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Aged Care Bulletin 20 February 2020

In this edition: warning over extreme temperature, consumer experience of residential aged care report, government seeking feedback on the allocation of aged care beds and Russell Kennedy partners with ACSA to deliver a webinar on whistleblower legislation.

The latest insights from our award-winning Aged Care legal team:

Department issues warning to aged care providers over extreme temperatures

Commission media release: Consumer experience of residential aged care explored in new report

The government is seeking feedback on where to allocate 10,000 new residential aged care beds in 2020

Modern slavery reporting year reaches half way point

Russell Kennedy partners with ACSA to deliver a webinar on whistleblower legislation

If you would like to learn more about Russell Kennedy's expertise in the Aged Care sector, click here.

If you would like to stay up to date with Russell Kennedy's insights, please sign up here.

 

Department issues warning to aged care providers over extreme temperatures

The Minister for the Department of Health (Department) issued a warning to the aged care sector in response to high temperatures experienced this summer. Providers are encouraged to be prepared, monitor local media and the Bureau of Meteorology website to ensure residents are safe. As a priority, residents should be kept hydrated and cool. Families are also encouraged to check on the welfare of their elderly relatives during this period.

The symptoms of heat stress should be readily identified and include muscle cramps, pallor, dizziness, headache, nausea, increased heart rate, fainting, excessive sweating or no sweating with high temperature and hot dry skin. Where symptoms are severe, urgent medical advice should be sought.

The Department has created online resources to assist aged care providers in taking relevant precautions. The Department’s media release and links to the online resources can be found here.

 

Commission media release: Consumer experience of residential aged care explored in new report

A partnership between the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Commission) and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has produced a report considering the experiences of older Australians living in residential aged care.

The basis of the report is an analysis of residential consumer experience data gathered over a two year period. The AIHW has produced an independent analysis of the results broken down by the type of organisation providing the service, resident population characteristics, service size and remoteness level.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety (ACQS) Commissioner, Ms Janet Anderson PSM, explained that the new report will enhance consumer experience reporting. Currently, a random sample of residents are interviewed and asked standardised questions. When a sufficient sample size exists, a ‘Consumer Experience Report’ for the service is published on the ACQS website. However, the new report will provide a sector wide understanding of aged care services.

The Chief Executive Officer of AIHW, Mr Barry Sandison, stated that the report will enable the sector to track changes in the views, perceptions and impressions of those living in residential aged care services.

The report noted that there was generally a positive view of the residential aged care experience for consumers born in English speaking countries, not-for-profit organisations and smaller service providers.

The report also coincides with the release of the residential aged care quality indicators, a partnership between the Department of Health and the AIHW. Mr Sandison noted that these indicators will enable aged care providers to compare themselves against national averages to improve services.

You can access a copy of the consumer experience report here.

 

The government is seeking feedback on where to allocate 10,000 new residential aged care beds in 2020

The application period for for the 2019-2020 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) will commence in in March 2020 and end in May 2020.

The ACAR is a competitive application process that enables prospective and existing approved providers of aged care to apply for a range of new Australian Government funded aged care places, including residential aged care places, and financial assistance in the form of a capital grant. 

The 2020 ACAR will offer:

  • 10,000 residential aged care places
  • 750 short-term restorative care places
  • up to $60 million in capital grants for residential aged care.

The Department of Health launched a targeted stakeholder consultation and public survey in December 2019 for this ACAR to get a better understanding of unmet needs in the provision of residential aged care, particularly in respect to specific geographic locations, special needs groups and other key issue groups.  The survey closed on 31 January 2020, and the responses will help inform the distribution and targeting approach for new residential aged care places set to be made available for allocation in the 2020 ACAR.

Find out more about the 2020 ACAR here.

 

Modern slavery reporting year reaches half way point

We are now just over half way through the first reporting year for organisations who are caught by the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (Act).  This means that organisations with an annual revenue of at least $100 million should be progressing through their key actions to address modern slavery risks in preparation for submitting a report for the 2019/2020 financial year by 31 December 2020.

The Act uses the term ‘modern slavery’ to describe any situation where coercion, threats or deception is used to exploit a person and undermine or deprive them of their freedom.  It includes serious exploitation such as trafficking, slavery, servitude, forced marriage, forced labour, debt bondage, the worst forms of child labour, and deceptive recruiting for labour or services.

The Act requires organisations submit a statement addressing what steps the organisation has taken to address the risks of modern slavery in its organisation. For aged care providers, modern slavery risks may include the procurement of certain services (eg. cleaning, catering, security, IT etc.) or certain goods (eg. uniforms, medical supplies, food etc.). 

If you would like advice on how the Act applies to your organisation or the steps your organisation could be taking to address modern slavery risk, please contact Solomon Miller, Felicity Iredale or Angela Liu.

 

Russell Kennedy partners with ACSA to deliver a webinar on whistleblower legislation

This webinar is a must attend as the Australian whistleblower laws, that came into place last year, include a requirement that all “public” (including not-for-profits registered as public companies limited by guarantee) and “large proprietary” companies have a compliant whistleblower policy in place from the start of 2020.

Many organisations in the aged care and retirement living industries fall within this requirement, so this information is incredibly important.

Principal Solomon Miller will present on some key points at the webinar:

  • An update on the whistleblower reforms and what you need to know now.
  • How do the whistleblower laws interact with other reporting processes, such as mandatory notifications?
  • Procedural issues that have arisen so far and how to avoid these.
  • Unpacking common questions and concerns.
Register for the webinar here

 

If you would like to learn more about Russell Kennedy's expertise in the Aged Care sector, click here.

If you would like to stay up to date with Russell Kennedy's insights, please sign up here.

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