Information for the Aged Care Sector Issue 2021/19

In this issue: New Workforce Advisory Service, National Carers Week 2021, Aged Care Registered Nurses’ Payment and first Food and Nutrition Reports due 21 October.

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Health sector

New Workforce Advisory Service

From 11 October 2021, residential aged care and home care service providers can apply for a free, independent and confidential workforce advisory service.

This service supports providers to develop workforce training and skills plans. The service also provides strategies to help providers attract, retain and grow the skills of workers.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will deliver the independent advisory services with services available until 30 June 2023.

Service providers can apply to access the workforce advisory service on the PwC website.

National Carers Week 2021

National Carers Week has started and is running from 10 to 16 October. We acknowledge, thank and celebrate carers for their enormous contribution.

In Australia, we have almost 2.65 million unpaid carers who give constant support to their friends and family. One in eight Australians care for elderly loved ones or people with disability or illness.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, carers have played a major role in stopping the spread by helping vulnerable Australians stay safe.

We encourage all carers to use Carer Gateway to find counselling, connections with other carers, coaching, courses, and emergency respite. You can contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.

What we’ve heard about Quality Standards

The Engagement Hub has a new blog, What we’ve heard – where we will share what we’re hearing from you about the aged care reforms.

The latest post outlines the insights gained from the Aged Care Quality Standards evaluation undertaken in August.

Stay tuned and keep checking the blog for more posts on what you’ve told us. You can also sign up to our engagement database to receive updates on future engagement activities.

Webinar: effective co-design with people from diverse backgrounds

The Centre for Cultural Diversity is running a webinar to help leaders and direct care workers to co-design service delivery with older people from diverse cultural backgrounds. The webinar will cover:

  • an overview of approaches to effective co-design with diverse communities
  • best practice examples from a Melbourne residential aged care provider.

Register for this free webinar to be held on Wednesday 27 October, 2:00-3:30pm AEDT.

You will also be able to attend the launch of The Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing’s Practice Guide on Effective Co-design with Older People from Diverse Backgrounds.

Care and services should meet the needs, goals and preferences of aged care recipients, Aged Care Quality Standards, Standard 1. See suggested actions to deliver a culture of inclusion and respect in the Actions to Support Older CALD People: a Guide for Aged Care Providers.

For more information contact ageing.and.diversity@health.gov.au

Aged Care Registered Nurses’ Payment to reward clinical skills and leadership

The Australian Government recognises the critical role of registered nurses (RNs) in the delivery of high quality aged care.

The Aged Care Registered Nurses’ Payment will be available from 2022 to RNs who have worked for the same employer for the periods:

  • 1 November 2021 – 31 October 2022
  • 1 November 2022 – 31 October 2023

Full time RNs will be eligible to receive $3,700 and payments for part-time/casual RNs will be determined on a pro-rata basis.

A supplementary payment will be available to RNs meeting extra criteria, for example, nurses working in regional and remote areas.

The payment will be delivered through a non-competitive grant process, with providers responsible for applying on behalf of their employed RNs. Applications will open in November 2022.

Providers are encouraged to incorporate information about this payment into recruitment strategies over the next two years.

For more information visit the department’s website.

Request for tender to develop direct care staff development program

The Skills Development Program for Aged Care Staff is part of the Enhancing Nursing Skills and Leadership Capability in Aged Care 2020–21 Budget measure. The program provides direct care staff with training to ensure they have up-to-date skills to deliver quality care.

The department has approached the market to engage a supplier to develop the program. This involves developing and implementing the online training packages.

The Request for Tender closes on 1 November 2021. You can find more information on the AusTender website.

Reminder! First Food and Nutrition Report due 21 October

This is a reminder to residential aged care services and Multi-Purpose Services, to complete your Food and Nutrition Report by 21 October at 11:59pm AEDT.

If you signed an undertaking with the Department of Health to receive the 2021 Basic Daily Fee supplement you must complete the Food and Nutrition Report each quarter.

Please note that supplement payments will cease if reports are not submitted on time. Back-payments will not be provided.

You can find the Food and Nutrition Report form on the My Aged Care Provider Portal and download a copy of the explanatory notes to help you complete your report.

You will need administrator access to see the portal and the form.

If you have any questions or require assistance with the Food and Nutrition report, please email BDFS@stewartbrown.com.au

National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program data due 21 October

Data for the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) for this quarter is due by 21 October 2021. This is the first quarter using the five new quality indicators.

You may notice improvements when submitting your data through the My Aged Care Provider Portal. Please ensure you:

  • complete all fields and check your data before submission
  • do not include any personal information such as names or initials of care recipients
  • reach a submitted status to complete data entry.

For more information and support, you can call the My Aged Care Provider and Assessor Helpline on 1800 836 799 or visit the department’s website.

Reminder! How to charge accommodation costs

Residential aged care services have legislative obligations when charging accommodation costs. You must:

  • let residents choose their accommodation payment method - a lump sum refundable deposit, daily payments or a combination. If a resident does not make a payment choice within 28 days of entering your service, you can only ask them to pay by daily payments.
  • give residents six months to pay if they choose to do so by full or part refundable lump sum.
  • let residents decide the percentage of refundable lump sum and daily amounts that work best for them.

You cannot require:

  • a person to pay any amount of their accommodation costs as a lump sum before they enter your service.
  • a resident to pay daily payments more than one month in advance. You must refund daily payments paid more than one month in advance.

Learn more on the department’s website.

Online course: Preventing unwanted sexual behaviour in residential aged care

Monash University is offering a short course on Preventing Unwanted Sexual Behaviour in Residential Aged Care Services. It is open to all nursing staff across Australia who work in aged care.

This course is accredited for 6 hours of continuing professional development by the Australian College of Nurses. It will help nursing staff to prevent and manage incidents of unwanted sexual behaviour within a best practice approach.

The three week online course provides access to five modules, case studies, an online discussion forum, a Q&A webinar and certificate of completion.

Registration is available to individual participants or small groups, from single or multiple facilities. You can submit an expression of interest for 2022 courses on the Monash University website.

Resources to help complete your September home care claim

Improved Payments Arrangements (IPA) legislation came into effect on 1 September 2021. This has changed the way Home Care Package providers need to claim.

You can read more about the new claiming requirements on the Services Australia website.

To help you prepare for the September claim, infographics and educational resources are now available on the Health Professional Education Resources Gateway. Resources include:

  • Key changes of IPA
  • Submit and finalise a home care claim
  • Report Commonwealth unspent amount and opt in
  • View the Home Care Account balance
  • Managing departures from Home Care
  • Bulk file import functionality
  • Payment statement demystified

For more information, visit the department’s website.

Home Care Packages Program Assurance Framework and Reviews

The Home Care Packages (HCP) Program Assurance Framework and Annual Assurance Plan are now available on the department’s website.

The Framework supports the integrity of the program, and enables providers to:

  • uplift program knowledge
  • share best practice
  • improve value for money
  • deliver better results for care recipients.

Using the Framework and Plan, the department will begin HCP Program reviews in October 2021. The reviews will give visibility and improve pricing transparency. The department will contact providers if they are selected for review, with departmental support throughout the process.

Stay up to date with the review process on the department’s website.

Announcements since the last newsletter

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