Aged Care

OTA are actively working towards a better Aged Care sector that supports our profession to deliver the high quality, specialised services that our older population want and need.

We represented the profession in the lead up to, and during, the Aged Care Royal Commission.  At this time of widespread sector reform, we continue to represent you.

How OTA are representing you

OTA are actively participating in the key reform opportunities that have stemmed from the Federal Government 2021 budget commitments to reform the aged care sector.

We have participated in all 5 pillars of reform through submissions, direct consultation sessions or attendance at workshops and updates.

We are also taking every opportunity to maximise our voice through collaborative projects with key stakeholders:

  • The development of a National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) endorsed Position Statement, led by Allied Health Professionals Association (AHPA), on the need for allied health in RACF. View document here.
  • The development of My Health Record Allied Health datasets to allow allied health aged care records to be shared with other care services and health professionals. This project is  led by AHPA and funded by Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA).

OTA have been working with our aged care membership and stakeholders to build a picture of aged care occupational therapy, the issues and opportunities facing our profession and what we hope for the future of aged care.

We know:

  • Clinicians want to work under a model of practice that places the client at the centre of care and promotes an evidence based reablement and positive ageing approach.
  • More specialist aged care clinical services are needed to address the complex health needs of the growing ageing population and many of these are offered by occupational therapists.
  • Occupational therapy workforce attraction and retention issues are being experienced across all aged care settings and programs.
  • Pay rate discrepancies across sectors and other systematic limitations are impacting negatively on work satisfaction and are diminishing a workforce already experiencing significant shortages. Previous funding systems have limited the ability of occupational therapists to work to their full scope of practice.

Future of occupational therapy in aged care – what we expect of our aged care system.

Through our advocacy work OTA are actively working to influence the future of the aged care sector so that:

  1. Occupational therapists are supported to work to full scope of practice across all aged care settings and programs
  2. Older people have choice and control over their health and support needs and are supported in their endeavours to positively age in place.
  3. Funding ensures access to timely, high quality occupational therapy services, assistive technologies, and home modifications.
  4. Occupational therapists are appropriately and consistently remunerated for all their services in recognition of their skilled expertise.

We need you!

Now, more than ever, we need the views and voices of aged care OTs to be heard.  During this time of significant sector reform and federal election campaigns, we have an opportunity to build and shape the future of Australia’s aged care system.

To ensure you’re across the engagement and consultation opportunities shaping the aged care reform, and are having your views heard, we encourage you to please sign up for:

  • Aged Care Newsletter: offers updates on reform work and sector changes;
  • Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub: directs you to current engagement opportunities via the 'Get Involved' tab and will inform you of upcoming engagement activities and opportunities via the 'Register your interest' tab
  • Aged Care Member Feedback: OTA want to hear from you on key areas of reform so we can most accurately represent your professional and clinical views. Most urgently, we want to hear your thoughts about the proposed Support at Home Program. The Department intend to run a series of consultation sessions which will cover topics related to the Support at Home Program such as Service Lists, Funding Models, Assistive Technology and Home Modifications.

 To provide your feedback on the aged care sector reforms, please contact OTA.

Contact OTA

OTA will continue to keep you updated on the work happening across the aged care sector reform and any further opportunities for engagement as they arise. Click on the following links to find out more on key reform projects:

Key Reform Projects

The Commonwealth Government are proposing a new home based aged care program that combines the current Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), Home Care Packages (HCP) and Short Term Restorative Care (STRC) and residential respite programs under one umbrella program, the Support at Home Program. 

This work sits within Pillar 1 of the Proposed Aged Care reforms and has been allocated a $23.5 million dollar budget and a deadline of June 2023.

In January 2022 the Commonwealth released an overview paper that outlines the proposed features of the new program.

What is being proposed?

  • Use of a new integrated assessment tool to determine individualised needs and funding allocation across a list of key service categories.
  • Dedicated funding for identified services as opposed to a ‘single bucket’ funding approach.
  • Acknowledgement of new service areas including digital technologies and case management.
  • Older Australians will be able to self-manage their care and receive services from a range of providers.
  • Single funding model will allow providers to receive funding at the point of service via a new payment platform.

What does this mean for occupational therapy?

  • Once an assessment has been completed, clients can take direction on their care based on the assessed needs and funding made available.  This opens up the possibility for more private and sole trading OTs to operate in space where grant funding allocations (i.e. CHSP) limited this.
  • By having allied health as a dedicated service area, OTs have a clearer pathway into home based aged care at the point of assessment/reassessment.
  • Quarantining funds for assistive/digital technologies and home modifications will ensure much needed environmental changes to support safety and independence at home can be achieved.
  • Setting clear areas of care and funding them individually will remove the need for providers to feel the weight of choosing some services/care over others to stretch the funds.

What don’t we know?

  • The Commonwealth have asked the Independent Hospital and Aged Care Pricing Authority to set prices that reflect the cost of delivering the various services covered by the program however it is unclear what the unit rate will be for allied health services and if, like the NDIS model, will support payment for all services including non-face-to-face work.
  • The use of RAS and ACAS assessors are likely to continue and with this comes the concern around the ability of non-clinical assessors to determine the specific allied health needs during assessment.
  • The levels of complexity and what funding may or may not be assigned to those levels
  • How the funding will be offered or increased if required
  • The delivery of the AT and home modifications pathway within the Support at Home program – unclear if the current GEAT2Go platform is being considered.
  • How the ability to swap services that have been approved for within the same service category may impact funds allocated at assessment for occupational therapy services.


Where to from here:

OTA are working closely with the department and our key stakeholders to help inform the new Support at Home Program.

  • OTA have a member from our National Aged Care Reference Group on the Support at Home Program Assessment Trial Advisory Group.  They have been a strong advocate for the role of OT and the importance of an assessment pathway that will ensure older Australians have timely, well-funded, access to OTs.
  • Allied Health Professionals Association (AHPA) Aged Care Working Group, of which OTA is a member, are planning to have a meeting with Nick Morgan, Assistant Secretary Home Support and Assessment Branch within the Department of Health to consider allied health specific issues.

Consultation with the department is ongoing and a new wave of engagement opportunities are imminent.  You can see the list of proposed topics for discussion on the consultation calendar.

In preparation for these consultation opportunities, OTA are keen to hear from you.  We are building a campaign group on the topics due for consideration including service list, funding model and AT/Home Modifications. 

If you want to learn more about what’s happening with the Support at Home Program:

Reform to in-home aged care – this website outlines the various actions and works underway around the reform of home based aged care services including information about the Support at Home Assessment Trial Advisory group and the associated ‘Living Lab’ trial of the proposed assessment tool.

Support at Home Overview paper – released in Jan 2022 it outlines the proposed ways in which the new program will operate.

Reform to in-home aged care  – webinar presented on 8th March providing an update on the work to date and the plans for ongoing consultation across the sector

Support at Home consultation calendar – lists the consultation opportunities that the Department are planning to hold across the sector. Of note is the AT/Home Mods consultation proposed for May 2022.

How to receive the latest information and learn about aged care engagement opportunities:

Aged Care Newsletter: offers updates on reform work and sector changes;

Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub: directs you to current engagement opportunities via the 'Get Involved' tab and will inform you of upcoming engagement activities and opportunities via the 'Register your interest' tab.

The Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) is a new assessment model for the allocation of Commonwealth funding and subsidy to Residential Aged Care (RAC) settings.  It has been designed as a replacement to the existing Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) which has been operating within Australian residential care facilities since 2008

Following independent research, trial and testing, the AN-ACC has commenced a shadow assessment period alongside the existing ACFI.  This process will run from April 2021 to April 2022 with all Government RAC residents and respite recipients to be assessed. ACFI assessment and reviews will also continue during this period. It is expected, based on the shadow assessment outcomes, that this framework will officially commence in October 2022.

What does this mean for occupational therapy?

  • The AN-ACC doesn’t intend to be as prescriptive (or potentially as restrictive) as the ACFI defining a fixed range of conditions/interventions that OT’s can be funded for.
  • The AN-ACC was designed to ensure a greater focus on the broader needs of the resident to ensure the right funds are assigned.
  • The assessment is administered by trained clinicians (including occupational therapists) independent to the RAC facility and involves a mixture of client and family interviews, clinical record evaluation and staff interviews.

What we don’t know

  • It is unclear how allied health will be funded under the current model.  Recommendations have been made for minimum allied health care minutes to match the gold standard Canadian model of 22 minutes per day/per resident.  There is no official statement or confirmation this will be implemented.
  • There is no care planning component to the current model.  Aged care providers are left to determine the right allied health case mix and to address individual needs identified from the assessment.  The University of Wollongong, when presenting the AN-ACC, made it clear in their recommendations that a best practice, needs identification and care planning assessment must be developed.  Again, there have been no official statements from the Department on this.
  • It is unclear how this model will increase allied health services in residential aged care as per the recommendations made by the Royal Commission.  There is concern that funding for services will be modelled off the current ACFI which has severely limited OT scope of practice.

Where to from here:

  • OTA are working closely with our allied health partners to formally request clarification from the Commonwealth on
    • how the AN-ACC will increase allied health services in RACF
    • how allied health in RACF will be funded.
  • We are also seeking confirmation from the Department on their commitment to fulfil the key recommendation made by the University of Wollongong to implement a needs identification and care planning assessment tool across RACFs.

If you want to learn more about what’s happening with the AN-ACC implementation:

How allied health care is supported under AN-ACC

The AN-ACC Funding Model: An Introduction – fact sheet providing a overview of the funding model.

Residential Aged Care Funding Reform – this page details the background to the development of the AN-ACC, the shadow assessment process and the transition process.

Funding Reform Resources – lists several resources explaining AN-ACC an the transition from ACFI.

AN-ACC Reference Manual and AN-ACC Assessment Tool

How to receive the latest information and learn about aged care engagement opportunities:

Aged Care Newsletter: offers updates on reform work and sector changes;

Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub: directs you to current engagement opportunities via the 'Get Involved' tab and will inform you of upcoming engagement activities and opportunities via the 'Register your interest' tab.


In response to the Royal Commission, the Australian Government is developing a new regulatory framework for aged care.  This project aims to achieve alignment of governance and regulation across the aged care, disability, and veterans’ sectors to reduce duplication, guarantee consistency in service quality and ensure safety for participants and consumers.

The alignment project will consider legislative changes that will see:

  • a common Code of Conduct (see Legislative and Quality updates)
  • alignment of registration and accreditation processes for providers
  • a single pathway for worker screening and checks
  • sharing of core care and support standards
  • combining the assessment and audit processes for aged care and NDIS sectors
  • consensus on the management of restrictive practices across sectors
  • streamlining of reporting obligations

What does this mean for occupational therapy?

  • The ability for OTs to work seamlessly across sectors, thus expanding their clinical and professional range.
  • Reduce burden of cross-sector registration requirements and, potentially reduce associated costs.
  • A more consistent approach to managing clinical governance and quality across sectors.
  • Consolidation of IT infrastructure (details on this are limited).

What we don’t know

  • How these changes will be operationalised and implemented is yet to be explained.  The preliminary design work has been completed but the details are lacking.
  • It is unclear if jurisdictional specific regulation or registration requirements will be absorbed by these changes or if there will be some continued duplication.

Where to from here:

Following the release of the Concept paper the Department have indicated they intend to continue their consultation process in early 2022.  To date, no consultation opportunities have been presented via the Engagement Hub.

OTA will continue to participate in consultation as the opportunities arise and welcome feedback from our members on this topic.

If you want to learn more about what’s happening with alignment of regulation work:

Aligning regulation across the care and support sector fact sheet

Background paper: Aligning regulation across Australia’s care and support sectors – introduces the alignment work being proposed for the aged care, disability and veterans’ care sectors

Concepts for a new framework for regulating aged care – released on the 8th February this paper follows the previous background, consultation and supplementary papers released in late 2021 (follow link for these documents).

Alignment of Regulation update – webinar held on 8th March providing an update on the status of the project, the concepts outlined in the new framework and next steps for the project (nb. the first half of the webinar is the Support at Home Program update – the reform alignment is the second half of the presentation).

Governing for Reform in Aged Care – webinar presented on 16th March for aged care providers to understand how the Governing for Reform in Aged Care program will empower you to get on the front foot of the reform agenda.

How to receive the latest information and learn about aged care engagement opportunities:

Aged Care Newsletter: offers updates on reform work and sector changes;

Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub: directs you to current engagement opportunities via the 'Get Involved' tab and will inform you of upcoming engagement activities and opportunities via the 'Register your interest' tab.

The Royal Commission identified the lack of information available to assist senior Australian’s and their families around quality and safety when seeking and receiving residential aged care.

In response to this, a new Star Rating system will be made available to help people to make informed choices and incentivise providers to improve the quality of their services.

The star rating system for aged care will be a 5 star rating system.

  • 1 star will be “Unacceptable”
  • 2 stars will be “Needs improvement”
  • 3 stars will be “Meets expectations”
  • 4 stars will be “Exceeds expectations”
  • 5 stars will be “Outstanding”

The overall rating is based on a provider's performance across four subcategories:

  • Service compliance ratings – summary of current compliance status and performance over the last three years.  There will also be a compliance history list of all the compliance assessments and actions issued by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
  • Customer experience – data from surveying residents or family representatives on the expected quality of care and services.
  • Quality indicators – a summary of a provider’s achievement of the RACF quality indicators.
  • Care minutes - calculated by a matrix of the totals of two types of care minutes: number of registered nurse (RN) minutes allocated to each resident per day and number of overall care staff minutes (inclusive of RN minutes) allocated to each resident per day.

What does this mean for occupational therapy?

  • A central, user friendly platform that will make it easier to identify facilities that are offering high quality care.
  • Care minutes doesn’t include occupational therapy or other allied health care despite wide acknowledgement by the Royal Commission of the need for greater allied health in RACFs.

What we don’t know

  • How the people from culturally diverse and marginalised communities are to be supported in accessing and interpreting the star ratings information.
  • How frequently the data will be refreshed/updated
  • How new services will be rated, and will small / specialist services be measured differently?
  • What systems will be used for providers to collect and share the necessary data.

What we are doing

OTA have representatives from our National Aged Care Reference Group actively participating in the consultation around Star Ratings systems and are strongly advocating for the importance of measuring and reporting allied health care as a feature of a high quality service.

OTA will also be closely monitoring the outcomes of the current Consumer Experience Interviews and the results that come from that.

If you want to learn more about what’s happening with star ratings:

Star Ratings for Residential Aged Care – details the project aims and benefits and the key stakeholders involved in the development of this system.

Consumer Experience Interviews – also details timelines for the consumer experience interviews, the way in which the results will be reported and examples of how the findings will be presented.

Consumer Experience Interview Questions

How to receive the latest information and learn about aged care engagement opportunities:

Aged Care Newsletter: offers updates on reform work and sector changes;

Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub: directs you to current engagement opportunities via the 'Get Involved' tab and will inform you of upcoming engagement activities and opportunities via the 'Register your interest' tab.

Several legislative, quality and safety updates are underway in response to Pillar 3: Residential aged care quality and safety, and Pillar 5: Governance.

Amendments to the Aged Care Act

From the 1st of July 2023, a new Aged Care Act will come into effect. It will address the lack of client centred and human rights approaches in aged care noted by the Royal Commission.  The new act will be created through consultation with older Australians, key stakeholders and the newly formed Council of Elders and National Aged Care Advisory Council.

For more information, click here.

Expansion of Aged Care Quality Indicators

In July 2019, a mandatory Quality Indicator program was implemented requiring residential aged care settings to provide quality indicator data three monthly on the following areas:

  • pressure injuries
  • physical restraint
  • unplanned weight loss
  • falls and major injury
  • medication management including polypharmacy and anti-psychotics.

In response to the Royal Commission findings, the Australian Government announced their intention to expand the QI program across RACF and into home-based aged care services.  The project, being implemented by Pricewaterhouse Cooper, will see the addition of four new domains and two consumer based measures in RACF.

  • Activities of daily living
  • Continence
  • Hospitalisations
  • Workforce
  • Consumer Experience
  • Quality of life

The in-home QI program will see the introduction of five domains as well as consumer based measures.

  • Function and Activities of daily living
  • Hospitalisations
  • Service delivery and care plans
  • Weight loss and malnutrition
  • Workforce
  • Consumer Experience
  • Quality of life

A pilot trial of the RACF QI domains is due to commence on 21st March.  The in-home QI trial pilot has been put on hold.

To find out more about the project, click here.

Expansion of Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) to home care settings

The Serious incident Response Scheme was established to prevent and reduce incidents of abuse and neglect in residential aged care services subsidised by the Australian Government. Following recommendations from the Royal commission, the SIRS has been expanded to home care and flexible care delivered in a home or community setting.  The new enhanced program will see the introduction of responsibilities for both RACF and home care providers to manage and prevent incidents.  Providers will be required to have an effective incident management system in place and must notify the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission if any of the following reportable incidents occur:

  • Unreasonable use of force – for example, hitting, pushing, shoving, or rough handling a consumer
  • Unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct – such as sexual threats against a consumer, stalking, or sexual activities without consumer consent
  • Neglect of a consumer – for example, withholding personal care, untreated wounds, or insufficient assistance during meals
  • Psychological or emotional abuse – such as yelling, name calling, ignoring a consumer, threatening gestures, or refusing a consumer access to care or services as a means of punishment
  • Unexpected death – where reasonable steps were not taken by the provider to prevent the death, the death is the result of care or services provided by the provider or a failure by the provider to provide care and services
  • Stealing or financial coercion by a staff member – for example, if a staff member coerces a consumer to change their will to their advantage, or steals valuables from the consumer
  • Inappropriate use of restrictive practices – where it is used in relation to a consumer in circumstances such as:
    • where a restrictive practice is used without prior consent or without notifying the consumer’s representative as soon as practicable
    • where a restrictive practice is used in a non-emergency situation, or
    • when a provider issues a drug to a consumer to influence their behaviour as a form of restrictive practice
  • Unexplained absence from care – where the consumer is absent from the service without explanation and there are reasonable grounds to report the absence to the police.

For more information, click here.

Behaviour support plans

From 1 September, Aged Care Act amendments & Quality Care Principles make it mandatory for providers to have Behaviour Support Plans in place whenever there are behavioural changes, or when restraint is imposed or likely to be imposed. This change is for all residents of aged care including those living with dementia with changed behaviours  These changes are aimed at minimising the use of restrictive practices, including chemical restraint, environmental restraint, mechanical restraint, physical restraint and seclusion.

For more information, click here.

New Code of Conduct

Work is underway, and consultation has been sought, on the development of a new Code of Conduct for the aged care sector.  This revised code, based on the current NDIS Code of Conduct, will outline requirements of all aged care workers and key personnel of approved providers of aged care.  It will also allow for the proposed alignment of regulation and governance across the care and support sectors (see Alignment of regulation across care and support sectors)

To read the Code of Conduct consultation paper, click here.


How to receive the latest information and learn about aged care engagement opportunities:

Aged Care Newsletter: offers updates on reform work and sector changes;

Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub: directs you to current engagement opportunities via the 'Get Involved' tab and will inform you of upcoming engagement activities and opportunities via the 'Register your interest' tab.

Latest Updates

Goods, Equipment and Assistive Technology (GEAT) and Home Modifications (HM) workshop on 8 June

Recently, OTA sought feedback from members around their use of the GEAT2Go program. This information helped OTA inform the department on features of the program that are both supporting and hindering clinical prescription and delivery of AT to older Australians. It also supported OTA in representing our membership in a recent meeting with the department to discuss the GEAT program within the proposed Support at Home program.

In our meeting with the Support at Home Implementation team, led by Nick Morgan, we confirmed that AT will continue to be funded as per the details provided in the overview
paper released earlier this year. Several other issues were discussed, many of which overlapped with the points raised by our members.

  • Assessment: the proposed assessment tool, and its ability to determine the GEAT/HM needs of clients at the point of assessment was discussed. There was also discussion around including the RACF Independent Assessment Workforce, responsible for conducting the AN-ACC assessments, in the assessment workforce for the Support at home Program. This would lift the number of clinical assessors, as they include occupational therapist, physiotherapists, and exercise physiologists.
  • Trialling equipment: the group acknowledged that the current inability to trial GEAT items before prescribing them is a significant barrier to successful GEAT prescription.
  • The need for rapid access for equipment: the need for a built in mechanism to enable people with rapidly declining conditions to have rapid access to assistive technology was considered.
  • Rural and regional areas: there was discussion around the factors inhibiting AT access in regional and remote areas and some consideration around whether funding should be adjustment to account for these barriers.
  • System issues: many in the group highlighted the significant administrative burden with the current GEAT program and the impact it has on AHP availability to perform assistive technology clinical assessment and prescription.
  • Greater transparency: the variability of what is rejected by some providers and accepted by others prompted a discussion around the need for greater transparency and an appeals process for managing rejected requests.
  • Workforce: Concerns were raised around the shortage of occupational therapists and other allied health professionals contributing to delays for assistive technology and home modifications. This was countered with the fact that administrative issues surrounding GEAT and HM provision take up a disproportionate amount of time for occupational therapists and other allied health professionals

Where to from here?
Over the coming weeks the Support at Home Implementation team will be briefing the incoming government and confirming timings and the broader settings for the project, speaking with co-design experts to discuss the creation of GEAT/HM pathways, and speaking to the States, Territories and funding schemes (such as DVA and NDIS) to understand their programs. Once they have completed these, there will likely be further consultation/co-design opportunities in August.

Support at Home Goods, Equipment, Assistive Technologies (GEAT) and Home Modifications Consultation
The next round of consultations for the proposed Support at Home program is underway and will focus on Goods, Equipment and Assistive Technologies (GEAT) and home modifications. OTA are aware of issues members are having with participating in these consultations and we have shared our concerns with the Support at Home Implementation team.

OTA attended the Allied Health GEAT/HM consultation session on Wednesday 8th June. In anticipation of these consultations, OTA conducted a body of work compiling the views of members around the current home based aged care GEAT and HM programs. These findings have been presented directly to Nick Morgan, Assistant Secretary for the Support at Home program through our involvement with the Allied Health Professionals Association (AHPA) Aged care working group.

OTA will continue to work with our members to ensure we’re accurately reflecting their views and ideas and will share our experiences of the consultation as we can.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day forum
The Aged Rights Advocacy Service is hosting a free online forum to acknowledge World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The forum, scheduled for the 17th June, aims to raise awareness, build resilience and create change to protect vulnerable older people.

For more details or to register for the event, click here.

Free online course in aged care advocacy
Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) are offering a free online course called ‘Talk to Us First’ aimed at helping aged care health professionals, carers or volunteers to better understand the rights of the older people they’re supporting.

The course is self-paced and usually takes less than one hour to complete. Participants will receive a certificate on completion. The course content will ensure aged care staff meet the Aged Care Quality Standard 6: Feedback and complaints.

For more information on this course, click here.

Transition to AN-ACC in RACF
The Department of Health have recently released a video providing information about the planned transition from the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) to the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model. The video shares insights from the shadow assessment period and details the ways in which funding will be calculated based on the AN-ACC classification.

Dementia Australia Expert Webinars
Dementia Australia have been collaborating with various guest speakers across a range of topics to create a suite of videos designed to support people living with dementia.

Occupational therapy Australia have recently collaborated with Dementia Australia to create a video explaining the role of occupational therapy and how an occupational therapy can assist someone with a dementia diagnosis.

The specialized education videos, including the one created by OTA, can be found here.

Auslan interpreting services for My Aged Care
A new sign language interpreting service is now available to support older Australians when contacting My Aged Care. The video interpreting service will offer a three-way chat with an Auslan interpreter and the My Aged Care agent.

To learn more about this service, click here.

Free translation service for aged care providers

A free service is available to translate key documents for your organisation through. The service, offered by Icon Agency and partners Able Australia, The LOTE Agency and Winangali, can help you communicate written or visual messages to consumers in languages and formats that meet their cultural, linguistic, literacy and disability needs.

Find more information on the Better connecting with diverse audiences website.

Australian Dementia Research Forum 2022

The Australian Dementia Network (ADNet), in collaboration with the Department, are hosting the Australian Dementia Research Forum on 30‑31 May 2022.

This year’s theme is Dementia Research: Early Diagnosis – Effective Treatment. The event will bring together dementia researchers, health professionals, policymakers and people living with dementia to showcase key innovations in dementia science and research.

Register on the Australian Dementia Research Forum website. General registrations close on 26 May 2022.

Webinar: Powers of Attorneys and understanding consent and capacity.

Swinburne University’s Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults will be hosting a free webinar presented by Katie Riceputo, from the Office of the Public Advocate. The presentation will be held on Friday 27 May at 4.45–6 pm AEST and will explain how consent and capacity are defined and assessed, as well as the roles of the enduring power of attorney, medical treatment decision maker, guardianship, and administration.

Find out more information and register for the webinar here.

Webinar: Digital Transformation Tech Talk

The Department, as part of their Digital Transformation agenda, will be hosting their next Digital Transformation Tech Talk webinar on Tuesday 31 May at 2 pm AEST. During the webinar, they will be sharing the work their doing to create a better-connected aged care network, that is consolidated, sustainable, automated, and modern and share immediate priorities on their technical roadmap.

To register for the Digital Transformation Tech Talk webinar click here.

FriendLine volunteer chat service

FriendLine is a national, free, phone line that allows people to have a friendly chat with a trained volunteer. Users can call as often as they like with volunteers available every day from 10 am to 8 pm (8 am to 6 pm in Western Australia).

There is no need to register or give personal details – simply call 1800 42 42 87 (free call).

Upgrades to Services Australia’s Aged Care Online web services

Services Australia is continuing with their transition to web services technology with Aged Care software developers having finalised upgrades to their products. Providers will have until 30 June 2022 to make the transition with Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates and access using Adaptor technology to expire on this date.

The proposed software changes will impact access to the following digital health and aged care channels

  • Medicare Online, including Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
  • Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Online
  • Electronic Claim Lodgement and Information Processing Service Environment (ECLIPSE)
  • Aged Care Web Services

We encourage all members for which the above is relevant, to familiarise themselves with the upcoming new requirements for their practice and register for updates direct from Services Australia:

  • For Information about the upgrades click here
  • For more information on how to prepare for web services and to download the E-Kit containing resources and fact sheets click here.
  • If you have any questions, contact the Services Australia Adaptors to Web Services Project Team directly via email:

Aged Care Submissions

Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA) provided a submission to the Department of Health on the proposal for a new consumer-driven competitive and innovative system for Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs).  

The previous Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) meant facilities had to apply to add new beds. By discontinuing ACAR there will be an increase in supply of beds and places will be assigned directly to the people looking for residential care. The Government's policy assumes that increasing the supply would increase consumer choice and provider competition. However, this submission used similarities between the Aged Care Quality Standards and occupational therapy practice to argue that true choice and competition would be brought about by providing occupational therapy services in RACFs.  

OTA's submission highlights the parallels between Quality Standards and occupational therapy supports, and makes the case that every RACF should be required and incentivised to engage the services of a multidisciplinary health team, including occupational therapists, to guarantee the maintenance of the Quality Standards. 

Download here

OTA used this submission to highlight the benefits of occupational therapy in providing non pharmaceutical approaches to managing several of the proposed QI in residential care.  

The Quality Indicators (QI) for residential care will be included in the star rating system, so providers will want to demonstrate high performance in the QI. There was already a quality indicator system for residential care, but this consultation was around expanding it to include several other areas of care including depression, medications, pain and behavioural symptoms.  

This submission demonstrates how occupational therapists can improve the quality of care across the new areas proposed by the consultation. In particular, it described the benefits of occupational therapy in providing non-pharmaceutical approaches to managing depression, pain and behavioural symptoms.  

Download here

OTA used this submission to position occupational therapists as professionals who can provide quality care to people in their own homes without infringing on their independence.  

This consultation proposed a new Quality Indicator (QI) system for home care like the one in residential facilities. It positioned providers to have a level of influence over the general health of an older person including any weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration; falls; and pressure injuries. 

This was controversial amongst older people and providers. Home care providers may have only a very limited role in assisting an older person, and older people value their independence.  

However, OTA demonstrated that occupational therapists are highly skilled at providing high quality care to participants in their homes while still enabling participants to maintain their independence and make decisions about their care. 

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OTA took this opportunity to advocate for a variety of best practice designs for residential aged care using the occupational therapy principles of community involvement and independence.  

The Australian Government took consultations in the process of drafting a Design Framework for Residential Aged Care. OTA recommended the use of a tiered system that had dementia friendly design as a mandatory minimum, with the platinum standard being co-located design and small housing environments. In this way, the designs that truly connected people to the communities inside and outside the facility would be rewarded.  

Other design ideas OTA recommended were design that enables continued engagement in activities of interest, dementia friendly design, and design that supports diverse cultures and identities.  

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