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, how you can help us create safer aged care accommodation, phase two grants open for the Specialist Dementia Care Program, and we shine a light on best practice for hearing assistance programs in aged care.
1,500 new Nursing and Allied Health Scholarships
The Australian Government has expanded the Aged Care Nursing Scholarship Program and introduced Allied Health Dementia Care Scholarships.
1,500 new scholarships will be available to enrolled and registered nurses, personal care workers and allied health professionals.
A guaranteed number of scholarships will be available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Scholarship recipients will also be eligible for a completion bonus on successfully finishing their course. These scholarships include, for example, the study areas of:
- palliative and dementia care
- infection prevention and control
- leadership and management.
Applications for Semester One close on 5 May 2022. Find out more on the Australian College of Nursing website.
Food and Nutrition report reveals spending increase
Since 1 July 2021, residential aged care providers have been reporting on food and nutrition spending to receive the Basic Daily Fee Supplement of $10 per day per resident.
This self-reported data shows:
- more than 98% of services spent more than the $6 per day figure reported in the 2017 study used by the Royal Commission
- from July to December 2021, the average spend per person per day in residential care was more than $12.
The department received near 100 per cent report submission for the two reporting periods since July.
Many innovations in oral health, nutrition, meal preparation and dining experience have also been revealed by the reports.
More information on the Basic Daily Fee Supplement can be found on the department’s website.
The next report is due 21 April 2022 for all residential aged care, Multi-Purpose Services and NATSIFAC services. You can access the report from 1 April 2022.
Reminder: Have your say on new residential aged care design standards
We want to hear what is important to senior Australians in the design of high quality residential aged care accommodation.
Senior Australians, their families, carers and aged care advocates can help us create safer, more innovative aged care accommodation.
Key elements of aged care accommodation include:
- dementia friendly
- suitable for diverse population
- safe design standards
- standards that support innovation.
We encourage you to share the online survey with the people you care for, their families and carers. They can also complete the survey by phone or request a hard copy with a reply-paid envelope by calling 1800 318 209.
The Residential Aged Care Design Standards Survey closes on 20 April 2022.
Have your say: Aged care research priorities survey
The Australian Government has funded Flinders University to set up an Aged Care Centre for Growth and Translational Research. This new collaborative hub will conduct research, and translate research findings into best practice for aged care.
The aged care sector helped identify research priorities for 2022. These are dementia care, restorative care/rehabilitation, mental health and wellbeing, and social isolation.
A survey is open to identify the priority needs for next year. These will be the focus of the centre’s research projects and resource development in 2023.
Have your say via the online survey on the Flinders University website until 8 May 2022.
Webinar: Digital Transformation Tech Talk
The department’s Digital Transformation agenda is working to create a better-connected aged care network, that is consolidated, sustainable, automated, and modern.
We are inviting the sector to join us in an ongoing conversation, starting with the Digital Transformation Tech Talk webinar on Friday 8 April, 2:30‑4pm AEST.
Join us to hear more about why we are undertaking this important work, the technical roadmap, and timeframes and sequencing. You will also have a chance to ask questions.
Meeting the diverse needs of senior Australians
The department is implementing a Specialisation Verification Program, which will allow senior Australians with diverse needs and life experiences to exercise informed choice when selecting providers using the My Aged Care Find a Provider tool.
Under this voluntary program, providers delivering specialised services for diverse groups can apply for verification against criteria in the Specialisation Verification Framework. Applications will be assessed by independent assessor, Australian Healthcare Associates.
Applications for verification will commence in June 2022. A transitional period will follow before unverified claims are removed from the Find a Provider portal.
Find out more about the draft Specialisation Verification Framework, which will undergo minor modifications for assessments to be desktop audits.
The department will provide more information soon.
Deployment of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) for residential aged care facilities
As part of the department’s winter preparedness, packs of the prescription-only medication, Tamiflu, will be deployed to residential aged care facilities from mid-April for both residents and staff.
Tamiflu is an oral antiviral used to treat influenza A and B infections. Treatment should commence as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours after the onset of the initial symptoms.
Labelled packs sent to RACFs will include instructions for use and storage.
The deployment of Tamiflu follows the preplacement of molnupiravir (Lagevrio®), an oral treatment for COVID-19, which was preplaced in RACFs in February for resident use only. Lagevrio® is now listed on the PBS.
For more information, see the factsheet on the use of Lagevrio® (molnupiravir) in residential aged care.
AN-ACC technical documentation now available for software developers
New documentation for the Aged Care Application Programming Interface (API) versions are now available within Services Australia’s Health Systems Developer Portal. This documentation has been released to support the transition to the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model for residential care.
If you are a software developer, you will need to upgrade your software before the AN-ACC funding model is introduced on 1 October 2022. This will allow residential aged care providers to keep using your software to access Aged Care Web Services.
There will be 22 APIs with new versions; all relevant documentation is available within table version 4.0.
Find more information about AN-ACC funding model changes on the Department of Health website.
Changes to My Aged Care: update your pricing information now
New easy-to-navigate tools to help senior Australians better understand Home Care Package pricing is coming soon to the My Aged Care website.
- a new, quick costs checker for common services
- cost-comparison indicators to compare average pricing at a geographic level
- an updated costs tab layout
- a note to show when content was last updated by the provider.
Providers should review and confirm that their pricing information is up to date on the My Aged Care Provider Portal ahead of the release (scheduled for April).
Read more about the changes to improve price transparency for Home Care Packages.