Sector News

January 2018

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 The Decision Assist website is no longer being updated and will shut down in June.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 22 January 2018