Information for the Aged Care Sector Issue 2021/10

What's new: diversity and inclusion initiatives; Services Australia aged care quarterly review; Aged care reform webinar series and more.

Date published:
Health sector

Aged care reform webinars starting 21 June – register now!

The department is holding a series of webinars to share information about the aged care reforms announced in the 2021‑22 Budget and in response to the Aged Care Royal Commission.

These webinars are an opportunity for anyone using or needing aged care, working in aged care or interested in improving aged care in Australia, to learn more about the reforms.

Webinars will include presentations from the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, and Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services. There will also be presentations and panel discussions by senior officials from the department.

Webinars will be held online. You’ll have the opportunity to tell the department how we can work together with the aged care sector and the community to implement the reforms.

Find out more and register for the Aged Care Reform Webinar Series on the department’s website.

Celebrating Pride month in aged care

June is Pride month to celebrate the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer community around the world. Approximately 1 in 10 people in Australia identify as LGBTIQ+.

Supporting and participating in Pride month activities is an opportunity to increase the awareness of the diversity in your community, create a spirit of inclusion and to celebrate your LGBTIQ+ older people and staff. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on past experiences and future progress opportunities.

Here are a few ideas your organisation could consider to celebrate Pride month:

  • hold a ‘wear bright colours’ day
  • host a Pride party, for example a rainbow morning tea
  • wear rainbow badges, stickers or ally pins
  • attend a local Pride march or other Pride month events in your community
  • book an LGBTIQ+ speaker from your local LGBTIQ+ Health Organisation
  • host a movie screening of an uplifting movie, such as “Pride”.

The need to deliver safe and inclusive services to people with diverse needs and experiences is part of the Aged Care Quality Standards:

  • Standard 1 highlights the need for Aged Care providers to provide a culture of inclusion and respect for all consumers
  • enabling consumers to participate in community events important to them may help you meet the requirements of Standard 4 - to provide the supports and connections that are important to the consumer’s health and wellbeing.

You could take this opportunity to evaluate your diversity policies or hold a diversity planning workshop. The department developed Actions to support LGBTI elders: a guide for aged care providers to highlight important steps in providing respectful and inclusive services in the aged care sector which could be useful in your planning session.

Diversity and inclusion initiatives in June and July 2021

The Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing will be hosting the following diversity and inclusion initiatives in June and July:

  • Cultural Diversity in Ageing Virtual Conference: Care to Communicate Hearing the Voices of Older People, 17 June, 12-5pm AEST. This conference will showcase a line-up of speakers who are working to improve the ways in which aged care services can garner the voices of older people to shape a more equitable aged care system, now and into the future. For more information visit the Cultural Diversity website.
  • Nominations are now open for the 2021 Cultural Diversity in Ageing Excellence Awards. These awards recognise and showcase initiatives that promote excellence in the provision of culturally inclusive aged care services across Australia. Nominations close on Sunday 20 June. For more information visit the Cultural Diversity website.
  • Diversity Training Series – upcoming free monthly webinars facilitated by diversity experts from across Australia. To register your interest or view past recordings visit the Cultural Diversity website.

Ensuring the workforce has sufficient knowledge, skills and is respectful of culture and diversity contributes to Standard 7 of the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Seeking out, developing and using tools, training and information that support delivery of care that is inclusive of diverse characteristics and life experiences is also a recommended action in Outcome 5 of the Actions to support older Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people – a guide for aged care providers.

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 10 July 2021 with a date of effect of 1 July 2021.

Services Australia will send 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 9 July 2021 until 8am Monday 12 July 2021 as Quarterly Review tasks are undertaken.

Further information is available on:

QI Program poster now available!

The National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) poster is now available to download, print and display!

From 1 July 2021, the QI Program requires approved residential aged care providers to report on new quality indicators across five crucial clinical areas.

QI Program data must be reported quarterly and according to the requirements in the QI Program Manual 2.0 – Part A.

A range of QI Program resources, including the poster, is available on the department’s website.

Extension to RFT for Provision of COVID-19 Vaccination Administration by Residential Aged Care Providers

The Commonwealth Department of Health invites approved providers of residential aged care services to deliver the safe, targeted and timely administration of COVID-19 vaccines to residential aged care workers.

To support this, a simplified Request for Tender (RFT) Health/20-21/RFT 19454 was published through AusTender on 3 May 2021.

To give providers more time to complete the RFT, the closing date has been extended to 2pm, 30 July 2021.

Residential aged care providers must be able to deliver the following services:

  • safe, targeted and timely administration of approved COVID-19 vaccine (Vaccine) for Residential Aged Care Staff, in line with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) clinical guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine
  • all aspects of Vaccine administration detailed in the RFT Draft Contract, including (but not limited to) a trained workforce; clinical governance arrangements; stock and inventory management; eligibility checking; scheduling of appointments to manage supply and demand; reporting including adverse event monitoring, follow-up for second dose, and record of immunisation into the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR); cold chain management and wastage
  • safely administer the Vaccine/s and deal with any adverse events.

More information about this RFT, including detail on how to apply, can be found on AusTender. We encourage Aged Care Providers to register with AusTender to maintain visibility of opportunities advertised by the department.

Residential aged care providers who do not participate in the RFT will continue to have the opportunity for their workforce to be vaccinated through multiple other channels including general practices, Commonwealth vaccination clinics and state and territory vaccination clinics. Please visit the department’s website for more information.

Extended hospital leave during COVID-19 pandemic

The Australian Government has amended the legislation relating to extended hospital leave from residential care. This change will ensure aged care providers remain eligible for the full amount of residential care basic subsidy in circumstances where an aged care resident took extended hospital leave during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

The residential care basic subsidy is normally reduced by 50 per cent on the 29th and subsequent days of a period of hospital leave; however, the reduction will not apply for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 (inclusive).

The adjustments, backdated to 1 July 2020, will appear as part of the June 2021 claim paid from 1 July 2021, and will be displayed in the body of the payment statement.

Increased funding for nutrition in residential aged care

From July this year, the Australian Government is providing significant investment to address concerns around the adequacy of food and nutrition in residential care. This additional funding is included as a key part of the new Basic Daily Fee supplement for residential aged care providers of $10 per resident per day.

To receive the supplementary funding, providers will be required to:

  • enter into a formal undertaking that they will deliver good quality and quantities of goods and services to meet the living needs of residents, with a focus on food and nutrition
  • report quarterly to the department on the quality and quantity of daily living services with a focus on food and nutrition.

Reporting will apply to the 2021-22 financial year. More details on reporting expectations and timing will be released shortly.

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