The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care is currently delivering a significant program of aged care reforms together with the aged care sector. Our vision is to ensure aged care is delivered with security, dignity, quality and humanity.
In this issue, read about the importance of the department’s new name, register for webinars and training, and learn about AN‑ACC factsheets and updates.
In-home aged care reform to be delivered by 1 July 2024
The Australian Government is returning to the timeframe put forward by the Royal Commission for a new in-home aged care program. It will be introduced on 1 July 2024, allowing more time to consult the community.
No one will lose any in-home aged care services they currently have in place through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme or Home Care Packages Program.
The department is carefully considering the views already expressed by older Australians and service providers about reform to in-home aged care. This includes concerns raised by older Australians about a lack of flexibility to meet their needs under the proposed Support at Home Program. Service providers have also indicated there could be unintended consequences associated with the funding model proposed, particularly for group-based services.
We will provide information about further consultation opportunities in the near future.
While the design of a new program progresses we will be making improvements to in-home aged car . This includes capping administration and management charges under the Home Care Packages Program and improving access to Goods, Equipment and Assistive Technology.
Find more information about reforming in-home aged care on the department’s website.
Update: Aged Care Financial Report
The draft 2021-22 Aged Care Financial Report (ACFR) template is now available.
In the 2022 reporting year, approved providers will submit the ACFR through the Forms Administration portal. The sector will be advised once the portal is open. ACFR submissions will be due by 31 October 2022.
For direction, see the 2021-22 ACFR draft template, guide and definitions.
Technical help will be available through webinars and a helpdesk. Feedback or questions can be emailed to email@example.com
Quarterly Financial Reporting and care minutes
The new Quarterly Financial Report (QFR) requirement began on 1 July 2022. The first report, which will cover July to September, is due on 4 November 2022.
Providers must report care staffing minutes in the QFR, including the worked hours for direct care provided by registered and enrolled nurses and personal care workers.
This does not include worked hours undertaking administration, including staff rostering, recruitment, facility level planning and reporting. These activities are captured as labour costs.
It is important that providers report data accurately as it will be used to directly inform performance against your care minutes target and the new star rating system to be introduced at the end of 2022.
Providers should also be aware that since its release earlier this year, the Quarterly Financial Report (QFR) template has been updated with minor changes.
Aged care providers need to have specialised services verified on My Aged Care
Are you an aged care provider delivering specialised services for people with diverse experiences or backgrounds? You can no longer nominate on My Aged Care that your service/outlet specialises in care for diverse groups.
To have specialisation claims published on the My Aged Care website, you must now apply to have these claims verified via an independent assessor. This will help older Australians with diverse backgrounds and needs find the services that best suit them.
The first verified specialisations will be published from October 2022 and will be visually different to unverified claims. Existing specialisation claims which have not been verified will be removed from your My Aged Care profile in early 2023.
Learn more about how to verify your specialisation by visiting the department’s website.
Dementia Carer Respite and Wellbeing Program
A new measure from the department will improve the quality of respite care for people living with dementia and their carers.
Funding of $32 million will be used to put in place innovative and evidence-based care models that combine respite care for people living with dementia and their carers. The program will include opportunistic education, peer support and a focus on wellbeing.
HammondCare is delivering the first stage of the program, called Staying at Home. Find out more on the HammondCare/Dementia Support Australia website.
Read more information about the broader Dementia Carer Respite and Wellbeing Program on the department’s website.
Free online healthy ageing tool
LiveUp is a new free healthy ageing website and screening tool for older Australians. It can help identify small changes that will make a big difference to everyday life.
After answering a few short questions on the LiveUp website, users may be directed to:
- low-cost assistive products and equipment to help with everyday living
- local activities and community groups
- the free LifeCurve App that tracks health and offers long-term tailored advice.
Please share LiveUp with your home care clients if you think it may help them make informed decisions when choosing assistive technologies and services to support their wellbeing.
To learn more, visit www.liveup.org.au or call 1800 951 971.
Webinar: Volunteering and Swinburne's Digital Story Program in Aged Care
Join Swinburne’s Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults for their upcoming free webinar on ageing.
The webinar will be held at 4.45‑6pm AEST on Friday 5 August. It is aimed at people employed in aged care, as well as psychologists, social workers, counsellors and volunteers who work with older adults.
Rebecca Collins is joined by an aged care staff member, aged care resident, researcher and volunteer to discuss the role that volunteers play in the lives of aged care residents. This panel provides an overview of the benefits of volunteering and creating digital stories in aged care. It also proposes suggestions for attracting volunteers to the aged care sector.
Online aged care mental health training
Throughout August 2022, the Australian Psychological Society will continue to offer two free online courses for people working in residential aged care facilities.
Applied Mental Health in Residential Aged Care: Practical Program for Clinicians is for psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, mental health nurses, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers.
Funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care, this course counts as 8 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and covers:
- techniques for navigating the aged care system
- assessing common mental health issues
- some evidence-based psychological interventions.
A separate course, Supporting the mental health of older people in residential aged care: Mental health awareness training is available for non-mental health trained workers in residential aged care, for example registered nurses, physiotherapists, audiologists, speech pathologists, dieticians, personal care workers, attendants and peer workers.
Also funded by the department, this course counts as 6 hours of CPD, and will help workers:
- improve their ability to identify symptoms
- gain the knowledge and tools to effectively respond to, and care for, residents’ mental health.
Residential respite care funding under AN-ACC
All people eligible for respite care will receive an AN-ACC respite classification level that will determine respite funding from 1 October 2022.
People who have been assessed during the shadow assessment period will retain that AN-ACC respite classification. Those who have not been assessed will receive a classification based on their current respite care approval:
- those with a low care respite approval will receive AN-ACC respite classification 101
- those with a high care (or a high care and a low care) approval will receive AN-ACC respite classification 102.
Care recipients and providers can request a reclassification after 1 October 2022 if there has been a significant change in their care needs.
More information is available on the department’s website.