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

Information for the Aged Care 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 and COVID-19 updates which provide short snippets of targeted information and are sent as required. 

Engage with us! Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub is now live

The Engagement Hub has been established to improve the way the department engages with the sector and the community on the aged care reforms. It provides a central source of information about current aged care engagement activities with the department.

You can sign up on the Hub to be involved in future engagement activities that will inform the aged care reforms. More than 500 people have signed up so far and engaged in workshops, surveys and more to develop an aged care system for the future.

You can also see all the upcoming engagement activities for the next few months.

As we progress the reforms together with you, please engage with us and encourage others to as well. Visit the Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub and sign up to get involved on the department’s website.

Aged care funding reform webinars: starting 23 September

The department is hosting a range of webinars focused on changes to residential aged care funding.

The first webinar will provide an introduction to the new Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) which will replace the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI), the AN-ACC shadow assessment process, provider support services, basic daily fee reporting requirements and changes to the Aged Care Financial Report (ACFR).

This series is relevant for aged care executives including CEOs, CFOs, quality and assurance managers and residential aged care managers.

To register and learn more about the webinar visit the department’s website. If you have any questions or trouble accessing the webinar please contact ACFR [at] health.gov.au

Dementia Action Week next week: 20‑26 September

The theme of Dementia Action Week this year is ‘A little support makes a big difference’.

It highlights that people living with dementia can continue to live rich, active and fulfilling lives for many years after their diagnosis and focuses on supporting and celebrating carers.

During the week, Dementia Australia will provide practical tips on how to:

  • give a little support to a person living with dementia
  • give a little support to a carer, friend or family member of a person living with dementia
  • help healthcare professionals make their practice more dementia-friendly.

We encourage you to get involved and mark this important week. For further information, including a range of campaign resources, visit Dementia Australia’s website.

National Week of Deaf People: 20-26 September

The National Week of Deaf People raises awareness of people who are Deaf, and celebrates their community, history, culture and language Auslan.

Many people in the Deaf community do not identify deafness with disability, but rather as Deaf culture.

Everyone is invited by the Deaf community to celebrate Deaf culture. This year the theme is "Celebrating Thriving Deaf Communities". You can find daily subthemes on the World Federation of the Deaf website.

In 2021, Deaf Services and the Deaf Society are running an Auslan Leaders Challenge where leaders and community members can learn to sign a message in Auslan. Learn how you can get involved on the Deaf Society website.

Providing culturally safe, appropriate and inclusive care that is tailored to the needs of each individual is central to Standard 1 in the Aged Care Quality Standards. Building a culture of respect for diversity at all levels of your organisation is also a foundational action in the Action Plan under the Aged Care Diversity Framework Shared actions to support all diverse older people, a guide for aged care providers. (PDF, 10 Pages)

Celebrate the end of Jewish New Year with Yom Kippur

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish New Year and ends 10 days later with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. In 2021 in Australia this begins on the evening of 15 September and ends the evening of 16 September.

Some traditions during this period include:

  • attending synagogue and spending time with family and friends
  • fasting for Yom Kippur for adults who can
  • reflecting on the year before and repenting for any wrongdoings and then reflecting on the year ahead to start afresh
  • wearing white and new clothes, symbolizing purity
  • a traditional horn which starts Rosh Hashanah.

Providing culturally safe, appropriate and inclusive care that is tailored to the needs of each individual is central to Standard 1 in the Aged Care Quality Standards. Building a culture of respect for diversity at all levels of your organisation is also a foundational action in the Action Plan under the Aged Care Diversity Framework Shared actions to support all diverse older people, a guide for aged care providers. (PDF, 10 Pages) 

Information for providers using Services Australia Aged Care Online

Residential aged care providers using Aged Care Online must upgrade to web services before 13 March 2022.

You’ll need web services compatible Business to Government (B2G) software to access the new aged care web services. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) authentication is also being replaced with Provider Digital Access (PRODA).

There are things you can do now to become web services ready:

If you don’t upgrade to web services before March 2022, you may need to revert to either:

  • the Aged Care Provider Portal
  • a manual process.

For more information about upgrading, contact your software developer or visit Web services for digital health and aged care channels on the Services Australia website.

Reminder! Tips on collecting residential aged care fees

All residential providers are reminded to ensure you are fulfilling your legislative obligations when collecting fees from residents.

You can:

  • ask residents to pay fees up to one month in advance.
  • decide how often a resident pays fees (e.g. fortnightly).

You cannot:

  • ask residents to pay fees more than one month in advance. Fees paid more than one month in advance must be refunded.
  • ask residents to pay fees before they enter your care. An exception is when a resident is on pre-entry leave and they need to pay the basic daily fee.
  • require someone to pay a lump sum amount for accommodation (or any other reason) before they enter your service.
  • ask residents to pay fees for the year in advance. Please note that if a resident has asked you to hold onto money for future fees, it may be considered a ‘loan’. Unlike lump sums paid for accommodation, a loan is not protected by the Accommodation Payment Guarantee Scheme. Before entering into this type of arrangement, you and the resident should seek independent legal and financial advice.

Learn more about Managing fees for residential aged care.

New Dietitians Australia tool to support nutrition standards

The Royal Commission found that food and nutrition is an area of concern requiring immediate action. To support the focus on food and nutrition, Dietitians Australia has developed a Menu and Mealtime Quality Assessment Tool for Residential Aged Care.

The tool aligns with the Aged Care Quality Standards and provides direction and support for residential providers to meet food and nutrition standards. Dietitians can use the tool to screen for malnutrition risks, find out whether a menu meets protein targets, develop recommendations to meet nutritional needs, and assess the need for any nutrition supplements.

The Government has also introduced the 2021 basic daily fee supplement for residential aged care providers from 1 July 2021. Providers will be reporting quarterly on food and nutrition expenditure, with the first report due 21 October. 

Home Care Package Provider Stocktake opens 20 September

The Home Care Package (HCP) Provider Stocktake will open on Monday 20 September 2021.

The Stocktake will seek information on the types, volume and cost of care and services delivered under the HCP Program for the month of June 2021. It is open to all HCP providers who had at least one care recipient on 30 June 2021.

Providers are strongly encouraged to participate, as it will inform future improvements to the program.

Eligible providers will be sent a link to the Stocktake on 20 September 2021 by Forms Administration. The Stocktake will remain open until 19 November 2021.

You can find more information on the Forms Administration website. If you have any questions email health [at] formsadministration.com.au or call (02) 4403 0640.

Do you provide Home Care Packages? Volunteer now to help inform the assurance review process

Following the Government’s announcement, Home Care Packages (HCP) Program related assurance reviews are commencing from October. The department will select providers for these reviews. In addition, we are also seeking up to 20 HCP providers to volunteer to participate in the first program assurance review for the HCP Program.

By being involved in the first review, you can support the department to develop an assurance review process that is informed by providers’ perspectives. You can also provide insights into particular challenges/constraints/best practices specific to your organisation related to HCP indirect costs/administrative charges.

To get involved and help inform the delivery of future assurance reviews, email your nomination to hcpassurancereviews [at] health.gov.au with your organisation name and contact details. Documentation will need to be provided to the department mid October 2021.

To support commencement of the reviews, the department is also establishing a HCP Program Assurance Stakeholder Reference Group. This group, comprising of consumers, providers, and aged care sector representatives, will be the key consultation forum to support the development and implementation of the HCP Program Assurance Framework.

Further information on the reviews can be found on the department’s website.

Improved Payment Arrangements changes take effect from the September home care claim

Under new legislation, home care funding will be based on services delivered to care recipients. The change means the Government will hold the care recipients’ unspent Commonwealth subsidy. Claiming arrangements have been updated to support these changes.

To help home care providers submit their claims, these resources are available:

For more information, visit the department’s website.

Latest CHSP Wellness and Reablement Reports outcomes

In late 2019 and 2020, Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) service providers reported on wellness and reablement approaches in their service practices through an online survey.

The department received 1,294 submissions in 2019 and 1,321 in 2020. These results have allowed the department to understand the effect of service delivery approaches, identified issues and the overall progress of reablement focussed approaches to service delivery.

The outcomes of the reports are available on the department’s website.

If you have any questions email wellnessandreablement [at] health.gov.au

2021 Wellness and Reablement Report for CHSP providers due 31 October

Under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) grant agreement, providers must submit an annual Wellness and Reablement Report to the department.

Most of the structure and questions of the 2021 template will be the same as last year’s report. The link to the online reporting template will be sent to providers shortly. If not received by 1 October 2021, please contact your Funding Arrangement Manager. The report is due by 31 October 2021.

If you have any questions email wellnessandreablement [at] health.gov.au

Boost to CHSP respite funding from January 2022

In May, the Government announced $134.9 million over four years in additional funding for respite services, to improve carer wellbeing; maintain the care relationship; and avoid crises that may jeopardise the relationship between the carer and the person in their care. This funding will enable about 8,400 additional clients to access respite services each year.

The Government will provide funding from January 2022 to boost respite funding across Centre-based Respite and Flexible Respite services. This funding will be split amongst eligible existing CHSP respite funded providers.

The department will soon email eligible providers with further information about the respite boost funding.

If you have any questions, contact HomeSupportPolicy [at] health.gov.au

Announcements since the last newsletter:

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 Information for the Aged Care Sector Newsletter - Issue #2021/17 (PDF, 201 KB)

 

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