Your Aged Care Update issue 32, 2022

Your Aged Care Update #32: Minister's message, SIRS resources for home care, operational hours over holiday period, and more.

Date published:
Audience:
General public

A message from Minister for Aged Care, the Hon Anika Wells MP

What a busy year it has been!

Firstly, thank you for your continued efforts in caring for older people, and your support and interest in the reforms to Australia’s aged care system. Your participation and input is essential to helping us improve aged care.

In 2022, the Department of Health and Aged Care ran or supported 72 consultation activities on the reforms, including workshops, surveys, webinars and consultation papers. You can read What We’ve Heard on the Aged Care Engagement Hub, for the outcomes and next steps for many of these consultations.

This year we have implemented major changes: we introduced Star Ratings for residential aged care, extended the Serious Incident Response Scheme to home care, and improved transparency and accountability around pricing and fees of aged care providers.

We also supported a wage increase for aged care workers, capped home care package fees, and legislated 24/7 nurses and more care minutes in residential aged care homes, as well as the new funding model, AN-ACC. And we held an aged care roundtable to contribute to the Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit.

There is still much more to be done to improve aged care, and we have some major projects to tackle over the next 12 months as we continue to respond to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

We look forward to your continued engagement in 2023 as we continue working to strengthen aged care in Australia.

Star Ratings for residential aged care are now live

Star Ratings for residential aged care services are now available via the ‘Find a provider’ tool on the My Aged Care website.

Should providers have any concerns regarding IT or technical errors please contact the My Aged Care service provider and assessor helpline on 1800 836 799 and select '4 Technical Help desk'. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm and Saturday, 10am-2pm.

Star Ratings will help older people, their families and carers understand how their service is performing and help those seeking care to choose the right home for them.

Star Ratings is designed to encourage continuous quality improvement over time. The department will continue to develop and share resources to help providers improve the quality of care for residents.

Find more information about Star Ratings and resources on the department’s website.

SIRS resources for home care service providers

On 1 December, the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) extended beyond residential aged care to include home care and flexible care delivered in a home or community setting.

All providers must have an effective incident management system in place and use the My Aged Care portal to notify the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission if a reportable incident occurs.

Resources about the SIRS, including what and how to report, include:

Further SIRS information is available on the Commission’s website.

HCP price capping legislation now available

The Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Capping Home Care Charges) Principles 2022 are now available.

These legislative changes, commencing 1 January 2023, enact the Australian Government’s commitment to cap administration and management charges in the Home Care Packages (HCP) Program.

For more information about the pricing changes, visit the department’s website.

Respite care for HCP recipients

Respite care is available to support the relationship between Home Care Package (HCP)recipients and their carers by offering them a break for a short period of time.

There are many ways for HCP recipients to access respite care. Respite can be provided in the home, in a day centre, in cottage-style accommodation, or in a residential setting. These options include:

  • in-home respite through the HCP
  • HCP recipients whose budget is already fully allocated can access additional planned respite services under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) in the short-term
  • residential respite, noting HCP funds may not be used to fund co-payment
  • emergency respite care through the Carer Gateway
  • non-funded services, including private services (HCP funds may be used) and state and local government programs.

Find out more about respite care on the department's website.

Support to recruit home care workers for NSW/ACT providers

Settlement Services International (SSI) is supporting aged care providers to recruit home care workers in NSW and ACT, as part of the Australian Government’s Home Care Workforce Support Program.

This program is designed to help older Australians remain at home by attracting and retaining more workers to the personal care workforce.

SSI are looking to identify, screen, upskill, mentor and place 4,400 new workers across NSW and ACT in the next 2 years.

NSW and ACT-based aged care organisations and individuals interested in the Home Care Workforce Support Program can email homecare@ssi.org.au for more information.

Reforming in-home aged care webinar recording now available

More than 2,000 people attended the third Reforming in-home aged care update webinar on 7 December.

A recording of the webinar is now available.

The webinar shared your feedback on the initial design of the new program for in-home aged care and outlined next steps.

The department also provided an update on ongoing home care reforms, including legislation, regulation, and the price caps for Home Care Packages.

Thank you for your continued engagement on the design of the new program for in-home aged care. We look forward to working together in the new year.

Find more information about in-home aged care reforms on the department’s website.

Operational hours over the holiday period

Department of Health and Aged Care

Christmas shutdown will run from 3pm AEDT Friday 23 December 2022 until Tuesday 3 January 2023.

My Aged Care

The My Aged Care contact centre (1800 200 422) and provider and assessor helpline (1800 836 799) will be closed on the following national public holidays over Christmas and New Year:

  • Sunday 25 December 2022
  • Monday 26 December 2022
  • Tuesday 27 December 2022
  • Sunday 1 January 2023
  • Monday 2 January 2023.

Otherwise, normal contact centre hours will apply:

  • 8am to 8pm weekdays
  • 10am to 2pm Saturdays.

Star Ratings

  • Providers having any concerns about IT or technical errors should contact the My Aged Care service provider and assessor helpline on 1800 836 799 and select '4 Technical Help desk'.
  • For general Star Ratings enquiries, contact the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission

The Commission will continue managing incoming enquiries on weekdays (including public holidays) throughout the Christmas/New Year period.

This includes from Monday 26 December to Friday 30 December 2022, and on Monday 2 January 2023.

For the Commission’s contact details, visit its Contact us webpage.

Reporting back on the Provider Pulse Survey

Earlier this year the department ran the first Pulse survey for aged care providers and stakeholders to measure and monitor readiness for upcoming changes and the levels of awareness of the reforms. 

We received 2,542 responses, with 64% of these from aged care providers. 

Responses from aged care providers indicated moderate levels of preparedness for the reforms that will take effect over the next 6 months. Read more about what we heard in this and other consultation activities. 

These results highlight focus areas and projects requiring further support and provide a baseline on which we will measure our effectiveness each quarter.

The next Pulse survey for providers is planned for release in early February 2023.

Grant Opportunity now open: Improving respite care for people with dementia and their carers

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.

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 was held on 12 December to provide information for potential applicants. Watch the recording on the department’s website, or find more information on the grant opportunity on the GrantConnect website.

Aged care research and innovation grants available

Aged Care Research & Industry Innovation Australia (ARIIA) conducts research in collaboration with aged care workers, providers, researchers and people who use aged care services.

Over the next 2 years, several ARIIA Research Grants will be available for projects up to the value of $160,000 (ex GST), with funding from the department. Round 4 is open from 1 December until 17 February 2023. 

Initial research priorities developed in conjunction with the aged care sector include:

  • dementia care
  • rehabilitation, reablement and restorative care
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • social isolation
  • meaningful lifestyle activities
  • palliative care and end of life
  • staff burnout
  • projects with urgent and critical need.

ARIIA is an industry-led, independent and not-for-profit organisation.

Find out more on the ARIIA website.

Extension to registered nurses’ payment grant round

The Aged Care Registered Nurses’ Payment round has been extended to Tuesday 28 February 2023.

Grant addendum details, the latest Staffing Profile and Frequently Asked Questions can be downloaded from the GrantConnect website under GO5820.

A reminder that all providers applying for the payment on behalf of eligible staff must:

  • Use the most current version of the Staffing Profile; and
  • Pass on payments to nurses as soon as possible.

Find out more on the GrantConnect website.

Explore the OPAN self-advocacy toolkit

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) has released a free self-advocacy toolkit to equip people with the skills, information, and resources they need to speak up for better aged care.

The toolkit has information on:

  • aged care rights and options
  • solving common aged care problems
  • protection from harm
  • how to get help with decision making
  • aged care costs.

Funded as part of the National Aged Care Advocacy Program, the aim of the toolkit is to educate people on what they can reasonably expect from aged care providers and empowering them to speak up for themselves or someone they care for. 

Access the self-advocacy toolkit on OPAN’s website.

Advisory body responsibilities for approved providers

Approved aged care providers are required to:

  • establish and continue a quality care advisory body
  • offer to establish a consumer advisory body at least once every 12 months.

Advisory bodies can help aged care providers with problem-solving and identifying areas for improvement. Consumer advisory groups support providers to engage with care recipients and their representatives. Quality care advisory groups are made up of skilled and experienced individuals who use their insights and knowledge to help a provider identify solutions and creative ways forward. 

 The advisory body responsibilities apply to all approved providers, except those that are a state or territory authority or a local government authority.

Providers approved before 1 December 2022 must meet these responsibilities from 1 December 2023. All other approved providers must meet the responsibilities from date of approval.

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