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: upcoming webinars on the future Support at Home Program, and addressing labour shortages with overseas workers; and learn about the new 'bed-ready' process that's ensuring supply of places and continued investment in residential aged care.
Support at Home Program and regulatory update webinar
The department is presenting a webinar on Tuesday 8 March from 2pm to 4pm AEDT on the new Support at Home Program, due to begin from July 2023. The webinar will cover the proposed program design and concepts for a new aged care regulatory framework, with an opportunity to post questions to the department.
Department representatives will also canvas concepts for a new aged care regulatory framework, in line with a concept paper available on the department’s website.
Register for the webinar.
New ‘bed-ready’ process for residential aged care places
A new process is in place for providers who are ready to provide residential aged care and need more places.
Providers can now seek residential places through a ‘bed-ready’, non-competitive process, following the end of the Aged Care Approvals Rounds last year.
This process ensures ongoing supply of residential places. It also supports continued investment and construction in the residential aged care sector.
The bed-ready process is available until 30 June 2024, when residential aged care places will be assigned directly to senior Australians.
Find out more on the department’s website.
Input needed to reduce hospital admissions across residential aged care
The department is interviewing residential aged care managers and clinical staff about how their facility prevents hospitalisations, as part of research aimed at reducing admission rates.
The information will be used to develop strategies to reduce the rates of preventable hospital admissions right across the country.
COVID-19 has placed enormous pressure on facilities, but the interviews are important to determine which programs, such as multidisciplinary falls prevention, are in place for high-risk residents and to make safer environments for seniors.
An interview by contractor HealthConsult would take 60 to 90 minutes to complete and complement a survey conducted in December and January. Interviews will be available over the next three weeks.
Please contact Stephanie Santos, Manager, Policy Strategy and Planning, HealthConsult on 0424 587 792 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to take part.
Webinars – Skilled visa options for aged care providers
The Australian Government acknowledges the workforce pressures aged care providers are currently facing.
Webinars for providers to learn more about visa options to address critical labour shortages will be hosted by the Department of Home Affairs on 28 February and 3 March 2022.
- visa options and practical hints for providers interested in sponsoring overseas workers to fill workforce gaps
- using labour agreements to access skilled overseas workers where standard skilled visa programs are not applicable
- other aged care workforce initiatives.
Register for the 28 February session (targeting providers from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane).
Register for the 3 March session (targeting providers from the regions and other capital cities).
Inspiring campaign supports employers to attract new staff to aged care
A campaign by the Australian Government is supporting employers to attract workers to the aged care sector.
The A Life Changing Life campaign encourages jobseekers to consider a rewarding job or career in the care and support sector, including aged care, disability and veterans’ support.
The Care and Support Jobs website hosts a range of resources for employers to attract, train and retain workers with the rights skills and qualities.
Heart-warming videos tell the stories of aged care workers’ rewarding experiences working with older people, like this one about Ruby and Robert who have developed an endearing friendship.
Webinar to help providers appeal to employee candidates
Online recruitment platform SEEK, in partnership with the Australian Government, is presenting a webinar on Tuesday 8 March from 11am to noon AEDT to help care and support providers communicate their ‘employer brand’.
Attendees will hear how to develop an effective employer value proposition from a care and support provider, as well as SEEK experts, and learn about candidate priorities and movement across industries.
Part of a series of webinars in conjunction with the government’s A Life Changing Life campaign, the ‘Developing and communicating your employer brand’ webinar will:
- feature a home-care provider’s development of their employer value proposition and transition to a human-centric design in HR and recruitment
- present a master class in identifying, positioning and communicating your unique employer value proposition.
Register for the webinar.
Suicide Prevention for Seniors Program (NSW)
Would you know what to do if someone you support was experiencing thoughts of suicide?
Anglicare’s Suicide Prevention for Seniors Program equips aged care workers with the knowledge to help prevent suicide.
The free program includes an online general suicide prevention course followed by a workshop contextualising the training for seniors. Both sections should take about three hours to complete.
The program is funded by the NSW Government. To be eligible, you need to be working with older people and based in NSW.
COVID-19 oral treatment for residential aged care facilities
The Australian Government has sent supplies of Lagevrio® (molnupiravir) through the National Medical Stockpile to all residential aged care facilities (RACFs).
Lagevrio® is provisionally approved for use in COVID-19-positive adults who do not require supplemental oxygen (due to COVID-19) and are at increased risk of progression to hospitalisation or death.
RACFs will be required to:
- ensure authorised prescription, by a GP or nurse practitioner, before administering the medication to a COVID-19-positive resident
- store the medication in usual secure medicines storage.
Lagevrio® (molnupiravir) is not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and therefore is not currently available through community pharmacies.
Find out more about COVID-19 oral treatments for RACFs on the department's website.
Upcoming changes to SIRS online reporting form
The online reporting form for the Serious Incident Response Scheme will be easier to use from 28 February 2022, following changes to the My Aged Care Provider Portal.
The changes will help residential aged care providers better understand what information to include in their reportable incident notifications to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
Providers will also be able to submit multiple Priority 2 incident notifications at a time. This bulk upload capability will speed up the submission process.
Learn more with the following resources from the Commission:
- Practical tips for providers explains the type of information to include in a notification
- Problem solving approach to enhance effective incident management helps providers quickly understand the causes of incidents.
Apply for flexible aged care places (residential)
The 2021-22 Flexible Aged Care Places (Multi-Purpose Services) Allocations Round opened on 14 February 2022.
Multi-Purpose Service approved providers can apply for flexible aged care places to:
- expand existing services or
- establish new services.
Up to 100 places are available through a competitive application process. Applications close on 28 March 2022.
Flexible aged care places (home care) are not allocated in this round.
Improved Payment Arrangements: Updates for Home Care Package providers
Providers who have not yet reported on unspent funds for all care recipients are required to do so to finalise and submit their December 2021 claim.
By 28 February 2022, providers must decide whether to opt-in to return the Commonwealth portion of unspent funds for each care recipient who was in their care before 1 September 2021. Doing so will reduce provider administration.
Providers are reminded they have up to 70 days from a care recipient’s departure to adjust care events, finalise outstanding invoices and submit these as part of their monthly claim. Otherwise, invoices for departed care recipients may not be paid.
If you have issues claiming or with payment, contact Services Australia on 1800 195 206 (8.30am‑5pm AEDT, Monday-Friday) or email email@example.com for consideration and manual processing.
Better Practice Home Care Package Monthly Statement Template now available for providers
The department encourages all home care providers to use the new Better Practice Home Care Package (HCP) Monthly Statement template.
Using the template will:
- improve the quality of HCP statements
- support providers to align their monthly statement with Improved Payment Arrangements changes
- make it easier for care recipients to understand their statement
- support care recipients make informed choices with their HCP funds.
The Provider Guide Better Practice Home Care Package Statement will help you use the template.
Senior Australians receiving home care can follow the Consumer Guidance Understanding your Home Care Package statement to help understand their monthly statements.