The Australian Government Department of Health is currently delivering $18.3 billion in aged care reforms together with the aged care sector. Our vision is for aged care services to be accessible, high quality and to care for senior Australians with respect and dignity.
In this issue, Home Care Packages are up 25 per cent, providers are advised to ensure their incident management system is up to date, and be part of a ground-breaking pilot into new quality indicators.
News about the reforms:
- Latest Home Care Packages Program Data Report
- Be informed: Concepts for a new framework for regulating aged care
- Get involved: In-home aged care providers needed for pilot of new quality measures
- Get involved: Residential aged care services needed for pilot of new quality measures
- Review your incident management system now
- Vision Australia webinar: understanding low vision and blindness
For residential care providers:
For home care providers:
- Improved Payment Arrangements: Home care opt-in ends 28 February
- Updated home care pricing summary available
Latest Home Care Packages Program Data Report
The department has released the Home Care Packages Program Data Report for the period 1 October to 31 December 2021.
The report shows that 217,724 people had access to a Home Care Package (HCP) at 31 December 2021. This is an increase of 25 per cent over the previous 12 months.
A record number of 21,592 people obtained an HCP for the first time in the December 2021 quarter. This is the single largest quarterly inflow of new entrants.
The number of people in the National Priority System waiting for an HCP at their approved level dropped to 68,429. This is a decrease of 29 per cent since 31 December 2020.
Read the full report on the AIHW GEN Aged Care Data website.
Be informed: Concepts for a new framework for regulating aged care
The department has released a Concept Design Paper about a new, improved approach to regulating aged care.
This is the first step in the public consultation process for developing a new regulatory framework to support our future aged care system to support our future aged care system. The framework will need to be contemporary, fit-for-purpose and support other aged care reforms such as the new Aged Care Act and Support at Home program.
To get involved, please read the paper and sign up to future consultations on the Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub so that when consultations start in the coming months to further design the framework, including how it will operate and work in practise, you can sign up to contribute your thoughts.
Get involved: In-home aged care providers needed for pilot of new quality measures
The department is developing additional quality indicators for the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) for in-home aged care.
In-home aged care providers are invited to participate in a six-week pilot to test the use of quality indicators across five important areas of care, as well as a consumer experience or quality of life. The pilot is expected to start on 7 March 2022.
Register to get involved.
Get involved: Residential aged care services needed for pilot of new quality measures
The department is developing additional quality indicators for the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program).
Providers of residential aged care services are invited to participate in a six-week pilot to test the use of quality indicators across four crucial areas of care, as well as a quality of life. The pilot is expected to start on 7 March 2022.
Register to get involved.
Review your incident management system now
All aged care approved providers are required to have an effective incident management system (IMS) in place, under the Aged Care Quality Standards (Standard 8).
This includes both home care and residential providers.
An IMS is critical to identifying, managing and resolving incidents that can occur during the course of delivering care and services to consumers. Importantly, it can also help prevent incidents in the future.
We strongly encourage all providers to review your IMS, to ensure it is appropriately implemented and effective.
Read the guidelines to help ensure you have best practice processes and procedures in place.
Vision Australia webinar: understanding low vision and blindness
Date: Wednesday 16 February 2022
Time: 3-4pm AEDT
Loss of vision can have profound effects on the way people go about their daily lives.
If you work as a Regional Assessment Service or Aged Care Assessment Team assessor, this session will build your knowledge and confidence to discuss appropriate supports and goals with vision-impaired clients when completing assessments.
You will learn about:
- common eye conditions and their impact on vision
- impacts of vision loss on daily living activities
- daily living strategies, aids and equipment useful for people with blindness or low vision
- selecting the relevant service types when referring vision impaired clients for services.
Register for the webinar and you will be sent a login link.
Information for providers using Services Australia’s Aged Care Online
Residential aged care providers using Services Australia’s Aged Care Online must upgrade to web services before 13 March 2022.
To upgrade, you need:
- web services compatible Business to Government (B2G) software
- a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) Organisation account for authentication
- a completed AC027 form to set up your device for Aged Care web services.
If you don’t upgrade to web services before 13 March 2022, you may need to revert to either the Aged Care Provider Portal or a manual process.
Contact your software developer now to discuss their transition plans for your site.
For more information, visit the Services Australia website.
Improved Payment Arrangements: Home care opt-in ends 28 February
Home Care providers must decide whether to opt-in to draw down any unspent Commonwealth funds they hold for care recipients by 28 February 2022.
Even if a care recipient’s balance is $0, providers still need to report unspent Commonwealth funds, so it makes sense to opt-in. It means you will not need to report unspent Commonwealth funds in future months.
If you don’t opt-in a care recipient, you will continue to manage the unspent Commonwealth funds you hold for them until they’re no longer receiving your care.
Providers who have chosen not to opt-in need to continue to report monthly on unspent Commonwealth funds held for a care recipient.
For more information go to the Q&A fact sheet.
Updated home care pricing summary available
The National summary of Home Care Package prices – 31 December 2021 shows pricing data for common care services, care management and package management.
At 31 December 2021, the median nursing price was $99 per standard hour, while light gardening, in-home respite, personal care, and cleaning/household tasks ranged from $57 to $60 per standard hour.
View the summary on the department’s website.
Home Care Package providers are required to publish prices for common care services, care management and package management on the My Aged Care website.