New requirements in place: Provider Governance, Code of Conduct for Aged Care, Serious Incident Response Scheme, Restrictive Practices
A number of changes came into effect on 1 December, and it is important that providers are aware of their obligations.
Changes have been made to provider governance responsibilities for Australian Government-funded aged care providers of residential care, home care, and flexible care. For further information, resources and guidance, visit the provider governance webpage on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s (Commission) website and the provider governance webpage on the Department of Health and Aged Care’s (department) website.
The new Code of Conduct for Aged Care (the Code) sets out standards of behaviour for approved providers, their aged care workers and governing persons, helping to build confidence in the safety and quality of care for older Australians. Find support resources, including guidance materials for providers and workers, on the Code webpage on the Commission’s website and the Code webpage on the department’s website.
The Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) has been extended to home care and flexible care delivered in home and community settings. Resources for providers, including guidance materials for SIRS, are available on the SIRS webpage on the Commission’s website.
The Quality of Care Principles now include a hierarchy of persons/bodies who can consent to the use of restrictive practices when the care recipient cannot consent themselves and there is no explicit legal avenue under state/territory laws. Further information and resources are available on the restrictive practices webpage on the department’s website.
Mandatory care minutes requirements for residential aged care providers will come into effect from 1 October 2023.
Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding to support these requirements includes:
- $5.4 billion over 4 years from 2022-23, to meet the initial target of 200 care minutes and mandatory changes from 1 October 2023
- $1.9 billion over 2 years from 2024-25 to support the increase to 215 care minutes.
This supports the delivery of direct care minutes to residents, including from enrolled nurses, following recommendations from the Royal Commission in Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Care minutes will be monitored through the Quarterly Financial Report (QFR) and shared to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. Providers reducing their enrolled nursing workforce are at risk of not meeting Aged Care Quality Standard 7 and may be subject to regulatory action taken by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
For more information, see the Care minutes and 24/7 nursing requirements guide.
Providers must ensure they are reasonably satisfied that people engaged as key personnel are suitable to be involved in the provision of aged care. Suitability of key personnel must be reviewed at least once every 12 months by providers.
From 1 December 2022, key personnel of providers must advise providers of suitability matters. Suitability matters are defined in section 8C of the Commission Act.
To be ‘reasonably satisfied’ providers should consider all the facts available, including those presented by the staff member and obtained through their own inquiries.
Providers are required to keep a record of the considerations, including the matters that informed the assessment and the reasons why they were reasonably satisfied.
For further information and guidance, visit the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s website.
The department has recently launched EngAged, a monthly email newsletter for older people in Australia.
The newsletter will include regular updates from the Council of Elders, news on the aged care reforms and stories about ageing well.
It will also provide information about programs or services that may be of interest to people who use aged care.
We encourage you to share this information with your clients or older people in your community who may find it helpful.
We recognise and celebrate our dedicated aged care volunteers this week, with International Volunteer Day on 5 December. Volunteers provide important, non-clinical support that complements the role of aged care workers.
The Community Visitors Scheme (CVS), soon to become the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme (ACVVS), is our key volunteering initiative in aged care. It has organised volunteer visits to people receiving Australian-Government-funded aged care for 30 years.
Thank you to all the volunteers providing friendship and support to older Australians. There are hundreds of stories out there but you can find a few at Celebrating the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) on International Volunteer Day - YouTube.
Find out more about becoming a volunteer or organising a volunteer on the department’s website.
Free online learning modules to support aged care workers are now available through the University of Tasmania’s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre.
Funded by the department, the Equip Aged Care Learning Packages cover 14 contemporary topics in aged care. The modules are designed for direct care workers, volunteers, caregivers and anyone with an interest in improving care for older people.
The first 6 learning modules are available now and provide an overview of:
- the Australian aged care system
- the role of nurses, personal care workers and allied health professionals working in aged care
- the Aged Care Quality Standards
- palliative and end-of-life care
- person-centred care
- supporting people living with dementia.
Register and enrol for these modules at Equip Aged Care Learning (utas.edu.au).
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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. The two parts should only take a total of 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.
The Improving respite care for people with dementia and their carers grant opportunity is now open on GrantConnect. Applications close on Monday 16 January 2023.
The grant program aims to increase support to informal carers and families caring for a person living with dementia, through access to dementia–specific respite services and a focus on carer wellbeing.
Grant activities will focus on innovative and new approaches to improve the quality and experience of respite care for people living with dementia.
A webinar providing information for potential applicants will be held at 12:30pm‑1:30pm AEDT on Monday 12 December. Register to attend and submit questions in advance.
The Care and Support Sector Nursing Clinical Placements Program request for tender is now open.
Clinical placements will help to build the aged care workforce, expanding opportunities to attract nursing students.
See AusTender for details. Applications close 2pm, Friday 20 January 2023.
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