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.
New My Aged Care face-to-face services launched with Services Australia
Senior Australians will have access to a new My Aged Care face-to-face services in Services Australia centres across the country. This service will support older people to access and register for aged care.
The face to face service is currently in 15* service centres and will expand to 80 locations by December 2022, including 10 mobile outreach services for remote areas. This complements the services offered through the existing My Aged Care website and call centre.
Aged Care Specialist Officers can discuss aged care options including assessment referrals, financial information and connections to local support services.
Visit the Services Australia website to find out more.
This service is part of commitments to improve access to aged care.
*appointments in some locations may be temporarily impacted by COVID
Extension of Aged Care Navigator Trials to help more Senior Australians
We have extended the successful Aged Care System Navigator trials until 31 December 2022.
System navigators support people who need intensive support to connect to services and to use the My Aged Care access channels.
If there is a navigator trial in your area you can refer vulnerable people, including those who are isolated, homeless, have a disability or dementia or identify as LGBTI.
Visit www.agedcarenavigators.org.au or call 1300 268 228 to find local navigators.
COTA Australia manages delivery of the trials by 22 partners.
In January 2023 a new care finder program will begin and will incorporate this service as part of commitments to improve access to aged care.
Extension: Have your say about changes to allocation of residential aged care places
You are invited to have your say on the design and implementation of a new residential aged care system.
This will replace the Aged Care Approvals Round and allocate residential care places directly to senior Australians from 1 July 2024.
You can share your views by completing the online survey on the department’s Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub. The timeframe for the survey has been extended by one week and submissions will now close at 6:00pm AEDT, Sunday 21 November 2021.
Reminder: Get involved with the development of quality indicators
Consultations that will inform the development of quality measures for residential and in-home aged care are underway.
We invite you to tell us the important areas of quality that should be considered in the expansion of the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program).
The consultations include online workshops, survey or written submissions. They close 10 December 2021.
To get involved, visit the Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub.
If you have any questions, please contact the PricewaterhouseCoopers project team working with the department:
- In-home aged care: QIpilothomecare@au.pwc.com
- Residential aged care: QIpilotresidentialcare@au.pwc.com
What we’ve heard: Home care provider research findings
Join us for a webinar on Wednesday 24 November 2021, 2:00‑3:30pm AEDT, to hear the key findings from recent research about:
- provider readiness for change to a new Support at Home program
- current provider capability across business, IT, administration, financial, governance and workforce areas
- provider views on the potential aged care reforms.
You will have an opportunity to ask research company Boston Consulting Group questions about the research.
You can register and learn more about the webinar on the department’s website. The webinar is open to the first 1,000 registrants, so sign up now. The webinar will also be recorded.
My Aged Care partnership to better support bereaved family members
To make it easier for family members to notify My Aged Care when someone passes away, My Aged Care has partnered with the Australian Death Notification Service (ADNS). This free service enables family members to tell multiple organisations that someone has passed away, with one notification.
This doesn’t change the notification process for providers and assessors. If you become aware of a client passing away, you should still let My Aged Care know as early as possible using the Notify My Aged Care of a Death function in a client’s record. Please be sure to select the correct record to avoid causing unnecessary distress and service disruptions to other clients.
Find out more about the ADNS on the My Aged Care website.
Free interpreting service for aged care providers
The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) provides translation services in over 160 languages. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Approved providers can register to use this service for free.
The Australian Government funds translation services so that senior Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds can be supported to take an active role in their own care.
Demonstrating an inclusive culture is part of the Aged Care Quality Standards.
Standard 1 includes ensuring that senior Australians are provided with information that is clear and easy to understand.
Ensuring all staff are familiar with TIS National for aged care services is a requirement under the Actions to Support Older CALD People: a Guide for Aged Care Providers action plan.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Education program to reduce medicine-related problems in older people
NPS MedicineWise is conducting a free education program for residential aged care providers about reducing the risk of adverse outcomes from medicines that can have unintended effects.
The program supports quality improvement activities to help with medication management and mandatory reporting of aged care quality indicators for falls and injuries.
The program provides:
- CPD-accredited education sessions on assessing and managing anticholinergic and sedative burden and reducing unintended adverse effects
- resources to use with residents and their families, and support strengthening clinical governance
- advice on existing medication safety tools and resources.
To find out more and register your interest, visit the NPS MedicineWise website.
Reminder: Do not discharge temporarily relocated residents
A resident can be temporarily relocated to another approved provider if your service is unable to care for them. This might be because you need to refurbish their room.
To avoid disruption to fees and funding, keep the relocated resident admitted to your service. As long as a resident is not discharged:
- you continue to receive subsidies and supplements on their behalf
- they continue to pay their agreed residential care fees to you.
You will need to enter a financial arrangement with the temporary provider to give them funds for the relocated resident’s care and services.
You continue to be responsible for the relocated resident under the Aged Care Act 1997.
Once you can care for the resident again, they have the right to return to their room.
Learn more on the department’s website.
Home Care Package Provider Stocktake closes 19 November
The Home Care Package (HCP) Provider Stocktake is currently open to collect information on the types, volume and cost of care and services delivered under the HCP Program for the month of June 2021.
A link to the Stocktake was sent to eligible providers by Forms Administration on 20 September. If you have not responded yet, please participate to help inform future improvements to the program.
The Stocktake closes at 5:00pm AEDT, Friday 19 November 2021.
Improved Payment Arrangements – tips
Changes to payment arrangements for Home Care Package providers occurred in September 2021. There’s a few things to remember:
- You have up to 70 days from a care recipient’s departure to adjust care events, finalise outstanding invoice amounts and submit as part of your monthly claim. See the fact sheet for further guidance.
- Options to lease or buy large items need to be discussed with the care recipient. Splitting invoices is not permitted.
- Opt-in your provider-held Commonwealth unspent funds to start using them to pay for care and services for care recipients. You have until 28 February 2022 to decide for each care recipient, even if balance is $0. If you opt-in you won’t need to report on monthly balances.
- Transitional Support Grant – the department has sent invitations to eligible providers to apply for funding. Visit the GrantConnect website for more information.
September 2021 National Summary of Home Care Prices
From July 2019, Home Care Package (HCP) providers are required to publish prices for common care services, care management and package management on the My Aged Care website. This improves pricing transparency.
The September 2021 National Summary of Home Care Prices is available on the department’s website. Analysis and interpretation of the pricing information is reliant upon data self-reported by HCP providers. The department is exploring avenues to improve data quality.
The Summary shows:
- The median nursing price was $98 per standard hour, while light gardening, in-home respite, personal care, and cleaning / household task rates ranged from $57 to $60 per hour. National median prices for these five services increased by 1.5% to 3% between May and September 2021.
- Fortnightly prices for most package management and provider-managed care management increased by $1 to $5. Level 2 care management prices remained unchanged.
- Care management and package management national median prices represented 15% and 10% of the fortnightly subsidy, respectively.
- Care management prices for care recipients who self-manage their package remained lower than provider-managed care management prices, with a national median price of $125 per fortnight for level 4 care recipients.