Information for the Aged Care Sector Issue 2021/20

In this issue: Reforms on the development of the quality indicators, SIRS for in-home services; Food and Nutrition Reports submission, Residential Care updates on how to charge accommodation contributions, RAD support loans extended and Home Care updates.

Date published:
Audience:
Health sector

This newsletter contains important information about aged care initiatives, programs and processes. Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, and encourage them to subscribe for future updates. We send critical information during the week as required. The link to the latest announcements and COVID-19 updates can be found below. We also invite you to visit the Engagement Hub to see upcoming opportunities to be involved in the aged care reforms.

Get involved: Development of quality indicators for residential and in‑home aged care

We are seeking your involvement in the expansion of quality indicators for residential aged care and development of quality indicators for in-home aged care projects. These projects will identify, assess and pilot evidence-based quality indicators in both residential and in-home aged care.

You are invited to participate in:

  1. Stakeholder consultations in early November 2021 to provide views on priority areas for expansion of the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program. This will include written submissions and online workshops.
  1. Quality indicator pilots commencing early January 2022 to test the proposed quality indicators and consumer experience and quality of life measures. Residential and in-home service providers are encouraged to participate.

You can sign up or find more information via the Engagement Hub.

What we've heard: Support for the introduction of a SIRS for in-home services

In July and August this year we asked you about the design of the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) for in-home aged care. Providers of in-home aged care, peak bodies, members of the aged care workforce, senior Australians and their families participated in an online consultation paper and series of targeted workshops.

A wide variety of you support the expansion of SIRS to in-home care with consideration of the differences with the SIRS operating in residential care.

Read more about your feedback and other find other blogs on What we’ve heard page on the Engagement Hub. You can also sign up to our engagement database to receive updates on future engagement activities.

Thank you! 98% of Food and Nutrition Reports submitted

Thank you to all providers who completed their first Food and Nutrition Report in the My Aged Care Portal.

98% of the 852 eligible providers completed their first report on time.

If you have not submitted your report, you have missed the reporting deadline of 21 October and your 2021 basic daily fee supplement will cease until the report is submitted. Back-payments (for any period of non-reporting) will not be provided. Payments will recommence when the report is submitted.

For more information about the report download a copy of the explanatory notes.

You will need administrator access to see the form submission portal and the food and nutrition report form.

  • Request administrator access from your organisation’s My Aged Care service provider portal administrator
  • Refer to section 1.6 of the My Aged Care – Provider Portal User Guide
  • For enquiries about the My Aged Care portal call 1800 836 799.

Join the Community Visitors Scheme

The Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) provides friendship and companionship to older people who are feeling lonely or isolated.

Visits are available to anyone who receives government-subsidised residential aged care or Home Care Packages.

To get a digital or hard copy CVS flyer you can:

By befriending an older person, you can make a positive difference. Senior Australians in aged care are from all social and cultural backgrounds and we encourage all volunteers.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer, contact the Community Visitors Scheme network.

Updates to the My Aged Care website

The My Aged Care website has been updated to better support senior Australians to learn about, apply for and compare aged care services.

The new features published in October include:

  • A new ‘Where to start?’ section, which provides links to key tools and information on care options, eligibility and costs to help senior Australians prepare to apply for an assessment.
  • A Help Explorer tool providing stories about people who have accessed aged care to help senior Australians and their carers learn about the types of aged care services available.
  • Improvements to the ‘Find a provider tool’ to help senior Australians and carers shortlist and compare up to eight providers for Aged Care Homes and Home Care Packages.

Find out more on the My Aged Care website.

Emergency planning for major weather events

The high risk season for major Australian weather events and bushfires is approaching. All aged care providers should be well prepared and able to respond to emergency events affecting their service.

Service providers play a vital role in preparing their sites, staff and clients for the threat of bushfire and other weather emergencies in their local area. Providers should:

  • contact your local fire authority to discuss bushfire implications and requirements
  • have updated daily lists of all onsite residents
  • have an evacuation plan including arrangements for transport and alternative accommodation for different scenarios (e.g. only your facility, or all facilities, in the region are affected), and provision for care recipient identification and care-plan documents.

Visit the department’s website for resources to help your emergency planning.

New online course for clinicians to support culturally responsive practice

Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt has launched the Culturally Responsive Practice with Older People in Health and Aged Care online course. It outlines appropriate clinical practice for working with senior Australians from CALD backgrounds.

The course is for clinicians and health practitioners working in aged care and health care settings.

Culturally responsive practice is part of the Aged Care Quality Standards, in particular, Standard 1. Participation in this training demonstrates a commitment to a key action under the Actions to Support Older CALD People: a Guide for Aged Care Providers action plan. It may also attract Continuing Professional Development for participants.

You can visit myauslearning.org.au for more information.

Reminder: How to charge accommodation contributions

Residential providers have legislative obligations when charging accommodation contributions.

Services Australia will tell you the maximum daily accommodation contribution (DAC) for a resident. However, the maximum DAC advised by Services Australia may be higher than the amount you can ask the resident to pay.

The DAC payable for a day cannot exceed:

  • the amount advised by Services Australia based on the resident’s means tested amount; or
  • the accommodation supplement applicable to your service for the day.

The accommodation supplement applicable to your service can change over time. You may need to adjust a resident’s DAC if the ratio of low means or supported residents in your service changes.

If a resident chooses to pay by a combination of lump sum and DAC, you must calculate a reduced DAC.

It is your responsibility to ensure residents are not charged more than they should be.

Learn more on the department’s website.

Refundable Accommodation Deposit Support Loan Program extended to 1 December

Applications for funding support under the Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) Support Loan Program have been extended to 1 December 2021.

Due to the significant impact of COVID‑19 and lower occupancy rates, residential aged care providers can apply for a zero-interest loan to refund RADs without triggering an insolvency event.

To be eligible for funding, approved providers must:

  • have had or expect liquidity to fall below the relevant threshold (see program guidelines)
  • be able to repay funds loaned, and
  • not be able to access sufficient commercial or alternative financing.

More information about how to apply is available on the RAD Support Loan Program webpage.

Improved Payment Arrangements – key tips

We’ve been listening to your feedback and questions about changes to the way you claim because of the introduction of Improved Payment Arrangements (IPA).

We have worked closely with Services Australia, who manage the payment system, to support providers to understand the changes and process their claims. There are a wide range of resources available to help you to:

Some topics that are important for you to know are:

  • Discussing income tested care fees with recipients – you should be discussing the need to pay these fees with relevant care recipients, especially if you have previously been waiving them. Check out guidance on managing income tested care fees in the Question and Answer Fact Sheet.
  • Reporting unspent funds by 31 December – you must report on unspent funds held for each care recipient by 31 December 2021. You also need to choose whether to ‘opt-in’ to draw-down on any unspent funds by 28 February 2022. Read more about managing unspent funds in the Question and Answer Fact Sheet and the Unspent Funds Example.
  • Entering invoice amounts – you must enter an invoice amount for every care recipient in care for the month (not for August departures). Find more information on the claiming process on the Health Professional Education Resources Gateway.
  • Letter to care recipients – The department is also communicating directly with all Home Care Package care recipients and their representatives. In early November, we will send a letter, including the Care Recipient Factsheet, to help them understand how IPA will affect them.
  • Support via grants for eligible providers – There is support available to eligible providers through the Improved Payment Administration Transitional Support for Home Care Providers – GO4565. Find further information about this opportunity on the GrantConnect website.

Home Care Packages Program Data Report 4th Quarter 2020-21

The department has released the Home Care Packages Program Data Report covering the period from 1 April to 30 June 2021.

The report is available from the AIHW GEN aged care data website.

Announcements since the last newsletter:

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