the outcomes and business impacts that the AN-ACC funding model will produce.

Providers are advised that there are significant differences between the ACFI and AN-ACC funding models, and caution should be exercised in undertaking analysis or taking advice from other organisations. It is particularly important that any analysis factors in the full effect of Australian Government aged care reforms funding uplifts as explained in the Transitioning from ACFI to AN-ACC fact sheet.

For more information about residential aged care funding reform, and the AN-ACC funding model, visit the Department of Health website or the Transitioning from ACFI to AN-ACC fact sheet.

If you have any questions or feedback, contact ACFR [at] health.gov.au.

Update: Business Improvement Fund – Round 2

The Business Improvement Fund for Residential Aged Care, Round 2 grant opportunity will be opening in the coming months. This will be available under the Aged Care Structural Adjustment Program in 2021-22.

As with the first Business Improvement Fund grant opportunity, priority will be given to providers with limited access to financial support and facing significant financial pressure which may impact care to residents primarily located in regional, rural and remote locations.

Providers experiencing financial difficulty do not have to provide a professionally written application. The application will be reviewed on its own merits while considering the funding priorities and Grant Opportunity Guidelines. Applications that have shown a strong linkage to their Business Advisory Services report recommendations have been more successful.

Approved providers of residential and home care services can start working with PwC using their free accounting and business advisory services, including advice, business management and financial strategies. Find out more on the PwC website.

As part of the application process for the Business Improvement Fund, providers must complete an independent Business Advisory Services review through PwC, or an independent assessment report at their own cost, before submitting their application.

The forecast grant opportunity is now live on the Grant Connect website.

Since the last newsletter

Announcements:

Announcements COVID-19: