Sector News

October 2018

Aged Care Royal Commission terms of Reference announced

The Australian Government has announced the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Care needs of people with dementia have been specifically referenced. The terms include:
  • Quality and safety including the extent of substandard care.
  • How to best deliver care services to people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities including younger people.
  • How to best deliver care to the increasing number of Australians living with dementia.
  • The future challenges and opportunities for delivering accessible, affordable and high quality aged care services, including people’s desire to remain living at home as they age, and aged care in rural, regional and remote Australia.
  • What the Government, the aged care sector, Australian families and the wider community can do to strengthen care services to ensure quality and safety.
  • How to allow people greater choice, control and independence and how to improve engagement with families and carers.
  • How to best deliver sustainable aged care services through innovative care and investment in the aged care workforce and infrastructure.
  • Any matters that the Commissioners believe is relevant to their inquiry.

September 2018

Dementia Australia survey of inclusion and isolation

On September 20th, Dementia Australia released Inclusion and Isolation: the contrasting community attitudes to dementia, a research report based on a national sample of more than 1,500 people.

Royal Commission into the aged care sector

On September 16, the Australian government announced the decision to establish a Royal Commission into the aged care sector. Interested individuals and organisations were asked to provide feedback to develop the terms of reference of the Royal Commission, with the consultation period ending on September 25th. As of September 24th, approximately 3,000 submissions had been received.

Meaningful Ageing Australia announce winners of the Quality in Pastoral and Spiritual Practice Award

September 20th, Meaningful Ageing Australia announce winners of the Quality in Pastoral and Spiritual Practice Award which celebrates organisations who can demonstrate a sustained and effective program or project that meets the spiritual needs of older people. Winners of the award for 2018, Catholic Healthcare’s Community Services spiritual care program, work with health professionals and others to provide a holistic care program,  including spiritual and emotional support during health crises.

A Matter of Care - Australia's aged care workforce strategy released

The Aged Care Workforce Taskforce strategy is industry focused and identifies fourteen strategic actions to help the aged care industry address current and future workforce challenges. It is designed to help the sector shift attitudes to caring careers, and enhance the quality of care of senior Australians.

August 2018

Guidance and Resources for Providers to support the new Aged Care Quality Standards

Guidance and Resources for Providers to support the new Aged Care Quality Standards: Released in August 2018 by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, the aim of this guide is to assist organisations providing Commonwealth subsidised aged care services to implement, and comply with the eight quality standards defined in the Aged Care Quality Standards. Each standard is presented in terms of:
  • a statement of outcome for the consumer
  • a statement of expectation for the organisation
  • organisational requirements to demonstrate that the standard has been met.

Transforming Aged Care

A new report on Transforming Aged Care (2.60MB pdf) has been produced by HESTA. This report covers the findings of three 2017 research projects that included qualitative interviews and focus groups as well as quantitative information from surveys conducted with over 200,000 aged care workers. The report looked at the current reforms including demographic changes, home package reforms, consumer directed care and the shift to consumers having far greater choice of care options and providers. Also considered was the impact of the reforms, including how the sector is adapting and what the changes mean to providers and employees. The report aims to inform government, providers and employees about the opportunities and challenges for the sector.

July 2018

Australian Medical Association survey on aged care

On 25th July, the fourth AMA Aged Care Survey was released by the Australian Medical Association. Focused on medical care in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), the survey is designed to examine topics including ‘medical practitioner influences to visit (or not visit) RACFs, how often they visit RACFs, and the amount of face to face and non-contact time they spend on each RACF patient’. Open to general practitioners (GPs), consultant physicians, and palliative medicine and geriatrician specialists, a total of 608 respondents completed the survey. Compared to previous years the proportion of respondents who visit RACFs had decreased, and more than one third plan to reduce and end visits to aged care homes in the next two years. More than 50 percent rated improved access to palliative care services as highly important. Read the full report (2.91MB pdf) to learn more.

caring@home - supporting carers to manage breakthrough symptoms safely

The caring@home website – www.caringathomeproject.com.au - was launched in July 2018 to assist health care professionals caring for palliative care patients in the community.

caring@home aims to improve the quality of palliative care service delivery across Australia by developing resources that support people to be cared for, and to die at home, if that is their choice.

A national project, caring@home is led by the Brisbane South Palliative Care Collaborative, and funded by the Australian Government. It is producing resources for community service providers, health care professionals and carers to support carers to help manage breakthrough symptoms safely using subcutaneous medicines.

The website provides a wealth of supporting information, clinical viewpoints by guest writers, journal articles and other project information. Education and training resources are in the final stages of development and will be available on the website from November 2018. Register your interest in the project.

Academy challenging ageism

A new Elder Leadership Academy initiative was launched by Dr Catherine Barnett at the South Australian Gerontology (SAGe) Conference 2018 held in Adelaide on 13 July. Dr Catherine Barnett is the Director and founder of the Celebrate Ageing Program aimed at challenging ageism and building respect for older people. The Elder Leadership program challenges ageist norms about older people not contributing to society by empowering elders to work on challenging ageism. Fellows and graduates of the academy can work together on projects and issues identified for change and that celebrate ageing. She adds that there are many ways that people can support the Academy and its successes by promoting the program and its fellowships. Individuals and aged care providers are encouraged to contribute by undertaking a critique of the role that older people play in the community to address ageism. Updates and outcomes from all projects will also be available on the Academy website.

Dementia Essentials

Dementia Essentials is a nationally accredited course for workers who support people living with dementia. The Dementia Training Australia course explores strategies to assist in developing effective communication, planning, engaging in purposeful and meaningful activities, creating a supportive environment, and understanding changed behaviour in people living with dementia. The course is a three-day course, fully funded (cost-free to the learner) and suitable for people working in aged care, health care and community services, who provide assistance to people living with dementia. Participants receive a Statement of Attainment which enables them to claim credits for related qualifications.

June 2018

National Advanced Care Directive Study

The National Advance Care Directive Prevelence Study is calling on aged care organisations to take part in research looking at advance care planning documentation within residential aged care facilities, hospitals and general practices. The aim of the study is to assess the content and quality of Advanced Care Directives (ACD) across different sectors with a view to helping more Australians live well into their older years and according to their values and preferences.

The study will run until 2020 to inform state and national advance care planning policy.
Organisations are encouraged to apply by 26 July 2018

Elder Abuse Resources

The Senior Rights Service, a member of The Older Persons Advocacy Service (OPAN) has released a series of video interviews on insights and perspectives on Elder Abuse. Each video has a discussion sheet and are freely available to community members, professionals and students of all sectors, to enable engagement with the content using suggested discussion questions and to follow up with further reading.

To further the conversations generated by the conference, Seniors Rights Service engaged Ellen Fanning to conduct a series of interviews with experts who attended the conference. These videos, along with a discussion sheet for each video, are freely available to community members, professionals and students of all sectors, to enable engagement with the content using suggested discussion questions and to follow up with further reading.

Dementia and Palliative Care Discussion Paper

PCA and Dementia Australia released a Dementia and palliative care discussion paper (157kb pdf) which provides guidance for health professionals on palliative and end-of-life care for people with dementia and those who support them.

May 2018

Carer and Consumer Engagement in End of Life Care

Carer and Consumer Engagement in Palliative Care and End-of-Life Care (155kb pdf) Consensus Statement was developed by Palliative Care Australia, Consumers Health Forum of Australia and Carers Australia and released during Palliative Care Week. The statement draws upon the National Consensus Statement: Essential Elements for Safe and High Quality End-of-Life Care and the National Palliative Care Standards. It covers the need for responsive care that takes into account the preferences and values of people, their families and carers. It outlines the need for person-centred care that is sensitive to culture and beliefs and recognises the need for carer support.

Policy Development Guideline on Supported Decision-Making for aged care providers

Researchers from the Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre are releasing a Policy Development Guideline on Supported Decision-Making for aged care providers in Australia. Supported Decision-Making is a rights-based approach aimed at enabling people living with disability to make and/or communicate decisions about their own lives. This free seminar will give an overview of the broader research project, and explain the process of guideline development, with tips for implementation in aged care settings.

Advance care planning guide for aged care

Advance Care Planning Australia has launched an advance care planning guide for the aged care sector. The Advance care planning in aged care: A guide to support implementation in community and residential settings (2.38MB pdf) guide was developed in partnership with National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) and provides comprehensive advance care planning information with topics on engaging with patients and families, policies and procedures and legal aspects relevant to each state and territory.

Consumer experiences of aged care at home

National Seniors Australia was contracted by the Australian Government Department of Health to document consumer experience of aged care services delivered in the community. The Accentuating the positive: Consumer experiences of aged care at home (613kb pdf) report aims to inform the work of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce in building a comprehensive and sustainable workforce strategy for the industry, and in doing so, improve the quality of life of aged care consumers. The report notes that although most older people receiving care at home thought workers treat them with respect and met their support needs, there is a need for more carer supports and better coordination between home care and health services.

April 2018

New Quality and Safety Commission for Aged Care

The Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has announced the formation of a new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. The commission will bring together the functions of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and aged care regulatory functions of the Department of Health under a single quality and safety commissioner. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will enable unified, responsive regulation, compliance and complaints handling. A new taskforce within the Department of Health will oversee the reforms to ensure the new commission is in place by 1st January 2019. The new integrated agency aims to give people greater confidence in the regulation of aged care and ensure senior Australians and their families have clear, concise information when choosing aged care.
  • The quality reforms will include; Developing options, in consultation with the aged care sector, for a Serious Incident Response Scheme to ensure the right systems are in place to identify an incident and prevent it from occurring again
  • A performance rating against quality standards
  • A user-friendly provider comparison tool on the My Aged Care website

ELDAC: Supporting quality care at the end of life

End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) is a project funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to support quality care at the end of life. ELDAC is building capacity within and linkages between the health care sector and aged care industry by offering a set of five evidence-based toolkits to support palliative care in residential, home and primary care settings. It also provides access to a telephone and web-based navigation services to enable aged care workers, nurses and GPs find palliative care information and details about service providers. CareSearch is a proud partner in the ELDAC Consortium and palliAGED evidence and resources are used in the new website. Find out more: www.eldac.com.au.

The role of Death Doulas in end of life care, Deb Rawlings, Flinders University

In 2016, the CareSearch Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) ‘Dying2Learn’ highlighted the emerging role of the ‘death doula’. Historically associated with pregnancy and childbirth, the doula role generally provides social, emotional and practical support. Today it appears that many consumers are choosing to place trust in ‘death doulas’ who can advocate for them or fill the gaps in meeting their end of life and palliative care needs. This emerging role and its contribution to end of life models of care has not been widely published in academic literature, but its relevance to an ageing and geographically dispersed Australian population is evident. Deb Rawlings and a team of researchers at Flinders University are addressing this information gap by conducting a survey of palliative care nurses who are aware of patients and families receiving support/guidance/care from a death doula or similar support person. This is part of a study called: What role do Death Doulas play in end of life care? They would like you to consider taking their survey - which should take no more than 20 minutes to complete. It is voluntary, and all responses will be anonymous. Access the survey and learn more about this research which is supported by the CareSearch Research Data Management System (RDMS) for survey-based research.

Nominations Call for Aged Care Quality Awards

Nominations for the aged care 2018 Better Practice Awards opened on 1 April 2018. The awards are conducted by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and will be presented during the Better Practice for the Future national conference in Sydney on 22-24 August 2018. Find out more at the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency website. Closing date 30 April 2018.

Ageing across The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth Association for the Ageing (CommonAge) has released the comparative report (5.11MB pdf) it commissioned from Oxford University’s Institute of Population Ageing in the run-up to a forum on elders taking place alongside next month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London.

March 2018

Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce

An Aged Care Strategy Taskforce chaired by Professor John Pollaers will develop a strategy for growing and sustaining the workforce providing aged care services and support of older people, to meet their care needs in a variety of settings across Australia. The taskforce is based on extensive consultations and engagement with consumers, their families, workers, employers, health professionals, volunteers and informal carers to understand the critical touchpoints in the care people need as they age. In response to early feedback from the sector an Industry Reference Committee (IRC) is being formed to tackle critical skills and workforce issues identified. The IRC will review and develop national competency standards for aged care vocational training and will help facilitate any required education and training reforms. The Aged Care IRC will be an opportunity for industry and consumers to work together to consider the competencies and skills needed by the workforce, as well as how to incorporate new living well models of care and career pathways. The taskforce is inviting everyone working in aged care to participate in an employee engagement and enablement survey to inform the development of the strategy. Aged care workers have until 15th April to complete the survey.

My Aged Care Learning Environment

The Department of Health has announced that they are building a single platform for all My Aged Care training. The My Aged Care Learning Environment (MACLE) will allow the My Aged Care workforce to: strengthen their skills and knowledge; build on the capabilities related to their My Aged Care role; undertake accredited and non-accredited learning experiences. The department and CIT Solutions will hold co-design workshops across metropolitan and regional Australia between 24 April and 23 May 2018 to consult with service providers, assessors, key stakeholders and peak bodies during the development phase. People interested in the workshops can complete the online form by 11 April 2018. For further information please contact the My Aged Care team at MACLE@cit.edu.au or myagedcare.training@health.gov.au.

Respite services review

The Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt, is currently seeking input, comment and consultation from the community on the review into Respite Care (39kb pdf). The review is being conducted by the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) looking at the use and funding of respite care services in both community and residential care settings. Respite care provides support for carers and the people they care and is accessed for many reasons. It can be provided in the care recipient's home, respite cottages, day centres, or residential care facilities and can be for a few hours or days depending on need. A consultation paper was issued on 9 March and community views are sought on whether the current respite arrangements meet the needs of carers, care recipients and providers. Submissions in response to the paper close on the 13 April.


Greater Choice for at Home Palliative Care program

The $8.3 million Greater Choice for at Home Palliative Care program has been formally launched with the February 27th announcement of the ten Primary Health Networks (PHNs) selected to take part in the trial which runs until June 2020. The aim of the program is “to improve coordination and integration of palliative care across primary, secondary, tertiary and community health services to support at home palliative care for those that choose it”. To learn more about the trial visit the Department of Health website.

The PHNs selected to coordinate the program with local and state services, and aged care providers are:

  • Brisbane South;
  • Central QLD, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast;
  • Gold Coast;
  • South Western Sydney;
  • Murrumbidgee;
  • Western NSW;
  • North Western Melbourne;
  • Eastern Melbourne;
  • Adelaide, and
  • Country WA.

February 2018

Community palliative care approaches 

A new community-based approach to palliative care is being launched by The GroundSwell Project. Eight communities around the country will engage in the compassionate communities’ model of palliative care in their local area. The initiative will include a practice forum and a digital resource hub aimed at improving end-of-life care. Compassionate Communities are described as a global movement to engage communities to think about how care is provided to people who are dying.

Diversity Action Plan Consultations 

Consultation are being held to develop Aged Care Action Plans which underpin the new Aged Care Diversity Framework released in December 2017. The individual action plans will target the particular barriers and challenges faced by older people from CALD communities, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex seniors and older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia is inviting providers, culturally and linguistically diverse consumers and carers to have their say (119kb pdf) on building a more inclusive aged care system. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander action plan is being developed by a collaboration between the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. They are encouraging consumers, aged care providers and peak organisations to complete an online survey to share their views on the needs of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex seniors can contribute by contacting the National LGBTI Health Alliance.

New Guidelines released to reduce unnecessary prescriptions 

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) approved guidelines that assist healthcare professionals determine when it might be suitable to trial the withdrawal of medications when treating people living with dementia. Professor Simon Bell from the Centre for Medicine Use found there was increasing evidence about the value of proactively discontinuing medicines for which the potential benefits no longer outweigh the potential risks. The guideline provides clinicians, consumers and carers with new recommendations regarding the withdrawal of cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine. In particular, the guideline highlights the important role of people with dementia and their carers in deciding whether or not to trial discontinuation.

Quality measures and Polypharmacy

A recent analysis of chronic pain management in Australian Aged care found that analgesics and related medications are associated with significant adverse effects, and older people may not tolerate doses that deliver satisfactory pain control. A recent review by researchers at the University of Sydney and UNSW also found “a very high proportion of polypharmacy” in residential aged care and called for a review of aged care policy and the establishment of a “robust and comprehensive” aged care quality data system. The researchers found that negative clinical outcomes were rarely reported in five clinical areas they examined – with the exception of polypharmacy.

New holographic technology to assist in home consultations 

A world first trial of new cutting edge technology is now underway in Australia by community and aged care provider Silverchain to use 'holoportation' to deliver remote consultations by health professionals to clients in the community. Healthcare professionals will be will be able to appear in real-time as holograms projected via the Microsoft HoloLens headset. The trial will investigate the acceptance and use of the new mixed reality technology among a large cohort of clients and staff and the outcomes achieved, such as the impact on minimising unnecessary residential aged care or hospital admissions.

National framework for Rural Generalist medical specialty

An historic agreement between the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine will lead to the development of a national framework for Rural Generalist medical specialty. The Rural Generalist (RG) is a medical practitioner who is trained to meet the specific current and future health care needs of Australian rural and remote communities, in a sustainable and cost-effective way, by providing both comprehensive general practice and emergency care, and required components of other medical specialist care in hospital and community settings as part of a rural healthcare team.

January 2018

Draft Aged Care Quality Standards released

The draft Aged Care Quality Standards are now available. A single set of quality standards is a key deliverable of the Single Aged Care Quality Framework. The Aged Care Quality Standards will apply to all aged care services and will replace the current four sets of aged care standards. The Standards have been structured so that organisations will only have to meet the Standards that are relevant to them. The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency is developing guidance and educational material to support the Standards and has commenced piloting of the draft Standards and guidance material.

Pain Priority for Aged Care Reform

Painaustralia has provided a Submission to the Consultation on Specialist Dementia Care Units (SDCUs). It has identified effective pain management as a core area of responsibility across all aged care settings and recommends that it be considered in all aspects of aged care reform.

CareSearch Job Vacancy: Research Associate Clinical

The Research Associate (Clinical) will support the quality and currency of clinical resources within the CareSearch website by identifying and reviewing new evidence and proposing updates to web content. The incumbent will work with the Senior Research Fellow (CareSearch) and the CareSearch Director and contribute to the development, delivery and evaluation of allied health engagement activities. Applications close 11:00am, Monday 19 February 2018.

innovAGEING to accelerate Aged Care Innovation

The Australian Government will contribute $400,000 over the next two years to innovAGEING, a partnership to drive and promote innovation across Australia’s rapidly growing aged care services industry. Initiatives include:
  • A national awards program to encourage and reward innovation
  • Twice-yearly national Aged Care Open Innovations Lab workshops
  • Eight innovator speaker events across the country each year
  • An 8-week innovation program for established businesses and start-ups to solve aged care industry problems, culminating in a business plan competition, and
  • An online network actively linking participants with experts and business development coaches

Cause of Death Patterns and Peoples Use of Aged Carehttps://gallery.mailchimp.com/4084c018a94c01b4fe476a007/images/25430589-c113-4fdf-bfee-df80fff96ca4.gif

A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report indicates that almost 245,000 older people died in Australia in the 2 years to 30 June 2014. The majority of people (80%) had used an aged care program before their death, and the leading causes of death were coronary heart disease, dementia and cerebrovascular disease.

Dementia Care Costs

New dementia care costs research from Flinders University estimates that it costs approximately AU$88,000 a year to provide health and residential care for a person living with dementia in Australia.

Webinar on the safer use of medicines 
The next webinar from the Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign is titled “Safer use of medicines for cognitive impairment” and will be held on 20th February at 2:30 - 3:30pm (AEST).
The seventh webinar will be of interest to clinicians who would like to learn more about medication safety for people with cognitive impairment in hospital.

Spiritual training tour
Meaningful Ageing Australia is providing spiritual care and ageing training program to aged care staff and volunteers in 17 regional centres. The seminars provide up-to-date information and experience about spiritual care and provide a forum for meeting others and developing local networks.

Frailty in community dwelling older people
A new report from Benetas highlights the importance of early detection of frailty in older people, and the provision of appropriate support services for those identified as frail. Frailty is a condition in which the individual is vulnerable, and at increased risk of adverse health outcomes and/or dying when exposed to a stressor. The validation of a simple and reliable screening test for detecting frailty, that has been shown to be implementable in a variety of settings helps clients, carers, service providers and policy makers to easily and accurately identify older people who are frail and to provide early, appropriate, proactive support based on good evidence to help preserve their functional independence for as long as possible. A new online Positive Ageing Resource Centre makes both screening and resources for the amelioration of frailty easily and freely accessible to the general public

EN Toolkit
The PCC4U EN Toolkit aims to develop capacity in the enrolled nurse workforce, providing care for people with life-limiting conditions. The suite of eLearning modules and supporting resources can be seamlessly integrated into EN courses. A special section discusses options and exemplars for including the EN Toolkit in the curriculum. The PCC4U team delivers a range of activities to support implementation of the EN Toolkit.

Muslim Aged Care - A practical guide for service providers (2MB pdf)
This resource covers topics such as religion, culture, and identity of Muslims to provide the context and basis for planning culturally-appropriate care for Muslims. Various features of the guide can help providers of aged care to better understand and respond to the cultural needs of Muslims.

Two new Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) advance care planning fact sheets are now available on HealthShare, one for individuals (126kb pdf) and one for substitute decision-makers (363kb pdf). There is also a recently updated Advance Care Planning Australia Learning with a module for the primary care setting. New education materials for GPS have also been developed by ACPA in collaboration with ThinkGP. They include a video, learning module, and blog entry. The ThinkGP module is accredited under the RACCP QI&CPD program (2 CPD points) and the ACRRM PDP program (1 CME point).

Decision Assist is closed
On 31 December 2017, the Decision Assist program closed. A new initiative called End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) has commenced. ELDAC is a new program that seeks to improve the care of older Australians through advance care planning and palliative care activities. The Decision Assist website is no longer being updated and will shut down in June.

December 2017

Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport announced yesterday it had commenced an Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia following Minister Hunt’s referral on Wednesday. Committee chair Trent Zimmerman said the examination would particularly focus on the quality of care and services provided to aged care residents.

Victoria's Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017: An overview from End Of Life Law in Australia
Victoria has become the first Australian jurisdiction since the Northern Territory in 1997 to legalise assisted dying. On 29 November 2017, the Victorian Legislative Assembly agreed to amendments made by the Victorian Legislative Council, resulting in the enactment of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) (‘the Act’)The new laws will likely take effect on 19 June 2019.

CareTrack Aged
This 4 year project has been funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. CareTrack Aged is looking at what proportion of care encounters delivered to older Australians in residential aged care facilities (RACF) are appropriate i.e. in line with the evidence? The study will also measure quality of life for residents. The work is being led by Australian Institute of Health Innovation. 

November 2017

Aged Care Diversity Framework
A new government guide aims to embed diversity into aged care service design and delivery. Six priority areas are described:

  • Making informed choices
  • Adopting systemic approaches to planning and implementation
  • Accessible care and support
  • Supporting a proactive and flexible system
  • Respectful and inclusive servcies
  • Meeting the needs of the most vulnerable.
The framework is supported by a range of tools and resources.

Life expectancy and potentially avoidable deaths in 2013-2015
This report presents information on life expectancy and potentially avoidable deaths in 2013-2015 across Australia, by Primary Health Network and smaller local areas (SA3). Key facts from this report include:

  • In Australia, life expectancy at birth was 82.4 years in 2013-2015, up from 82.1 years in 2011-2013.
  • The age-standardised rate of potentially avoidable deaths was 108 per 100,000 people in 2013-2015, down from 117 per 100,000 people in 2009--011.

Views Sought on Promised Specialist Dementia Care Units
In 2016, the Australian Government announced it would establish Specialist Dementia Care Units (SDCUs) to support people who experience very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). The Government committed to establish at least one SDCU in each of the 31 Primary Health Network regions. A detailed consultation paper has been prepared and stakeholder views on the policy design and implementation of SDCUs is being sought. Consultation closes 21 January 2018

New Aged Care Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program funds organisations to provide culturally appropriate aged care to older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people close to home and community. Additional annual grant funding will deliver new and expanded residential aged care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote locations.

Improving Aged Care for LGBTI Senior Australians (989kb pdf)
The Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Aged Care Strategy Review has been released. This report reviews the actions undertaken to implement the principles and goals of the LGBTI Strategy and considers the success of the LGBTI Strategy – and opportunities for improvement – from the perspectives of stakeholders. The Review notes substantial progress in aged care workforce training to support older LGBTI Australians, and improved collaboration between the Government and the LGBTI sector.

GRIM and MORT books (deaths)
The AIHW has relased two sets of data about death in Australia. The GRIM book y present age- and sex-specific counts and rates by cause of death, alongside other summary measures.  MORT books are Excel workbooks that contain recent deaths data for specific geographical areas, sourced from the AIHW National Mortality Database. Both the GRIM and MORT Books have been updated with deaths data for 2015.
Download data tables: General Record of Incidence of Mortality (GRIM) books
Download data tables: Mortality Over Regions and Time (MORT) books

Dementia Friendly Communities
Dementia Australia (formerly Alzheimer's Australia) has produced an education hub aimed at informing all aspects of community - clinicians, professionals, services, businesses, the general public - about dementia and how to ensure that those in our community are not disadvantaged and stigmatised.

Advance Care Planning Australia Initiatives 
Advance Care Planning Australia will be undertaking a number of new initiatives in 2018-20, including:
  • National Advance Care Planning Day to build community awareness and uptake 
  • online and face-to-face education and training to support best practice advance care planning  
  • volunteer advance care planning education project 
  • national curricula implementation 
  • national advance care planning competency framework, and
  • a research project exploring the role of the substitute decision-maker

Aged Care Workforce Taskforce
The Australian Government has announced an expert taskforce to develop a wide-ranging workforce strategy, focused on supporting safe, quality aged care for senior Australians. The Taskforce will be led by Professor John Pollaers and will reference the June 2017 report of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee inquiry into the future of the aged care sector workforce, the workforce-related observations in the government commissioned Legislated Review of Aged Care 2017 and the recently released Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes

October 2017

Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes
This report identifies a number of key elements for an effective regulatory system for aged care quality:
  • An integrated safety and quality regulator  
  • Information on care quality for consumers and providers 
  •  Supporting consumers and their representatives to exercise their rights  
  • More effective accreditation and compliance monitoring  
  • Enhanced complaints handling

Trends in hospitalisations due to falls by older people, Australia 2002-03 to 2012-13
This report presents trends in fall related hospital care for people aged 65 and older from 2002-03 to 2012-13. There was a decrease in the rate of hip fractures due to falls (-2% per year) between 2002-03 and 2012-13. In contrast, falls resulting in head injuries increased at a particularly high rate (7% per year).

CareSearch Videos
So what can we do to help? Each year CareSearch actively supports carers and Carers Week by offering information and resources around various aspects of palliative care. This year we recognise the cultural diversity of Australians and are offering a suite of multicultural videos in English, Greek, Italian, Cantonese, Mandarin and Arabic. We invite you to take a look and share them with your family and friends.

Palliative Care Online Training Portal
The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has relaunched the Palliative Care Online Training Portal, funded by the Australian Government. The portal provides free non-clinical interactive training to carers, community and aged care workers, students, volunteers, family members and clinicians who want to build their skills in caring for someone with a life-limiting illness.

Dementia Australia
Alzheimer's Australia has relaunched as Dementia Australia, a unified, national peak body for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. Alzheimer’s disease as the most common form but there are  100 types of dementia and, for this reason, the organisation has adapted  to be inclusive of all.  

Review of the Aged Care Funding Instrument Report
This report prepared by Aged Care Solutions focused on adapting the ACFI to be suitable for an external assessment model, improvements to reduce subjectivity and bringing the tool in line with contemporary care practices. It highlights a range of options to modify Australia’s residential care funding instrument and adds to the options provided in a recent University of Wollongong report. A Resource Utilisation and Classification Study is currently underway at the University of Wollongong’s Australian Health Services Research Institute.

A national innovation network for the age services industry  aims to reinterpret the concept of ageing in relation to the design and delivery of services. The network will foster the development of new business models through  and enable the industry to be more consumer-centric in its service delivery.

Head to Health
A new digital mental health gateway helps people take control of their mental health in a way they are most comfortable with and can complement face-to-face therapies. Head to Health provides a one-stop shop for services and resources delivered by some of Australia’s most trusted mental health service providers. They include free or low-cost apps, online support communities, online courses and phone services.

Guidelines on Integrated Care for Older People
The provision of integrated care is key for older people. The World Health Organization Guidelines on Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) propose evidence-based recommendations for health care professionals to prevent, slow or reverse declines in the physical and mental capacities of older people.

Caring for LGBTI People with Dementia
This new online course has been launched to help health and aged care workers deliver inclusive care and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people with dementia. The e-learning course is delivered by Dementia Training Australia and includes four learning modules

Tech Connect
Tech Connect is a guide for leaders in aged care to support aged care residents’ spiritual wellbeing by connecting with family and loved ones using technology/social media. The guide provides an overview of the program, from planning, implementation through to evaluation. It also provides a special section on using technology to maintain relationships for older people living with dementia

September 2017

Aged Care Well Being and Satisfaction Survey
The South Australian Innovation Hub has developed and trialled an aged care quality-of-life framework as part of first-of-its-kind research describing and measuring subjective wellbeing and satisfaction of residents.

Pathways to permanent residential aged care in Australia: a Pathways in Aged Care (PiAC) analysis of people's aged care program use before first entry to permanent residential aged care in 2013-14
Some 61,300 people first entered permanent residential aged care (PRAC) in 2013-14. While they used over 1,000 different combinations of other aged care in the preceding years, the most common pathway (used by 1 in 4 people) was through Home and Community Care (HACC). Many pathways showed a similar pattern of moving 'up' to progressively higher levels of support.

GEN, Aged Care Data
GEN, a new website managed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, is provides access to Australia’s aged care information and data breakdowns. The website accesses databases from the National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse, managed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Aged Care Complaints Annual Report
The Aged Care Complaints Commissioner’s annual reports describe the types and numbers of complaints they see and how they deal with them. It includes case studies showing how complaints can improve care and services. It also highlights the work we are doing to assist people to raise their concerns with services and to improve the way aged care services respond to complaints. The most common complaints about residential care were about medication administration and management, falls prevention and post fall management, and personal and oral hygiene. The most common complaints about home care packages were about fees and charges, lack of consultation and communication, and communication about fees and charges.

Home care packages program data report 27 February – 30 June 2017
The Home Care Packages Program provides older people who want to stay at home with access to a range of ongoing personal services, support services and clinical care that help them with their day-to-day activities. The report provides data on the operations of the home care packages program since commencement of the reforms to home care on 27 February 2017 through to 30 June 2017.

August 2017

Resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
My AgedCare has released new resources to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people learn more about home care supports. It includes a video animation and information in different  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Pride in Health + Wellbeing
This is a national membership-based program that aims to provide partners year-round support, training and guidance in LGBTI inclusive service delivery. The new program, developed by NSW LGBTI health organisation ACON as part of its Pride Inclusion Programs, aims to make service provision within the aged care, health, human services and wellbeing sectors more inclusive of LGBTI people

2016 Ministerial Dementia Forum Report
The report of discussions from the 2016 forum describe a number of key themes including: Dementia friendly communities and reducing stigma; Early contact with primary health and diagnosis; Navigating the system; Transitions and understanding the journey; Support for carers; Diversity of consumers; Health/aged care interface; Role of technology; and Financial contributions to support. 

National Palliative Care Strategy Consultation
Urbis is facilitating online and face-to-face consultation on the updated Draft National Palliative Care Strategy. The online consultation provides an opportunity to comment on the draft National Strategy and to offer any suggestions for improvement. Workshops are also beinig held in each capital city in August.

Positive CALD Ageing Network 
FECCA has launched aa bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to building the capacity of the aged-care sector to provide appropriate care and support to older Australians from CALD backgrounds and recognising that a significant proportion of aged-care employees are from multicultural backgrounds.

July 2017

Streamlined My Aged Care improves consumer support and access
New policies and processes have been implemented to make life easier for all consumers, particularly older people with diverse needs, and health professionals who use My Aged Care.

National Aged Care Advocacy Program
Support and guidance for seniors will be fundamental to the new National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) to be delivered by the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN).

National Advance Care Planning Prevalence Study
Decision Assist has funded a project to determine the prevalence of advance care planning documentation for people aged over 65 in hospitals, general practice and aged care homes. Applications to participate in the National Advance Care Planning Prevalence Study are now open to all public, private, accredited hospitals, residential aged care facilities and general practices. Application closing date extended to 10 August 2017

June 2017

Advance Care Planning Implementation Guide
The National Ageing Research Institute is undertaking a project, funded by Decision Assist, which aims to develop an advance care planning implementation guide for aged care providers. If you are working in community or residential aged care, you can help by completing a survey exploring how advance care planning is implemented and discussed within your organisation. The survey will take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.  To take the survey please go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NARI_ACPA_ACP.
If you have any queries in relation to this survey or the project please contact Kerry Hwang on (03) 8387 2666 or k.hwang@nari.edu.au.

Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response
The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) launched its report Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 131), on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2017. The Report includes 43 recommendations for law reform to safeguard older people from abuse and support their choices and wishes.

Technology Roadmap for Aged Care
This initiative of the Aged Care Industry IT Company was developed in conjunction with a team from the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University.The roadmap shows how to make technology a core part of aged operations and service delivery and the action needed in the short, medium and long term to address ICT-related shortcomings across key areas including operations, care, information and workforce.

Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services: Reforms to Human Services
The Productivity commission has produced a draft report examining  to put the people who use human services at the heart of service provision. The Commission's report notes that most people are not dying where they want to die and makes a series of recommendations. People and organisations can make a submission or attend a public hearing.

Cross-cultural Care Program for Aged Care Staff
This free online course includes five modules:
  • Module 1: An Introduction to cross-cultural care module for new staff

  • Module 2: Cross-cultural communication

  • Module 3: Cross-cultural leadership

  • Module 4: Cross-cultural dementia care

  • Module 5: Cross-cultural end of life care.

Find the Help You Need with My Aged Care
A new information campaign is highlighting how  the My Aged Care phone line and website can provide information and help older Austalians find out about aged care services and how to access them.

2017 Decision Assist and Palliative Care Australia Continuing Professional Development Scholarships
You are invited to submit an application for the Decision Assist and Palliative Care Australia Continuing Professional Development Scholarships. The aim of the scholarships is to improve palliative care delivery in aged care.

Decision Assist Webinar: Advance Care Planning in Primary Care
This webinar is designed to enhance the knowledge, skills and confidence of the primary care workforce to promote, initiate and continue discussions regarding future health care preferences in routine care. The webinar will be held from 7pm till 8pm on Wednesday 7 June 2017.

May 2017

Principles for Palliative and End-of-Life Care in Residential Aged Care
New principles collaboratively developed by peak aged care and palliative care bodies could be used to guide care for older Australians and support their families and carers. The principles address recognising end-of-life; involving consumers in planning and decision making; timely access to care and care that is holistic and meets spiritual and psychosocial needs; care that meets the needs of those with dementia and cognitive impairment; dignity and respect; and bereavement support.   

Dying2Learn supports National Palliative Care Week
CareSearch has worked with the Dying2Learn team to create some resourecs using content from the recently completed 2017 MOOC. Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA)
The new Advance Care Planning Australia website makes it easier to find best practice resources, education and training for advance care planning. There is also a new Decision Assist website.

Discussion Starter Online Card Game
Talking in advance can reduce stress at the time of a serious illness and can help your family to make decisions about your care if you can no longer make them for yourself. This online set of cards from PCA can help the conversation.

Developing an Aged Care Diversity Framework
The Department of Health is seeking input and feedback on the aged care diversity framework. The Framework is intended to assist providers, and enhance the sectors capacity, to better meet the diverse characteristics and life experiences of older people thereby ensuring inclusive aged care services. Feedback is needed by 19 June 2017.

Appointment of Panel to review National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes
Ms Kate Carnell AO, and Professor Ron Paterson ONZM, will conduct the independent review on national aged care quality regulatory processes.

Page updated 11 October 2018