Date published: 
29 April 2021
Type: 
Newsletter
Intended Audience: 
Health 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 which provide short snippets of targeted information and are sent as required. To help ensure you haven't missed any important information from us, we've added links to recent announcements including all COVID-19 updates.

Aged care LGBTIQ+ resources

The need to deliver safe and inclusive services to people with diverse needs and experiences is embedded in 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. Effective use of the following narrative and poster could help demonstrate that you have a culture of inclusion and respect and support consumers to exercise choice and independence.

Rainbow Makers: This narrative traces the journey of Malloy, an older lesbian, as she navigates her way through an experience of discrimination by an aged care service provider. The aim of the narrative is to help aged care providers better understand how they can advocate for and provide appropriate and inclusive support services to LGBTIQ+ elders.

You are welcome here poster: An aged care poster featuring Malloy from the above narrative. Navigating the aged care system can be daunting for LGBTIQ+ communities, many who have experienced discrimination and stigma in their lifetime. Once your inclusive policies are in place and your staff are trained, this poster could be displayed in your foyer or in common areas so that anyone who enters your facility or organisation can be reminded of your commitment to inclusion. Visual cues such as this may also help consumers to feel confident sharing their identity and helps the workforce see them as a whole person.

Displaying visual cues for inclusion is a recommended step in moving forward to help consumers make informed choices, as stated in the LGBTI diversity action plan – a guide for providers.

For more information or for questions, contact Ageing.and.Diversity [at] health.gov.au

Webinar 4 May: Stay Connected in Your Community

Join some of the stars of Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds to share their stories with you and talk about how they've tackled social isolation and loneliness.

This webinar will cover:  

  • social isolation and loneliness in community and residential aged care
  • effects of social isolation on older people
  • how community connections can transform older people lives.

Date and time: Tuesday 4 May 2021, 11:30am AEST

Panel members include:

  • Aesh Rao, Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds, Season 2
  • Farid Silwanis, Community Visitors Scheme Volunteer
  • Craig Gear, OAM, CEO, Older Persons Advocacy Network
  • Dr Stephanie Ward, Geriatrician, Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds, Seasons 1 and 2.

Register for the webinar online.

Free trial of PainChek® tool: four weeks left to sign up

The Australian Government is funding a 12 month national trial of the PainChek® pain assessment tool for residential aged care providers. The tool aims to improve pain diagnosis and management in residents with dementia.

More than 1,000 Australian residential aged care facilities are already benefiting from the use of PainChek®, a medical device in the form of an App for smartphones. The App uses artificial intelligence to assess pain levels in residents who are unable to communicate, including those with dementia.

There are only four weeks left to sign up to the 12 month free trial. You can complete your expression of interest on the PainChek® website.

Residential care support supplement

On 1 March 2021, the Australian Government announced it would make an immediate investment for residential care providers to provide stability and maintain services while it considers the recommendations of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

This includes the residential care support supplement to approved residential care providers.

The supplement is based on occupancy in residential care services during February 2021, with different payment rates for metropolitan (Modified Monash Model (MMM) 1) services and non-metropolitan (MMM 2-7) services.

Details of the payment will be shown on relevant payment statements issued by Services Australia.

For further information about this payment, contact Services Australia by:

  • calling 1800 195 206
  • emailing aged.care.liaison [at] servicesaustralia.gov.au

National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) is changing

From 1 July 2021, residential aged care providers will be required to collect and report on five quality indicators:

  • pressure injuries
  • use of physical restraint
  • unplanned weight loss
  • falls and major injury
  • medication management

Data collection for the new quality indicators begins in the 1 July to 30 September 2021 quarter, and must be reported in the 1 October and 21 October 2021 submission period.

Collection of the quality indicators must continue in the 1 April to 30 June 2021 quarter, and will be reported in the 1 July and 21 July 2021 submission period.

Find more information about the QI Program on the department’s website. New quality indicator guidance materials will be available on the website from May 2021.

Client feedback on CHSP service availability

The department routinely monitors client feedback on CHSP service delivery and availability. Recently the department identified an increase in the number of senior Australians reporting that CHSP service providers have advised that services will need to cease or be reduced due to cuts in Commonwealth funding.

While there may be a number of factors affecting CHSP availability and the provision of services to individual clients, there has not been a reduction in CHSP funding. In fact all CHSP grants are indexed each year, and a range of grant funding rounds have been run in recent years, boosting funding for many providers. The department has also approved a program-wide carryover of unspent funds from financial year 2019‑20 into 2020‑21.

CHSP service providers are asked to ensure that their staff are not attributing changes in service delivery to non-existent Commonwealth funding cuts. In accordance with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Standards and the Charter of Aged Care Rights, all CHSP service providers must consult with their clients and communicate any changes to service delivery. If a business decision is made to cease or reduce services, providers should be honest and transparent with their clients about the reasons why the business decision has been made.

The department will continue to monitor client feedback and will be following up with any CHSP providers whose clients lodge complaints about the government cutting the provider’s funding.

CHSP flexibility provisions from 1 July 2021

On 23 March 2020 the department relaxed the flexibility provisions for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) to better enable service providers to re-allocate resources between funded service types and aged care planning regions (ACPR) during the pandemic.

The department has reviewed the effectiveness and efficiency of this measure and will continue a modified version of the full flexibility arrangements as an ongoing component of the CHSP.

From 1 July 2021, CHSP service providers will have full flexibility to re-allocate up to 100 per cent of their grant funds between funded service types and ACPRs.

CHSP service providers must not:

  • re-allocate funding to service types and ACPRs they are not funded for
  • leave service gaps in an area they currently operate in, i.e. resources may only be re-allocated out of a region when there is a clear drop in demand for services
  • suspend a service altogether or move all resources and funding for a service out of an ACPR unless approval has been granted by the department first.

It is also expected that CHSP service providers will work with the Community Grants Hub, Regional Assessment Services and My Aged Care to monitor demand levels and be prepared to return to their normal geographic footprint when demand changes.

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