Aged Care Reform Quarterly Updates

Aged Care reform

As we approach the two-year anniversary on 1 March 2023 of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety final report, we are continuing to make positive changes to aged care in Australia.

The Australian Government is committed to meeting the challenges outlined in the report
by making changes to aged care that deliver safety, dignity and quality aged care for
every older Australian across our system.

We are consulting with older Australians and their families and carers as we develop, trial
and deliver these changes to make sure our aged care system meets their needs. Below are just a few of the latest changes we have put in place:

Aged Care Act Amendment

On 27 July 2022, the Government introduced two pieces of legislation to Parliament to deliver its commitments to fixing aged care.

The first, the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Act
2022, passed on 2 August 2022, contains 9 measures to assist the delivery of critically
needed changes for the aged care system, including:

  • a star ratings system as a comparison rating for all residential aged care services
    (by the end of 2022)
  • an extension of the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) to all in-home care providers from 1 December 2022, meaning increased protection for older Australians from preventable incidents, abuse and neglect a new Code of Conduct for approved providers, their workforce and governing persons to improve the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life for people receiving aged care and to boost trust in services.

The second piece of legislation, the Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Act
2022, passed on 27 October 2022, includes the following 3 measures to implement the
Government’s election commitments:

  • requirement for a registered nurse to be on site and on duty in every residential
    aged care home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • ban exit fees and enable the capping of administrative and management charges
    in the Home Care Packages Program
  • measures to allow greater transparency of information in relation to aged care
    services, including approved providers and costs associated with residential
    aged care.

New funding model for residential aged care

The Royal Commission Response Act also enabled a new funding model, the Australian
National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC), to replace the Aged Care Funding Instrument
from 1 October 2022. It provides more equitable funding for providers that better matches the costs of delivering care, enabling a more efficient, transparent and sustainable system.

Under AN-ACC, more equitable care funding is provided to regional, remote, Indigenous and homeless facilities, recognising their additional care costs. Each aged care resident will also be assigned one of 13 AN-ACC classifications, based on an independent assessment, which determines the variable funding component a provider receives.

From 1 October 2022, we also started providing funding through AN-ACC to support residential aged care homes to increase their care staffing workforce in preparation for the targets becoming mandatory from 1 October 2023.

Care minutes are the time registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers spend caring for older Australians who live in government-funded residential aged care homes.

For more information on AN-ACC, visit: health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/an-acc

Verifying providers’ claims of specialised care

From October 2022, we’ve made it easier for older Australians with diverse backgrounds and life experiences to access more reliable information about their care providers. This will help them find safe, high-quality aged care services and give them greater choice to match their care needs.

Some examples of specialised care include care for:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

Verified providers who offer care for one or more special needs groups will appear differently from unverified providers on the My Aged Care website, helping older Australians and their families make
informed choices about care.

You can search for verified providers using the My Aged Care website’s ‘Find a Provider’ tool: at myagedcare.gov.au

What we’re working on now In-home aged care

We are committed to delivering a reformed and improved in-home aged care program by 1 July 2024, starting with listening to the people who use and deliver the services.

Recently we published ‘A New Program for In-Home Aged Care’ Discussion Paper.
This paper builds on previous consultations on reforms for in-home aged care, and
seeks feedback from older Australians and their families and carers, as well as the aged
care sector.

With more than $9.5 billion in the 2022–23 financial year in funding for in-home care support alone, older Australians will see real progress well before July 2024, including:

  • 40,000 additional Home Care Packages
  • a cap on how much Home Care Package recipients can be charged for administration and management
  • banning of Home Care Package exit fees
  • improved monthly reporting statements so people receiving home care services can see where their money is going
  • improved access to goods, equipment and assistive technology (GEAT) to make living at home easier
  • support for aged care providers to recruit and train 13,000 new personal care workers to care for older Australians in their homes
  • protection from preventable incidents, abuse and neglect through the extension of the Serious Incident Response Scheme to all in-home aged care providers.

Find out more at health.gov.au/in-homeaged-care-reform

National Dementia Action Plan

We are developing a National Dementia Action Plan in collaboration with state and territory governments. The Action Plan will be consumer-focused and include specific actions that promote a collaborative national approach to drive improvements for people living with dementia, their carers and families.

The Action Plan will include a section specifically focused on improving support and services for carers, reflecting their critical role in supporting people living with dementia.

We have developed a consultation paper to seek feedback to inform the development of the Action Plan and ensure the voices of people with lived experience of dementia are reflected in Australia’s priorities for action on dementia over the next 10 years. The paper has been informed by early engagement with people living with dementia and their carers, and is expected to be released later this year.

We welcome the views of carers and encourage you to register for engagement activities through the Aged Care Engagement Hub: agedcareengagement.health.gov.au/get-involved

What we’ve heard

To date thousands of people have let us know what they think about the reforms via surveys, discussion papers, focus groups, interviews and reform webinars. We are also meeting older Australians out in the community by participating in events around the country. Since our last update we have been to:

  • Brisbane Carers Expo, Brisbane (15–16 September 2022)
  • Silver is Gold Veterans and Seniors Expo, Canberra (28 September 2022)
  • Celebration Day, to launch the Victoria Seniors Festival, Melbourne (2 October 2022)
  • Disability, Ageing and Lifestyle Expo, Adelaide (28–29 October 2022),

among others.

At these events, we heard that older Australians are eager to stay at home as long as possible and maintain their independence. People also told us they are keen to learn more about the progress of
aged care reforms.

Have your say

We have made it easier for you to see what we are doing, find information and read about aged care reform news updates by refreshing our Aged Care Engagement Hub.

Visit the new-look website to register your interest to be involved in consultations and upcoming engagement opportunities.

You can also sign up to our new EngAged newsletter for older Australians and their carers to stay up to date with what we are doing: agedcareengagement.health.gov.au/get-involved

Supporting carers and older Australians during this festive season

While the festive season is often a time for celebration, it can also bring feelings of stress and fatigue as well as reminders of grief and loneliness.

There are a range of government support programs for older Australians and their carers who might need help during this period.

Carer support through Carer Gateway The upcoming festive season can be a reminder that everybody needs a break and support at times. While caring for somebody else, it is important that carers look after
themselves too. Carer Gateway provides many services to support carers in their caring role, including:

  • in-person and online peer support groups
  • tailored support packages (including planned respite options)
  • in-person and phone counselling
  • in-person and online self-guided coaching
  • online skills courses
  • access to emergency respite.

‘Respite’ or ‘respite care’ is when someone else takes care of the person you care for, so that you can have a break. A break can give you time to do everyday activities, deal with stress and look after yourself.

Access Carer Gateway Services

You can access Carer Gateway services in a number of ways:

Visit the website at carergateway.gov.au

Or call 1800 422 737 Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm to speak with your local Carer Gateway service provider. They will talk you through the registration process and start the planning process. This process helps our staff learn more about you and your caring role so they can match services to your individual needs. You can also ask someone to call you back at a convenient time. For help with accessing emergency respite, call 1800 422 737 any time 24/7.

Grief and trauma support

Helping those in and around aged care to cope with the continuing impacts of COVID-19 COVID-19 has placed extreme pressure on the care and support sector and continues to affect everyone. Some people might be suffering from loneliness due to the effects of social isolation or visitor restrictions. Others may be mourning the death of a loved one or navigating major changes to their lives, such as leaving their home to move into residential aged care.

If you or someone you care for needs support, there is free and confidential help available. Support includes counselling, information on self-care, resources and advocacy services. There are also specific
services for carers.

Visit our website to find out how you or your loved ones can access free, private and confidential grief and trauma support: health.gov.au/grief-and-trauma-support-services.

Celebrating 30 years of the Community Visitors Scheme

This year we are celebrating 30 years of the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS). The scheme connects volunteers with someone in their neighbourhood who is receiving aged care services – both residential aged care and home care services – who is feeling isolated or lonely.

Volunteers come from all different backgrounds and from all over Australia. The relationships that develop are lifechanging for both the volunteer and their older friend.

Sign up to become a CVS volunteer visitor: health.gov.au/cvs

Celebrate International Volunteer – Day 5 December 2022

The CVS is filled with inspiring stories and tales of friendships. Learn about Carlo and Germana’s CVS story:

Carlo:

Having the opportunity to connect with Germana has really taught me that everyone has different perspectives. I really benefit from a lot of her wisdom and stories.

Germana:

We in the aged care facility, we do need communication with outside people. I appreciate Carlo for what he is because when you’re old, you feel you’re put on the side and that’s it. And with him I don’t feel like that. So that is something that I appreciate very much.

Courage (staff member):

There’s somebody in aged care who’d like to talk to you. They always want people to come and visit.

It could be one hour, it could be 2 hours, one day a week. Come in, have a chat with somebody. To put a smile in somebody’s face, it’s easy and it’ll change someone’s life.

Watch the story of Carlo and Germana’s friendship: health.gov.au/cvs

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In Need of Support?

Carer Gateway is an Australian Government program providing free services and support for carers. Call Carer Gateway for support and access to services, Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm local time.

Assistance with accessing emergency respite is available any time, 24/7.

1800 422 737 

Friends & Partners

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