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 Updates to Serious Incident Response scheme resources, find out about new monthly statement resources, and register for webinars and training.
News about the reforms
- Aged care legislation commencement and Senate committee inquiry
- Supporting a real pay rise for aged care workers
- Updates to Serious Incident Response Scheme resources
- Webinar: Quarterly Financial Report updates and Q&A
- Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing webinar: Collecting Diversity Data to Promote Inclusive Services in Aged Care
- Australian Human Rights Commission’s age awareness training: Register your interest
- Webinar: Stroke – what you need to know
- National Suicide Prevention for Seniors Program
For residential care providers
For home care providers
- Home Care Packages monthly statements resources
- New guidance examines key home services delivery risks
Aged care legislation commencement and Senate committee inquiry
On 27 July, the Australian Government introduced two key pieces of aged care legislation to Parliament enabling better service and higher quality of care for older Australians.
The Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 5 August, commencing the schedules relating to Star Ratings, information sharing, increased financial and prudential oversight, and strengthened arrangements for the use of restrictive practices. The remaining schedules will progressively commence over the coming days and months.
The second piece of legislation, the Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022, builds on the Australian Government’s five-point plan for aged care. It contains three measures to implement election commitments including requiring residential aged care communities to have a qualified registered nurse on site and on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Bill has been referred to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 31 August. The Committee is accepting submissions until 12 August.
Supporting a real pay rise for aged care workers
The Commonwealth of Australia (Australian Government) has provided a submission to the Fair Work Commission supporting a wage increase for aged care workers.
The Fair Work Commission is considering an increase to minimum award wages for the sector. Our submission acknowledges the complexity of aged care work as the care needs of older Australians increase. It also addresses the broader gender impacts of the case, given most of the workforce are women.
The submission is available on the Fair Work Commission website.
Updates to Serious Incident Response Scheme resources
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has updated key Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) resources to clarify reportable incidents in residential aged care involving unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct.
The Commission considers these incidents to be Priority 1 reportable incidents.
This means you must report them to the Commission within 24 hours of becoming aware of the incident. You can do this through the My Aged Care Service Provider Portal.
You must also report incidents that are unlawful or considered to be of a criminal nature (for example, sexual assault) to police within 24 hours.
Find out more and access the updated resources on the Commission’s website.
Webinar: Quarterly Financial Report updates and Q&A
The first Quarterly Financial Report (QFR) is due on 4 November 2022.
To help aged care providers prepare for new quarterly reporting requirements, a second QFR technical webinar will be held at 1pm‑2.30pm AEST on Thursday 18 August. The webinar will:
- reiterate key features of the QFR
- highlight key Aged Care Financial Report (ACFR) enhancements
- answer financial reporting questions.
Presenters will discuss all segments of the QFR, including viability questions, quarterly financial statements, care costs and labour hours, and food and nutrition. Grant Corderoy from StewartBrown will present on the completion of care minutes.
If you have any questions or need help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing webinar: Collecting Diversity Data to Promote Inclusive Services in Aged Care
As part of its 2022–23 online Diversity Webinar Series, the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing (PICAC Victoria) is hosting a webinar on Collecting Diversity Data to Promote Inclusive Services in Aged Care at 2pm‑3:30pm AEST on Wednesday 24 August.
The webinar will outline different approaches to gathering diversity data within aged care organisations. It will also showcase the new SBS Australian Census Explorer website, where organisations can search cultural diversity data per suburb, state, or territory to better understand their communities and their needs. This can help inform service delivery that provides culturally safe, appropriate and inclusive care, in line with the Aged Care Quality Standards.
Australian Human Rights Commission’s age awareness training: Register your interest
The Australian Human Rights Commission is examining beliefs around ageing held by people who work closely with older people, such as those working in residential aged care or delivering home care packages, and the effect of awareness training on these beliefs.
The Commission will deliver training to challenge biased attitudes towards ageing and address misconceptions about older people. Participants will complete surveys before and after training, and have an opportunity to take part in a group discussion.
This is an opportunity for aged care workers to broaden their understanding of the ageing process and transform the way they think about older age.
To register your interest, email email@example.com by Monday 29 August.
Webinar: Stroke – what you need to know
Join Swinburne’s Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults for their upcoming free webinar on ageing.
The webinar will be held at 4.45pm‑6pm AEST on Friday 19 August. It is aimed at people employed in aged care, as well as psychologists, social workers, counsellors and volunteers who work with older adults.
President of the Boroondara Stroke Support Group, Vivienne Harkness, and her fellow members will provide an introduction to stroke and its effects on day to day life. They also provide suggestions for managing one’s wellbeing and personal disability following stroke.
National Suicide Prevention for Seniors Program
Would you know what to do if someone you support was experiencing thoughts of suicide?
Anglicare’s Suicide Prevention for Seniors Program equips those who support older people, with the knowledge to help prevent suicide.
The free program has expanded nationally and includes a general suicide prevention online course followed by a workshop contextualising the training for older people. Both sections should only take about 3 hours to complete.
The program is funded by the NSW and Australian governments. To be eligible, you need to be working with older people and have internet access.
Business Improvement Fund Round 2: Outcome of grant applications
Minister for Aged Care and Sport the Hon Anika Wells has approved grants for 52 aged care providers in regional, rural and remote Australia. The providers will receive almost $25 million in funding to help them meet financial challenges and improve their financial viability.
The funding will also allow residential aged care providers to implement business improvement activities and continue providing a valuable service to local communities in their area.
The successful applicants have been notified and will be listed on GrantConnect in the coming weeks.
Home Care Packages Monthly Statements resources
The department has updated the Provider Guide and the Consumer Guidance for the Better Practice Home Care Packages (HCP) Monthly Statement template.
These updates align with the new requirements for reporting the distribution of care recipients’ unspent funds. From the September 2022 payment period, providers must clearly report the Commonwealth portion of provider-held unspent funds, the care recipient’s portion of provider-held unspent funds, and the home care account balance.
All HCP providers are encouraged to use the template to improve the quality of HCP statements, and to align their monthly statement with all legislated requirements. This will make it easier for care recipients to understand their statement, and will help them to make informed choices with their HCP funds.
New guidance examines key in home services delivery risks
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has released guidance to help providers of in home services deliver safe and quality care and services to their clients.
The Quality and safety in home services – 5 key areas of risk resource is aimed at governing bodies. It examines the key risks they should be aware of and address in their delivery of in home services, including:
- organisational governance
- care planning and assessment
- clinical care
- vulnerable consumers
- management of package funds.
The resource includes a checklist tool to help measure and monitor these risks.
Governing bodies can use this guidance to review their performance and identify areas for improvement in their governance, systems and processes.