Information for the Aged Care Sector

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Media Release: 13/05/2021

Issue 2021/8

This newsletter provides important information on matters affecting the aged care sector, including aged care initiatives, programs and processes. We encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, particularly your communications teams, and encourage them to subscribe for future updates.

In addition to the newsletter, we also send announcements which provide short snippets of targeted information and are sent as required. To help ensure you haven’t missed any important information from us, we’ve added links to recent announcements including all COVID-19 updates.

In this issue:

Residential Care:

Home Care:

Announcements since the last newsletter:

The department has also distributed these ‘Protecting Older Australians’ and ‘COVID-19 vaccine’ updates:

National Volunteers Week 17‑23 May: celebrating CVS volunteers

In honour of National Volunteers Week, the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) would like to recognise the many thousands of volunteer visitors across Australia making a difference to the lives of older Australians.

The CVS arranges volunteer visits to older people accessing residential or home care services (including those waiting for services) who may be lonely or socially isolated. These regular visits provide important friendship and companionship to the older person, and can be incredibly fulfilling for the volunteer visitor, often leading to lifelong friendships.

Join us in celebrating our CVS volunteers by listening to the stories below:

We thank all our volunteers for their time, commitment and dedication to improving the lives of older Australians.

Vision Australia webinar, 1 June: understanding low vision and blindness

People with vision loss are three times more likely to suffer depression and twice as likely to experience a decrease in social independence. Vision Australia is hosting a webinar that will help you learn how you can support aged care clients to live more independently and continue doing the things they love. If you work as a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) or Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessor, this session will build your knowledge and confidence to discuss relevant supports and goals with vision impaired clients when completing assessments.

The webinar will cover:

  • common eye conditions and their impact on vision
  • impacts of vision loss on daily living activities
  • daily living strategies, aids and equipment useful for people with blindness or low vision
  • selecting the relevant service types when referring vision impaired clients for appropriate services.

DateTuesday 1 June 2021

Time12-1pm AEST (10-11am in Perth)

Health professionals may be eligible for Continuing Professional Development points when attending this session.

Register for the webinar and you will be sent a login link. Please share this invitation with colleagues who may also be interested in attending.

If you have questions about the webinar or need further information, call Denise Pellow on 1300 847 466.

Staying connected for veterans in residential aged care

Veterans often value a strong emotional and social connection with their particular ex-service organisation (ESO) and/or association. Many veterans have been connected to their organisation for a long time, helping them maintain good mental health and well-being.

The department would like to remind providers that in the aged care setting, this support can continue. ESOs and associations can provide information, support, visits and referrals to veterans, war widow(er)s, or members of the veteran community who are living in residential aged care.

ESOs can help your residents, and they can help you help your residents, by:

  • spending time with them, continuing to provide the peer support they are familiar with
  • providing information and supporting them to access their DVA entitlements
  • connecting the resident with other veteran specific support services if needed
  • helping staff understand the veteran’s background and specific support needs.
  • There are many ESO organisations, including the TPI Federation Australia, and RSL groups across Australia. These groups do reach out to aged care homes directly to arrange a visit, so please welcome them. Otherwise, you can help your residents make a request, or make contact on their behalf to request a visit. The Community Visitors Scheme also has volunteers who visit lonely or socially isolated people in aged care.

Supporting veterans in this way is also linked to the diversity action plans and Quality Standards:

Connecting with other services is a ‘Moving Forward’ action to providing safe, accessible care in the Shared actions to support older diverse older people: a guide for aged care providers.

Creating a culture of inclusion and respect, where residents can maintain their identity is central to Quality Standard 1. Partnering with residents in their in care is in Quality Standard 2. Connecting with other organisations that are important for residents’ well-being is in Quality Standard 4.

For questions or more information, contact ageing.and.diversity@health.gov.au

Reminder: 2021 influenza vaccinations

Aged care providers must be prepared for the 2021 influenza season and to have ordered vaccines for their staff. Influenza vaccination is more important than ever in aged care given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

State and territory directions remain in force and set out requirements about visitors to, and entry into residential aged care facilities, including requirements around influenza vaccinations.

This year it is important to plan vaccination timing for both influenza and COVID-19 to give the best protection against these potentially serious diseases. Advice on the timing of administering both vaccines is now available in the Statement on the relative timing of administering influenza vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.

More information on the 2021 influenza vaccination is available at:

Queensland aged care facilities: update to influenza vaccination requirements

  • The Queensland Chief Health Officer has approved a revised start date of 30 May 2021 for the influenza vaccination requirement in the Aged Care Direction (No.27).
  • This means that anyone seeking to enter a residential aged care facility from 30 May 2021 must have had the 2021 influenza vaccination, if it is available to them.

Further details are available on the Queensland Health website.

Quality indicator in focus: Falls and major injury

New and updated quality indicators will be included in the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) from 1 July 2021.

Falls and major injury will be included in the QI Program as a new quality indicator, comprising two categories:

  • percentage of care recipients who experienced one or more falls
  • percentage of care recipients who experienced one or more falls resulting in major injury.

This quality indicator is collected through a review of care records every quarter, for each care recipient. The first quarter of data collection starts from 1 July 2021 and is reported in the 1‑21 October 2021 reporting period.

Approved providers must collect and report on falls and major injury data quarterly, according to the requirements set out in the QI Program Manual 2.0 Part A available on the department’s website.

Information for CHSP service providers: transition to payment in arrears

On 11 May 2021, the Australian Government announced changes to the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) to help position the aged care sector as it moves towards a new support at home program commencing in July 2023. The new program will replace the CHSP, Home Care Packages, Short-Term Restorative Care, and residential respite programs.

To prepare for these future reforms, CHSP grant agreements will be extended for one year from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, with most CHSP providers transitioning to payment in arrears.

As this will be a significant change for many CHSP service providers, the department will consult with providers on the implementation of this measure over the next three months through the establishment of a representative working group. This group will consider:

  • simple reporting requirements that are not onerous for providers
  • a review of unit prices to support viable and sustainable service delivery models – a consultancy is currently being established to conduct this review
  • redesign of grant agreements and activity work plans
  • the appropriate start date for moving to payment in arrears within the 2022-23 financial year
  • the identification of a small number of services that may have special circumstances requiring an exemption from moving to full payment in arrears
  • the development of guidance for providers on moving to payment in arrears, including the role of Sector Support and Development providers in helping to prepare for this change.

The working group will include representatives from each CHSP service type. A request for members will be made via peak bodies over the next week.

Further details about these changes will be made available to service providers through the normal channels as they are finalised, with detailed advice to be finalised by September 2021.

Payment in arrears will come into effect within the 2022-23 financial year, with the start-date to be determined by September 2021, following the above consultation process.

Reminder: CHSP Emergency Support for COVID‑19 Ad Hoc Funding Round closes on 30 June 2021

On 1 April 2020, the department opened an ad hoc funding opportunity to support Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) service providers during the COVID-19 pandemic to:

  • expand their service capacity to meet client needs during COVID-19 lockdowns
  • retain key workforce
  • cover the cost of personal protective equipment
  • assist providers to modify service delivery models in accordance with State/Territory public health requirements.

The CHSP Emergency Support for COVID-19 Ad Hoc Round (GO3877) is closing at 2:00pm AEST, Wednesday 30 June 2021.

To give the department sufficient time to consider and assess applications, you should submit your application no later than 31 May 2021.

More information about this grant opportunity, including a copy of the guidelines, application form and FAQs, can be found on the GrantConnect website.

Reminder to CHSP service providers: carer support services

Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) service providers are reminded that, in addition to the planned respite services available to senior Australians through the CHSP, carer support services are also available to carers through the Carer Gateway via the website or by calling 1800 422 737.

The Carer Gateway has been established to support carers of all ages, with a focus on early intervention and preventative and skills building support. Services available through the Carer Gateway include:

  • in-person and phone-based counselling and peer support
  • educational resources
  • targeted financial support packages
  • crisis support, including emergency respite, when needed.

Please encourage your clients and their carers to access the Carer Gateway where they may benefit from this support.

Report released: Review of CHSP Sector Support and Development

The department engaged KPMG to review the Sector Support and Development (SSD) service type of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). The review was completed in September 2020 and reported on the status and performance of SSD, including:

  • what outcomes were achieved
  • how effective providers were in achieving the objectives
  • if there were any inconsistencies in how the service type and activities were funded and delivered
  • if there were any gaps or duplication in service provision compared to the objectives
  • if any models or activities delivered by service providers could be applied more broadly.
  • The review included qualitative and quantitative data collection activities and consultations with relevant stakeholders. This review will help inform future SSD policy development and care at home more broadly.
  • The report is available on the department’s website.

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