Aged Care Updates and Media

Practice Support

Aged Care Updates and Media

OTA are actively working to update occupational therapists working in aged care about what’s happening in the sector. We want you to know about the significant changes happening in aged care, be updated on the latest media reports, and stay across innovative ideas. We do this in a variety of ways including our Aged Care Updates, media releases or interviews with experts in the field.

 

Aged Care Updates

Latest Updates

Government and stakeholder engagement

Submissions, Consultations, and conferences: OTA regularly creates submissions and attends meetings/webinars in response to consultation opportunities – here is a list of our recent engagement:

  • Aged Care Taskforce Report – Minister Wells released the findings of the Aged Care Taskforce on March 11. In its report, the Taskforce outlines recommendations on funding arrangements, including contributions from consumers. Whilst there is some acknowledgement of allied health in the report as an element of clinical care, it is unclear if allied health will be fully funded in the new funding arrangements. OTA is writing to the Minister for Health and Aged Care to raise our concerns and seek assurance that OTs, and AH more broadly, will be included as essential element of the aged care system as identified by the Royal Commission. You can watch a recording of the presentation of the Taskforce report by clicking here.
  • Inspector General for Aged Care Progress Report
    - The Office of the Inspector General for Aged Care is undertaking a consultation for their Progress Report on Implementation of Aged Care Royal Commission Recommendations. OTA has contributed to AHPA’s submission.
  • Aged Care Act Exposure Draft - OTA provided a submission on the Aged Care Act Exposure draft and supported AHPA in their submission. Both submissions address the following:
  • Inclusion of reablement as a key aspect of aged care – we are concerned that the Act fails to embed reablement through the provision of allied health services as recommended by the Royal Commission,
  • Enforceability of Statement of Rights and Statement of Principles that safeguard the rights of the individual
  • Definition of Quality Care and High-Quality Care
  • Assessment process that provide needs-based care through an assessment process that supports best practice of assessment by people with appropriate qualifications
  • Obligation to provide and fund allied health services in aged care
  • Registration of providers
  • Complaints Commissioner
  • Impact of age eligibility criteria on access to appropriate care, and disability support
  • Quality Standards guidance resources
    – The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission have released guidance materials for the implementation of the new Quality Standards. These materials are currently available for public consultation which is open until 30th April. OTA is reviewing the materials and plan to submit a response to the consultation. To find out more about the materials and the consultation click here.
  • Australian Falls Guidelines - Neuroscience research Australia (NEURA) invited feedback on draft Recommendations and Good Practice Points from the Australian Fall Prevention Guidelines, prepared for the Australian Commission on Quality and Safety in Health Care for consultation. The Guidelines covered Residential Aged Care, Community Care and Hospital settings. OTA reviewed the guidelines for Residential Aged Care and Community Care and provided feedback on these guidelines. OT were well represented in both. OTA recommended these guidelines are parcelled up into a range of offerings to ensure clinicians can embed these guidelines into practice including recorded webinars, training modules and videos.

Free Aged Care Member Update
OTA hosted in collaboration with the Working with Older People Interest Group an Aged Care Member Update on 28th February 2024. Presented by Christina Wyatt, OTA's Aged Care Professional Practice Advisor, this session covered:

  • Key aged care reforms underway for residential and in-home care.
  • What the changes are likely to mean for occupational therapists.
  • Advocacy work that OTA are undertaking.

Members can watch a recording of the Aged Care Member Update, access the presentation slides and review answers to questions presented in the update by clicking here.

Aged Care Capability Framework
Due to the success of the MH Capability Framework and the recommendations within the OTA Workforce Development Report, the OTA Professional Practice Team have identified several priority areas of practice, including aged care, in which to commence building further capability frameworks.

The capability frameworks propose a set of key capabilities for occupational therapists practicing in specific areas, at different career stages. It is not the intention of the frameworks to create additional hurdles for practitioners, rather, the frameworks serve as a facilitator. The frameworks enable individual occupational therapists to make informed decisions about where to focus their development activities and provide a guide to the role of an occupational therapist in that area of practice. Additionally, the frameworks assist employers and employees with negotiation of capability development, and defining the nature of clinical practice that can be expected at different career stages.

OTA have appointed an Expert Advisory Group to help drive this work and have undertaken two targeted workshops with OTs working in aged care to review the draft content. OTs will be invited to provide further feedback on the draft framework in our broad consultation scheduled for mid-April. Information on how to participate in this will be sent out shortly.

To read about the Capability Framework project click here. To read more about the Mental Health Capability Framework click here.

Aged Care Worker Survey
The Department of Health and Aged Care have released a worker survey to better understand people’s experiences of working in aged care. The Survey is currently open from 18 March until 30 April 2024 and should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Answers to the survey will be confidential.

You can find out more about the survey and participate by clicking here.

Consent and Ethics in Dementia Research webinar
The Australia Dementia Network will be hosting a webinar on Consent and Ethics in Dementia Research. The webinar will be held on Wednesday 27th
March 2024 1:00 – 2:30pm AEDT and includes a range of speakers and panellists across dementia research.

To find out more and to register for the event click here.

Free translating and interpreting services
There are a range of free translation and interpreting services available to people receiving aged care services. These include:

Free translation service – translation of aged care service materials into languages other than English.

TIS National interpreting service – 24/7 access to TIS National interpreting services, including phone, on-site and video remote interpreting to support communication with people in different languages.

Deaf Connect sign language interpreting and captioning service – in-person and online sign language interpreting and live captioning to support older people to better engage with aged care services.

Click on the links above to find out more or click here to read about information in other languages available on My Aged Care website.

Interim First Nations Aged Care Commissioner – feedback being sought.

Ms Andrea Kelly, the interim First Nations Aged Care Commissioner is currently seeking feedback from people working in aged care to build a better aged care system that delivers culturally safe and appropriate services. Feedback will inform the role of the permanent Commissioner and can be provided by email: interimFNACCconsultations@health.gov.au.

To learn more about the role of the Interim First Nations Aged Care Commissioner, click here.

Ms Andrea Kelly, Interim First Nations Aged Care Commissioner with Christina Wyatt, OTA Professional Practice Advisor in Aged Care
[Pictured: L-R - Ms Andrea Kelly, Interim First Nations Aged Care Commissioner with Christina Wyatt, OTA Professional Practice Advisor in Aged Care (Feb 2024)]

National Dementia Support Program – consultation
The Department have released a survey seeking feedback from aged care workers and health professionals supporting people living with dementia on the National Dementia Support Program delivered by Dementia Australia.

The online survey closes 5pm Friday 29 March and takes less than 15 minutes to complete. All information provided is anonymous and confidential.

To find out more about the survey or to complete it, click here.

OTA Aged Care CPD opportunities
Motivational Interviewing
This full day workshop will give you the skills to use Motivational Interviewing in your clinical practice.

What is Motivational Interviewing you might be asking - Motivational interviewing (MI) is a collaborative conversation style that gives OTs strategies and skills to support their clients to make meaningful changes. Motivational Interviewing is particularly useful for supporting client ambivalence, relapsing conditions, lack of importance, confidence, and readiness to change, and discord between client and therapist.

Motivational Interviewing has a strong evidence base for use across a wide range of areas including mental health, substance use disorders, physical health addressing exercise, diet, pain management, diabetes, oral health, and within education, employment, and correctional services.

This workshop is suitable for OTs at any stage of their career.

For those who attend this course in Melbourne there will be a follow up online 90 minute workshop on 17th May as a check-in on how you are going implementing Motivational Interviewing into your practice, opportunity to ask any questions you may have and consolidate your learning.

Michelle Taylor will be your course trainer, an occupational therapist with over 25 years of experience in mental health. She has extensive experience in using Motivational Interviewing in practice as well as in providing training and developing models of practice that use MI.

Date: 11 April 2024
Location: The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins
Presenters: Michelle Taylor
Area of Practice: Disability, Mental Health, Rehab, NDIS, Older Adult Care
Click here to register.

Sensory Modulation and Trauma-informed care – Tina Champagne
Occupational Therapy Australia is delighted to announce that world-renowned occupational therapist, Dr. Tina Champagne will be bringing her expertise in Sensory Modulation and Trauma-informed care to Australia in June 2024. Tina has a wealth of knowledge in the use of sensory modulation approaches with people living with dementia having recently released a new book on Sensory Modulation in Dementia Care.

Tina is hosting two types of events in Australia: masterclasses and workshops covering various topics and experience levels. The main difference lies in the depth of exploration and level of interaction. Masterclasses, designed for all learning stages, adopt a lecture-style format with broad applicability, while workshops, tailored to specific learning stages, offer highly interactive sessions.

Sensory Modulation and Trauma Informed Care Masterclass.
Location: Melbourne Windsor Hotel
Date: Tuesday 11 June 2024
Time: 8.30am – 4.00pm
Audience: Occupational Therapists working across the mental health, aged care and Psychosocial Disability Sectors.

Sensory Modulation and Trauma Informed Care Masterclass
Location: Perth Pan Pacific Hotel
Date: Wednesday 12 June 2024
Time: 9 – 5pm (5pm-6pm drinks reception). While this is 30 minutes longer than the Melbourne masterclass, the amount of contact time will be the same (6 hours).
Audience: Occupational Therapists working across the mental health, aged care and Psychosocial Disability Sectors.

Level 1 - Sensory Modulation, Trauma and Attachment Informed Care Workshop
Location: Sydney CBD (Venue TBC)
Date: Tuesday 18 June – Wednesday 19 June 2024
Time: 9am – 5pm
Audience: Occupational therapists enhancing foundational skills in the application of sensory modulation.

Level 2 - Embedding Sensory Approaches and Trauma Informed Care in Occupation-Based Practice Workshop.
Location: Sydney CBD (Venue TBC)
Date: Thursday 20 June - Friday 21 June 2024
Time: 9am – 5pm
Audience: Occupational therapists developing advanced skills in the application of sensory modulation or for those who have already taken the Level 1 workshop.

For more information about each event, including learning outcomes, pricing, and inclusions, please click here. Click here to register. Early bird ends 11 April 2024.

How to choose the most suitable assessment and outcome measures in occupational therapy practice
Join us for this 2 -part interactive online workshop series presented by Dr Bess Fowler that will provide you with the tools to choose the most suitable assessment and outcome measure for your clinical practice. The series will include a project that you will complete in your own time between workshops to support consolidation of your learning from the first workshop.

Date:
Workshop 1: 17 April 2024
1:00pm - 2:30pm | NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS, QLD | 12:30pm - 2:00pm | SA | 12.30pm - 2:00pm | NT | 11:00am - 12:30pm | WA |

Workshop 2: 22 May 2024
1:00pm - 2:30pm | NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS, QLD | 12:30pm - 2:00pm | SA | 12.30pm - 2:00pm | NT | 11:00am - 12:30pm | WA |

Presenters: Dr Bess Fowler
Area of Practice: Older Adult Care
Click here to register – Early bird closes 31 March

How to choose the most suitable assessment and outcome measures in occupational therapy practice (Community Living Older Adults – Home Safety)

Join us for this 2 -part interactive online workshop series presented by Dr Bess Fowler that will provide you with the tools to choose the most suitable assessment and outcome measure for your clinical practice. The series will include a project that you will complete in your own time between workshops to support consolidation of your learning from the first workshop.

Date:
Workshop 1: 14 August 2024
1:00pm - 2:30pm | NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS, QLD | 12:30pm - 2:00pm | SA | 12.30pm - 2:00pm | NT | 11:00am - 12:30pm | WA |

Workshop 2: 18 September 2024
1:00pm - 2:30pm | NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS, QLD | 12:30pm - 2:00pm | SA | 12.30pm - 2:00pm | NT | 11:00am - 12:30pm | WA |

Presenters: Dr Bess Fowler
Area of Practice: Older Adult Care
Click here to register – Early bird closes 28 July

Environmental Home Modifications - The Basics
This two day workshop provides foundation skills in environmental modifications. It presents the participant with practical tasks for completion and provides them with skills in measurement, design and a client centred approach to home modifications.

Date: 10-11 May 2024
Location: Rydges Sydney Central Hotel
Presenter: Sandi Lightfoot-Collins
Area of Practice: Older Adult Care, Rehab, Disability, NDIS
Click here to register – Early bird closes 31 March

Complex Home Modifications
This one-day workshop for Occupational Therapists will focus on a practical understanding of the National Construction Code and its application to housing. It will explore the concepts of reasonable and necessary and documentation for complex and challenging modifications.

This workshop will cover:

  • Legislative requirements for design- the principles
  • Reasonable and necessary design requirements
  • Conceptual design and diagrammatical representation
  • Documentation principles for advanced and complex design

Date: 29 June
Location: Sydney
Presenter: Sandi Lightfoot-Collins
Area of Practice: Older Adult Care, Rehab, Disability, NDIS
Click here to register - Early bird closes 18 May

Oedema: How to identify, assess and manage
This practical, hands-on workshop will provide you with an understanding of the aetiology, assessment, treatment, and management of oedema by OTs incorporating the use of case studies.

Date: 24-25 May
Location: Mantra South Bank Brisbane
Presenters: Dr Amanda Pigott
Area of Practice: Disability, Rehab, NDIS, Older Adult Care
Click here to register – Early bird closes 21 April

Care of People with Dementia in Their Environment “COPE” Program
This interactive training introduces attendees to the Care Of People with Dementia in their Environments (COPE) program developed by Professor Laura Gitlin and her team in the US. and provides attendees with the skills and knowledge required to adopt and implement COPE in their workplace.

The workshop covers: comprehensive assessments; client directed problem solving strategies; how to use communication, activity simplification and environmental modifications to enhance people with dementia's daily function and prevent and manage changed behaviours.

All participants will receive: a training workbook; 'The Caregivers Guide to Dementia', an invitation to participate in three telephone coaching calls and the COPE online community of practice facilitated by COPE Master trainers.

Date: 20-21 May
Presenter: Sally Day & Kate Laver
Area of Practice: Older Adult Care, Rehab, Disability
Click here to register – Early bird closes 15 April

Palliative Care Learning & Development Modules
Developed by OTs for OTs, OTA is offering an evidence-based three-part online learning resource designed to increase the knowledge and skills of OTs working in palliative care. This self-directed eLearning resource provides an excellent foundation for OTs working within the palliative care setting to build and consolidate their discipline-specific knowledge, skills and experience.

Click here to learn more and enrol in the learning and development program.

Assessing and treating arthritis in the upper limb
This webinar will provide you with basic assessment and treatment techniques, in addition to a review of upper limb anatomy and how changes occur due to OA. This course will assist you to understand the various treatment options available to patients presenting with arthritic changes of the upper limb as well as give you an understanding of when to refer the patient on.

Click here to register.

Sensory Approaches in OT Clinical Practice
This webinar outlines the theory and provides practical strategies essential to integrate sensory approaches into OT service delivery. It supports the growth of skills in developing a sensory lens, enabling OTs to apply the concepts and strategies to any number of occupational roles and functions, to promote functional gains and independence for consumers.

Click here to register.

Practice Spotlights
OTA is excited to launch a new offering - Practice Spotlights.

Practice Spotlight events will provide opportunities for OTs to increase their knowledge and develop skills across various areas of practice. These sessions will be focused on practical skill development and application to practice.

Suitable for OTs at all stages of their career, Practice Spotlights will provide OTs with valuable opportunities to learn and grow.

Practice Spotlight – Balance or Burnout? An OT approach to managing burnout and compassion fatigue.
Are you thinking of leaving your job or even the OT profession to find more satisfaction elsewhere? Are you finding it difficult to complete tasks that seem simple, procrastinating, feeling inefficient or unmotivated? Are you feeling stressed with decreasing tolerance? These could all be signs that you are on the path of burnout.

OTs are at high risk of burnout but often don’t take the time to firstly recognise if they are heading towards burnout nor set time aside to look after themselves and put in place strategies to support their wellbeing and enhance their work-life balance.

Workload demands and staff shortages across many sectors that OTs work in further compound the risk of burnout and decreased engagement at work.

Recognising burnout and if you are at risk are important first steps to working on having balance in your life, job satisfaction and career longevity.

Join Nicole de la Perrelle as she explores burnout through an OT lens and shares her experience of burnout along with strategies to prevent, manage and provide balance in one’s life.

Date: 23 April 2024 (Tuesday)
Time: 12:00pm | VIC, NSW, ACT, TAS,QLD | 11:30am | SA, NT | 10:00am | WA |
Click here to register - Early bird ends 9 April 2024

Practice Spotlight – Cellulitis….. What can an Occupational Therapist do?
Do you see people with red swollen legs and feel unsure about whether you can or should address this concern? This webinar is for you!

The webinar will overview the experience of cellulitis. Cellulitis is often considered a simple infection and is managed with antibiotics alone. However, rates of recurrent cellulitis are high indicating this approach requires review. Repeated episodes of cellulitis can lead to sustained disruption to occupational roles, and high financial cost and resource use for health care systems and individuals. Evidence review has identified an important role occupational therapists can play in reducing rates of cellulitis recurrence through education and provision of compression.

Join experienced occupational therapist, Amanda Pigott to explore this topic.

Date:30 May 2024 (Thursday)
Time: 12:00pm | VIC, NSW, ACT, TAS,QLD | 11:30am | SA, NT | 10:00am | WA |
Click here to register – Early bird ends 2 May 2024

Practice Spotlight – Getting started with generative AI: A beginner’s guide for OTs
Have you heard your colleagues, friends and family talk about artificial intelligence, AI, ChatGPT or generative AI and wondered how can I use this to support what I do as an OT but don't know where to start?

Join experienced occupational therapists Will Crowe and Jess Francis as they share with you the many ways generative AI can be used to enhance your practice both from an administrative and clinical perspective.

In this interactive workshop, you will be stepped through the process of getting started with generative AI including registering an account, inputting and refining your prompts / questions and objectively reviewing the outputs.

Date: 7 May 2024 (Tuesday)
Time: 12:30pm | VIC, NSW, ACT, TAS,QLD | 12:00pm | SA, NT | 10:30am | WA |
Click here to register – Early bird ends on or before 16 April 2024

Have added this section to policy section in OT Today, 26 March edition.

OTA hosted in collaboration with the Working with Older People Interest Group an Aged Care Member Update on 28th February 2024. Presented by Christina Wyatt, OTA's Aged Care Professional Practice Advisor, this session covered:

  • Key aged care reforms underway for residential and in-home care.
  • What the changes are likely to mean for occupational therapists.
  • Advocacy work that OTA are undertaking.

Head over to the page to watch the free member recording here.

 

Government and stakeholder engagement

Submissions, Consultations, and conferences: OTA regularly creates submissions and attends meetings/webinars in response to consultation opportunities – here is a list of our recent engagement:

  • Support at Home Assistive Technology and Home Modifications: OTA met with members of the AHPA Aged Care Working Group and Support at Home Implementation Team on Friday 15 December 2023 to discuss the vision for the AT/HM design and the process and underpinning principles. This meeting identified significant next steps required to support the development of this pathway in anticipation of the Support at Home phase one roll out in July 2025.
  • Update on Support at Home: OTA attended a webinar held by the Department on 14 December updating on the work underway in developing the new Aged Care Act and the Support at Home Program. Of significant note is the plan to delay the integration of CHSP services into the Support at Home Program until July 2027. Home Care Packages P and Short Term Restorative Care programs will be phased into the Support at Home Program in July 2025.
  • Quality Indicator for Allied Health consultation: Public consultation
    is now open on 3 new staffing quality indicators for the Expansion of the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicators Programs. The three proposed new indicators will cover Allied Health, Enrolled Nurses, and Lifestyle services. Health Consult has been appointed by the Department to consult on these new indicators and conducted a meeting with members of the AHPA Aged Care Working Group on Monday 15 January to consider the allied health indicator ahead of pilot testing scheduled for March 2024. A consultation paper has been released with written submissions being taken until 5 March 2024. Professional Practice Advisor in Aged Care Christina Wyatt was invited to participate in the Departments Technical Advisory Group for the development of the new quality indicators. The first meeting of this group was held on Monday 5 February 2024 and the next meeting has been scheduled for 7th March.
  • Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Advisory Council: A key recommendation of the Capability Review of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission was the need to review the membership of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Council to address skills deficits and increase diversity of representation. OTA Professional Practice Advisor in Aged Care Christina Wyatt was invited to put forward a nomination to participate in Council along with other Allied Health Peak representative bodies. Appointments are expected by April 2024.
  • National Aged Care Alliance: Christina Wyatt, Professional Practice Advisor in Aged Care attended the first National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) meeting for 2024 in Canberra on 15 and 16 February. The meeting covered several areas including work across the Strategic Priority Workforce and First Nations working groups and also discussed the Aged Care Act exposure draft. The alliance heard from the Interim First Nations Commissioner Ms Andrea Kelly and members of the Department of Health and Age Care including:
    • Deputy Secretary Michael Lye, First Assistant Secretary Thea Connolly on Support at Home reforms.
    • Julia Atkinson Acting Assistant Secretary, Home Care & Assessments Branch on the Single Assessment Workforce and the IAT assessment tool.
    • Caroline Peterson from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and Amy Laffan, First Assistant Secretary of Quality and Assurance on the revised Quality Standards and Star Ratings system.

    The next meeting is scheduled for 23-24 May 2024 in Melbourne.

  • Meeting with Senator Ruston: In early February the General Manager of Occupational Therapy Michelle Oliver and General Manager of Government and Stakeholder Relations Alissa Fotiades met with the Hon Senator Anne Ruston, Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, to discuss OTA’s concerns around the erosion of allied health in residential aged care, and shared some information gathered from our member surveys. OTA intends to continue to engage with the Senator on this matter.

OTA Aged Care Update
OTA will be hosting a free member only event on Wednesday 28th.

February from 6pm-7:30pm AEDT providing updates on the aged care system, reforms underway and the work OTA are doing in this space. Registration is open until 26/2. Click here to register and to present questions ahead of the event

Aged Care Act
An Exposure draft of the New Aged Care Act was released on December 14 2023 for public consultation. You can read the exposure draft here and understand more about the consultation process by clicking here. OTA is preparing a submission on the exposure draft and has engaged with AHPA, consumers, external stakeholders, and members from the aged care National Reference Group on this submission. Consultation closes on 8 March 2024.

Quality Standards Updates
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) have developed a range of videos to support people with the implementation of the revised Aged Care Quality Standards. The first video in the ‘Up to Standards’ series answers the most common questions about the timing of implementation and the Commission’s role.

To watch the video, click here.

The ACQSC have also released draft guidance resources for the new strengthened Quality Standards. They are currently open for public consultation until midday AEST 30 April 2024. OTA are currently reviewing the standards to consider a submission.

To read more about the guidance material consultation and to have your say click here.

To provide feedback or questions about the standards, please email agedcarereform@agedcarequality.gov.au

Endorsement of Psychotropic Medicines in Cognitive Disability or Impairment
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare invited OTA too endorse their final draft Psychotropic Medicines in Cognitive Disability or Impairment Clinical Care Standard following our involvement in their public consultation in May 2023 (click here
to see the submission).

OTA sought feedback from the Aged Care National Reference Group and have agreed to endorse the standards. The standards will be released shortly for public access.

Australian Falls Guidelines open for consultation.
Neuroscience research Australia (NEURA) have released draft Recommendations and Good Practice Points from the Australian Fall Prevention Guidelines, prepared for the Australian Commission on Quality and Safety in Health Care for consultation. The Guidelines cover Residential Aged Care, Community Care and Hospital settings.

The Recommendations and Good Practice Points along with three separate feedback surveys can be viewed here. Consultation closes on 10 March 2024.

National Allied Health Virtual Research Forum 2024
The Department of Health and Aged Care is hosting a National Allied Health Virtual Research Forum to draw links between allied health research and policy priorities. The half day event will be held virtually on Tuesday 30 April 2024 and provides an opportunity for government to learn about allied health research and evidence that can be readily adopted into policy.

To read more about the event and to register click here.

C-STAM - seeking participants for study
The Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) are seeking participants for their study of a new online assessment tool. The Computerised-Sydney Test of Activities of daily living in Memory disorders (C-STAM) is a computerised assessment measuring everyday functional ability in older people with and without dementia. They are seeking study participants who are:

  • aged 60 and over,
  • living in Sydney,
  • able to read,
  • write and understand English without an interpreter and
  • have a family member or close friend participate with them.

If you are aware of any people who may be eligible and interested in participating, or if you wish to find out more about the study and the tool, click here.

Research on Slips, trips and falls while using trams
Deakin University are conducting research to better understand nd address the risk of tris, slips and falls that passengers may encounter while using trams. They are inviting eligible individuals to participate in a 60-90 minute survey with possible follow up workshops. Participants would ideally be:

  • Parents of young children or whom have had young children;
  • People with lived experience of Disability; and
  • People of 65 years or over.

All participants will need to be 18 years and over, be able to provide informed consent, regularly use trams in Melbourne and be able to communicate in English.

If you are aware of any people who may be eligible and interested in participating, or if you wish to find out more about the study, email Professor Richard Tucker at home-sric@deakin.edu.au.

Resources on Voluntary Assisted Dying and End of Life Law
Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) is now legal in all states of Australia. To understand the laws that relate to your state click on the following links:

South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales
Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania
End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) have also developed a Free End of Life Law Toolkit for Allied Health Professionals.

To read more about VAD and to see the other resources available though ELDAC regarding end of life including capacity to consent, advanced care directives, withholding treatment and substitute decision making, click here.

Phone service to combat loneliness and social isolation for older people
G’day Line is a phone service aimed at supporting older Australians to combat loneliness or social isolation.

People aged 50 years of age or older and living in Australia can call the G’day Line to enjoy a friendly conversation with a volunteer. Those needing more support can be triaged to Grief Line or to a third party crisis support service.

To find out more about the service, click here.

Cultural diversity and inclusivity in aged care training
A free online training course has been released by the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing. This course offers three modules exploring topics such as culture, cross-cultural communication and diversity and inclusion in aged care.

To find out more about the course, click here.

CPD
Environmental Home Modifications - The Basics
This two day workshop provides foundation skills in environmental modifications. It presents the participant with practical tasks for completion and provides them with skills in measurement, design and a client centred approach to home modifications.

Date: 15-16 March
Location: Rydges Sydney Central Hotel
Presenter: Sandi Lightfoot-Collins
Area of Practice: Older Adult Care, Rehab, Disability, NDIS

Click here to register.

Complex Home Modifications
This one-day workshop for Occupational Therapists will focus on a practical understanding of the National Construction Code and its application to housing. It will explore the concepts of reasonable and necessary and documentation for complex and challenging modifications.

This workshop will cover:

  • Legislative requirements for design- the principles
  • Reasonable and necessary design requirements
  • Conceptual design and diagrammatical representation
  • Documentation principles for advanced and complex design

Date: 23 March
Location: Rydges Sydney Central Hotel
Presenter: Sandi Lightfoot-Collins
Area of Practice: Older Adult Care, Rehab, Disability, NDIS

Click here to register.

Introduction to Oedema Management
This practical, hands-on workshop will provide you with an understanding of the aetiology, assessment, treatment, and management of oedema by OTs incorporating the use of case studies.

Date: 24-25 May
Location: Mantra South Bank Brisbane
Presenters: Dr Amanda Pigott
Area of Practice: Disability, Rehab, NDIS, Older Adult Care

Click here to register – Early bird closes on 21 April

Care of People with Dementia in Their Environment “COPE” Program
This interactive training introduces attendees to the Care Of People with Dementia in their Environments (COPE) program developed by Professor Laura Gitlin and her team in the US. and provides attendees with the skills and knowledge required to adopt and implement COPE in their workplace.

The workshop covers: comprehensive assessments; client directed problem solving strategies; how to use communication, activity simplification and environmental modifications to enhance people with dementia's daily function and prevent and manage changed behaviours.

All participants will receive: a training workbook; 'The Caregivers Guide to Dementia', an invitation to participate in three telephone coaching calls and the COPE online community of practice facilitated by COPE Master trainers.

Date: 20-21 May
Presenter: Sally Day & Kate Laver
Area of Practice: Older Adult Care, Rehab, Disability

Click here to register – Early bird closes on 15 April

Palliative Care Learning & Development Modules
Developed by OTs for OTs, OTA is offering an evidence-based three-part online learning resource designed to increase the knowledge and skills of OTs working in palliative care. This self-directed eLearning resource provides an excellent foundation for OTs working within the palliative care setting to build and consolidate their discipline-specific knowledge, skills and experience.

Click here to learn more and enrol in the learning and development program.

Assessing and treating arthritis in the upper limb
This webinar will provide you with basic assessment and treatment techniques, in addition to a review of upper limb anatomy and how changes occur due to OA. This course will assist you to understand the various treatment options available to patients presenting with arthritic changes of the upper limb as well as give you an understanding of when to refer the patient on.

Click here to register.

Sensory Approaches in OT Clinical Practice
This webinar outlines the theory and provides practical strategies essential to integrate sensory approaches into OT service delivery. It supports the growth of skills in developing a sensory lens, enabling OTs to apply the concepts and strategies to any number of occupational roles and functions, to promote functional gains and independence for consumers.

Click here to register.

Government and stakeholder engagement

Submissions, Consultations, and conferences: OTA regularly creates submissions and attends meetings/webinars in response to consultation opportunities – here is a list of our recent engagement:

  • National Aged Care Alliance (NACA): OTA Professional Practice Advisor for Aged Care Christina Wyatt attended the National Aged Care Alliance in Adelaide on 16 and 17 November 2024. The meeting heard from a range of speakers including representatives from the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and Older people about the challenges they are facing in receiving aged care services. Nigel Ray, Deputy Chair of the Aged Care taskforce provided an update on the work being undertaken on aged care funding sustainability. Ian Yates, Acting Inspector General for Aged Care spoke on the results of his recently released report detailing the work to date on the achievement of the Royal Commission recommendations and some insights into the possible areas that will form the first workplan due in mid-December.

The attendees also heard from senior staff from the Department of Health and Aged Care and Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission with updates on key reform projects including Support at Home, Quality Standards, care minutes and the Draft Design Principles and Guidelines for Residential Aged Care Accommodation Framework. Delegates held important discussions across the four key strategic working groups on actions for 2024, along with a conversation regarding housing and its impacts on the aged care workforce and older Australians with the release of the National Housing and Homelessness Issues Paper.

The next meeting is scheduled for mid-February 2024 where it is expected that the Aged Care Minister, The Hon Annika Wells MP will be attending.

  • National Aged and Community Care Provider (ACCPA) Conference: On 25-27 October, OTA’s Professional Practice Advisor, Christina Wyatt and Senior Policy & Advocacy Advisor, Debra Parnell attended the Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) National Conference in Adelaide. This year’s conference theme was ‘The Age of Change’, which encapsulates advancements in technology, society, and culture, as well as the possibilities and challenges of this era in aged care. Delegates heard from a range of speakers including Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells and Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Anne Ruston.
  • Victorian HealthCare Week Conference: Senior Policy and Advocacy Advisor Debra Parnell and Aged Care Professional Practice Advisor Christina Wyatt attended the Victoria Healthcare week conference held over 18 and 19 October. With a focus on the Aged Care Transformation stream, they heard from a range of speakers discussing models of integrated care for people in villages and residential care facilities, received an update from Nick Hartland, First Assistant Secretary of Home and Residential Care on the progress of AN-ACC and Support at Home reforms, and learnt about new innovative approaches through small home facilities offering complimentary onsite healthcare clinics and well-being facilities.
  • New Aged Care Data and Digital Strategy: A draft Aged Care Data and Digital Strategy has been released by the Department for public consultation and feedback. The strategy will address the data and digital technologies needed to improve the care and wellbeing of older people and foster data and digital innovation.

The draft strategy mentions allied health in four key areas:

  • access to e-referrals within the aged care system that only medical professionals can currently use
  • ability to upload care summaries to My Health Record (MHR)
  • easier access to data for aged care providers to inform when allied health services are required
  • ensuring allied health are part of the seamless flow of information

OTAs Aged Care Professional Practice Advisor Christina Wyatt attended as a representative of AHPA, and a further AHPA representative attended the Aged Care Digital Advisory Group with the Australia Digital Health Agency (ADHA). This forum offers the opportunity to understand the various digital and data initiatives being developed across both the ADHA and the Department.

The draft strategy was introduced in the most recent meeting held on Wednesday 15 November where attendees were able to seek clarification on points involving the investigation of both clinician and consumer experience of using My Aged Care and My Health Record portals and details around what information clinicians can expect to share with the integration of My Health Record and My Aged Care systems.

In addition to this ongoing engagement, OTA also attended a meeting with Nous Group (consultancy running the strategy consultation) and Mike Herbert of the Department to discuss nuances of the strategies and requirements of allied health in relation to Aged Care and how all this fits into the broader digital ecosystems that are being developed and implemented by both the ADHA and the Government. AHPA and Speech Pathology Australia representatives also attended. A summary of key issues has been created by AHPA members for Mike Herbet and the Nous Group to consider in the development of the My Aged Care portal for the new Support at Home Program.

New Returns Policy for Geat2Go

Indigo, the Commonwealth Home Support Program’s GEAT2Go provider, has issued a new returns policy. All assessors and prescribers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the policy and ensure that all returns have received prior approval from Indigo.

You can read a copy of the Goods, Equipment and Assistive Technology Returns policy here.

Inspector General Progress Report: Implementation of the Recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

In July, the then Interim Inspector General of Aged Care Ian Yates, handed down a report to the Aged Care Minister the Hon Annika Wells summarising the implementation status of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. This report was made public in October.

The report recognised the valuable role of allied health in residential aged care for preventative and restorative approaches and to improve quality of life. It acknowledged there had been much work towards the achievement of the recommendations made in the Royal Commission, action was lacking regarding recommendations related to allied health with a notable lack of reference to allied health across sector wide reforms. The report highlighted concerns around the unintended consequences being faced by allied health professionals in residential aged care acknoweldging that many of the issues are attributable to both government and providers. It called for the Government to outline their intentions regarding the implementation of recommendations relating to allied health.

To read the full report, click here.

Research areas in Residential Aged Care

The National Centre for Healthy Ageing Residential Aged Care Research Network (RACReN), wants to hear what you think are the most important areas to research in residential aged care.

In late 2022, 81 people representing a range of stakeholders completed Round 1 of the survey (download results summary - PDF, 234 KB), ranking the importance of 93 different research topics for residential aged care. They agreed that 32 of these research topics were very or extremely important to research in residential aged care.

This survey asks you to vote on these 32 research topics to identify a short list of the 10 most critical items for residential aged care research.

This information will be shared with aged care researchers to make sure they are researching what matters most to everyone involved in residential aged care.

We want to hear from you if you:

  • have a family member or friend that is living, or has lived, in a residential aged care home;
  • live in a residential aged care home; OR
  • work in or with a residential aged care home - this includes PCAs, nurses, cleaners, cooks, and visiting allied health and primary care clinicians

Participation involves completing 1-2 short surveys (10-20 minutes) over the next year.

Participants go into the draw to win one of 10 x $100 eGift Cards for Surveys 2 and 3.

To learn more and to fill out the survey click here. For more information or support to complete the survey, please contact ncha.racren@monash.edu or the RACReN team on (03) 9904 4822.

New resources on palliative care entry

The process for palliative care entry to residential aged care recently changed. From 1 October 2023 approved providers have 14 days from the date of a resident’s permanent (non-respite) entry into residential aged care to:

  • ensure the resident has undergone a medical assessment by an independent medical or nurse practitioner confirming their palliative care status
  • submit the Palliative Care Status Form.

Providers must notify Services Australia of a resident’s entry for palliative care within 28 days of the resident’s entry to the service.

To fulfill the notification requirement, providers should complete the Aged Care Entry Record in the Services Australia Aged Care Provider Portal.

For more information see:

Individuals and their carers or family members can find more information and resources about palliative care by visiting our Palliative Care webpages.

New online application for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme

Applications for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS), available to those who experience permanent and severe incontinence to cover some of the costs of continence products, can now be made online.

The new online application is available through myGov or in the Express Plus Medicare mobile app. If someone else is applying on a person’s behalf, their representative must use the paper form, which can be download here.

To learn more about CAPS and the new online application click here.

New education opportunities in Dementia and Ageing

Dementia Australia has launched four new Leadership and Practice Change education programs to build leadership skills within the aged and community care sectors. The courses, funded by the Australian Government and delivered by Dementia Training Australia covers a range of topics including:

  • the 10993NAT Certificate IV in Dementia Practice
  • Demonstrating Dementia Leadership
  • Leading Quality Dementia Care
  • Community of Practice

For more information about the these Dementia Australia training opportunities click here.

The University of Tasmania’s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre will be delivering a new course in 2024 - the Diploma of Ageing Studies and Services. The course is the only undergraduate diploma within Australia focusing on ageing studies and services. It will be delivered fully online, can be completed both full time and part time, and will cover contemporary issues relating to care and services for older people including the many social and health challenges that are associated with ageing.

To find out more about the new course click here.

Support at Home and Aged Care Act update

The Department of Health and Aged Care will be hosting a webinar on Thursday 14 December to provide updates on:

  • the development of the new Aged Care Act
  • a new model for regulating aged care
  • the strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards
  • in-home aged care reforms, including the new Support at Home program.

It will also include a live question-and-answer session.

To register, click here.

OTA Aged Care CPD opportunities

Introduction to Oedema Management

This practical, hands-on workshop will provide you with an understanding of the aetiology, assessment, treatment, and management of oedema by OTs incorporating the use of case studies.

Date: 23-24 February
Location: The Savoy Hotel, Melbourne
Presenters: Dr Amanda Pigott
Area of Practice: Disability, Rehab, NDIS, Older Adult Care
Click here to register – Early bird closes 22 January

Palliative Care Learning & Development Modules

Developed by OTs for OTs, OTA is offering an evidence-based three-part online learning resource designed to increase the knowledge and skills of OTs working in palliative care. This self-directed eLearning resource provides an excellent foundation for OTs working within the palliative care setting to build and consolidate their discipline-specific knowledge, skills and experience.

Click here to learn more and enrol in the learning and development program.

Assessing and treating arthritis in the upper limb
This webinar will provide you with basic assessment and treatment techniques, in addition to a review of upper limb anatomy and how changes occur due to OA. This course will assist you to understand the various treatment options available to patients presenting with arthritic changes of the upper limb as well as give you an understanding of when to refer the patient on.

Click here to register during November and save 30%!

Sensory Approaches in OT Clinical Practice

This webinar outlines the theory and provides practical strategies essential to integrate sensory approaches into OT service delivery. It supports the growth of skills in developing a sensory lens, enabling OTs to apply the concepts and strategies to any number of occupational roles and functions, to promote functional gains and independence for consumers.

Click here to register

Government and stakeholder engagement

Submissions and Consultations: OTA regularly creates submissions and attends meetings/webinars in response to consultation opportunities – here is a list of our recent engagement:

  • Aged Care Taskforce Roundtable: OTA were invited to attend a roundtable with the Aged Care Taskforce on 26 September. OTA were joined by representatives from AHPA, Australian Physiotherapy Association and Speech Pathology Australia. OTA were able to share details around the valuable role of OTs in aged care, the preventative and restorative approaches that OTs can support and the benefits these can have on an older person’s ageing journey.

Survey on the effects of aged care reform on allied health in residential aged care - one year on

Over the last 12 months OTA, in collaboration with AHPA and other allied health professional peak bodies, have been gathering data about the consequences of aged care reforms on the provision of allied health services and clinical outcomes in residential aged care. This data has been crucial in lobbying and advocacy with government and aged care providers, and in communicating with consumers of residential aged care services.

Thank you to all those who participated in our latest survey that closed on the 13 October 2023. Our latest results show ongoing reduction to the OT workforce and clinical hours across residential aged care. There are also ongoing reduction to individual treatment sessions with a preference towards group sessions leading to reduced consumer outcomes and new concerns around the use of other personnel to deliver allied health clinical services.

OTA will work with AHPA and other allied health peaks to use this valuable data to build key messaging and advocacy materials to continue to highlight the impacts of residential aged care reforms on access to allied health, delivery of quality care and clinical outcomes.

New Dementia apps

Two new apps have been developed by the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) at the University of New South Wales to assist clinicians and carers supporting people with dementia experiencing changes in behaviour. The apps are:

Clinician’s BPSD Guide: App for clinicians, residential care, community care and acute care staff.

CareForDementia: App for carers, families, care partners and care workers.

These free apps offer practice-based, person-centred care principles, based on extensive evidence and support clinicians and carers by outlining practical strategies, interventions, and example scenarios.

Both apps are available for free download from App stores.

To find out more about these apps and complementary resources and information for people living with dementia, click here.

Volunteer scheme – referrals now open

The Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme involves volunteers visiting older people to provide friendship and companionship to people receiving residential aged care or home care package funding.

Referrals can be made by anyone including the older person.

To find out more about the scheme click here, for FAQs about the program click here
or to make an online referral, click here.

Understanding reform awareness and readiness - Sector Pulse survey

The Aged Care Communication and Change Branch of the Department of Health and Aged Care have released their third Sector Pulse survey gauging awareness of upcoming reforms and readiness for change. The survey is also wanting to gather views on how they can better support people to receive information about the reforms and how the reforms are impacting them.

The survey takes 10 minutes and is open until 31 October 2023. To complete the survey, click here.

Study to develop new dementia rehabilitation e-learning modules

Monash University, with funding from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) are looking for health professionals working with people living with dementia to help them in the development of dementia rehabilitation e-modules. The INCLUDE project is an education project for health professionals aiming to reduce stigma associated with dementia, increase knowledge in dementia and dementia rehabilitation, and to promote access to rehabilitation for people with dementia. They are seeking health professionals working in Eastern Melbourne or Southeastern Melbourne Primary Health Network areas with community dwelling older people. Eligible participants would participate in dementia rehabilitation e-module and community of practice and provide feedback via online studies over a 12 month period commencing January 2024.

To find out more about the project and register your interest, please contact Dr Angel Lee by 31 December 2023 via email: angel.lee@monash.edu

OTA Aged Care CPD opportunities

Environmental Home Modifications - The Basics

This two day workshop provides foundation skills in environmental modifications. It presents the participant with practical tasks for completion and provides them with skills in measurement, design and a client centred approach to home modifications.

Date: 10-11 November
Location: Rydges Sydney Central, NSW
Presenters: Sandi Lightfoot-Collins
Area of Practice: Disability, Rehab, NDIS, Older Adult Care

Click here to register.

Complex Home Modifications

This one-day workshop for Occupational Therapists will focus on a practical understanding of the National Construction Code and its application to housing. It will explore the concepts of reasonable and necessary and documentation for complex and challenging modifications.

This workshop will cover:

  • Legislative requirements for design- the principles
  • Reasonable and necessary design requirements
  • Conceptual design and diagrammatical representation
  • Documentation principles for advanced and complex design

Date: 28 October and 25 November
Location: Rydges Sydney Central, NSW
Presenters: Sandi-Lightfoot Collins
Area of Practice: Disability, Rehab, NDIS, Older Adult Care
Click here to register

Introduction to Oedema Management

This practical, hands-on workshop will provide you with an understanding of the aetiology, assessment, treatment, and management of oedema by OTs incorporating the use of case studies.

Date: 23-24 November (date change from October)
Location: Mantra South Bank, Brisbane
Presenters: Dr Amanda Pigott
Area of Practice: Disability, Rehab, NDIS, Older Adult Care
Click here to register

Palliative Care Learning & Development Modules

Developed by OTs for OTs, OTA is offering an evidence-based three-part online learning resource designed to increase the knowledge and skills of OTs working in palliative care. This self-directed eLearning resource provides an excellent foundation for OTs working within the palliative care setting to build and consolidate their discipline-specific knowledge, skills and experience.

Click here to learn more and enrol in the learning and development program.

Assessing and treating arthritis in the upper limb
This webinar will provide you with basic assessment and treatment techniques, in addition to a review of upper limb anatomy and how changes occur due to OA. This course will assist you to understand the various treatment options available to patients presenting with arthritic changes of the upper limb as well as give you an understanding of when to refer the patient on.

Click here to register.

Sensory Approaches in OT Clinical Practice

This webinar outlines the theory and provides practical strategies essential to integrate sensory approaches into OT service delivery. It supports the growth of skills in developing a sensory lens, enabling OTs to apply the concepts and strategies to any number of occupational roles and functions, to promote functional gains and independence for consumers.

Click here to register

National Working with Older People (Aged Care) Special Interest Group

This is a group to:

  • provide opportunities for occupational therapists working with older people across all settings to connect, learn and share resources, as well as support each other.
  • advocate for the occupational therapy role and better outcomes for older people.
  • bring together OTs for joint learning opportunities (presentations, service information, journal club, discussions on complex issues).
  • network and meet others in the field.

This is a free, member only session. To join, update your preferences here
before registering. Registrations close Monday 30 October 2023 11.55pm AEDT.

Date:

1 November 2023

Location:

Online Zoom Webinar Platform

Time:

NSW, ACT, VIC,TAS: 6pm - 7pm

SA: 5.30pm - 6.30pm

QLD: 5pm - 6pm

NT: 4.30pm - 5.30pm

WA: 3pm - 4pm

Government and stakeholder engagement

Submissions and Consultations: OTA regularly creates submissions and attends meetings/webinars in response to consultation opportunities – here is a list of our recent engagement:

  • Meeting with Department of Health and Aged Care: OTA staff met with Deputy Secretary Michael Lye and First Assistant Secretary Thea Connolly on Monday 18 September. Several matters were discussed including references to occupational therapy in aged care reform publications and across key reform projects, reporting of OT minutes in residential aged care in the quarterly financial reports and a need for a renewed focus on the value of occupational therapy in aged care. OTA continues to meet with the Department to consider these matters and we will update you again.
  • Aged Care Taskforce: To support the work of the Aged Care Taskforce OTA provided a submission on draft aged care funding principles that will underpin their recommendations, due at the end of the year. Download a copy of the submission (PDF).
  • Foundations of the new Aged Care Act – the Department recently opened consultation on the proposed foundations of the new Aged Care Act (new Act). Read about the consultation. OTA contributed to a joint submission created by AHPA highlighting the need to define quality care, ensure that older people receive the same level of funding and access to care that others receive through commonwealth funded schemes, and eligibility criteria supports early intervention services.

Survey on the effects of aged care reform on allied health in residential aged care - 1 year on
From the introduction of AN-ACC tool in October 2022 concerns have been raised of reducing allied health services in residential aged care. Over the last 12 months OTA, in collaboration with AHPA and other allied health professional peak bodies, have been gathering data about the consequences of aged care reforms on the provision of allied health services and clinical outcomes in residential aged care. This data has been crucial in lobbying and advocacy with government and aged care providers, and in communicating with consumers of residential aged care services.

Evidence for our claims is extremely important which is why we have prepared this survey again to capture data at the 12-month anniversary point. Case studies will be particularly useful in increasing our understanding of the impacts this reform has had on allied health in residential aged care and in building evidence for our communications to government, aged care providers and consumers, so please include as much detail as you can, with a focus on impact on client outcomes.

The survey is open until 13 October and is applicable to all occupational therapists working in residential aged care. We encourage you to share this link as widely as possible across your networks.

AHPA AN-ACC Survey September 2023.

Home Care Packages Program inclusions and exclusions
Earlier this year The Department updated the Home Care Package provider manual and hosted a webinar for HCP providers on 4 April to explain what is included and excluded under the HCP Program. View the webinar recording and slides on the Department’s website.

Following the webinar, the Department developed some FAQs to address common questions related to the delivery of services through the HCP program. View the most current version of the HCP Program Operational manual: A guide for home car providers (PDF).

Aged care learning packages
The Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, University of Tasmania, have been commissioned by the Department of Health and Aged Care to develop the Equip Aged Care Learning Packages. These packages consist of 14 modules designed for carers, personal care workers, nurses, allied health professionals and volunteers working in the aged care sector.

The modules cover aged care related topics, including:

  • the Australian Aged Care System
  • exploring the role of Nurses, Personal Care Workers and Allied Health
  • professionals working in aged care
  • the Aged Care Quality Standards
  • supporting people living with dementia
  • palliative and end-of-life care
  • person-centred care
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness
  • trauma-informed care
  • promoting mental health and wellbeing
  • cross cultural awareness
  • oral health promotion
  • prevention of falls
  • wound management and pressure injury prevention
  • hearing health

Each module takes around 10 minutes to complete and can be accessed from a phone, tablet, or computer. A free, downloadable certificate of completion is available for each module, with an additional certificate available on completion of all modules.

More information on the Equip Aged Care Learning Packages

Draft National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines
Following consultations starting in December 2021, the National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines have been released. OTA provided a submission in response to draft residential accommodation design standards released by the Department of Health and 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.

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 those that enable continued engagement in activities of interest, dementia inclusive design, and design that supports diverse cultures and identities.

Read a copy of our submission (PDF).

In November 2022, OTA were invited to discuss elements of the proposed residential aged care design guidelines further at a meeting with the University of Wollongong and members of the Department of Health and Aged Care. OTA emphasised the need for occupationally engaging and stimulating environments, the need to better integrate technology and equipment into the built environs to better tailor care needs and enable participation, and the role of occupational therapists in supporting this.

You can access a copy of the draft design principles and guidelines and provide feedback by 20 October.

Aged Care Allied Health Scholarships
The Australian College of Nursing are offering a range of Aged Care Scholarships for allied health professionals to fund postgraduate qualifications including Graduate certificates, Graduate diplomas and master’s degrees. Up to 100 allied health scholarships per year for up to three years are available offering training for Dementia specific qualifications relating to the care of older people. A dedicated scholarship scheme is also available to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students undertaking an undergraduate course in an eligible health related discipline.

Applications are now open and close on 11:59pm AEST, Tuesday 10 October 2023.

Find out more about the Aged Care Allied Health Scholarships.

National free suicide training program
Anglicare has established a national free suicide training program called Suicide Prevention for Seniors. The program aims to equip those working with older people to recognise the signs of suicidality, have conversations with empathy, ask questions to ascertain the level of risk and assist the person to seek professional support.

This program is particularly important given reports from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that men aged 85 and over have suicide rates more than three times the average rate, the highest rate of suicide in the country.

This free online program is funded by the New South Wales and federal governments.

OTA Aged Care CPD opportunities

Empowering Mobility – Powered Mobility Device Assessment and Training Tool
The use of powered mobility devices can positively impact on a person’s quality of life and individual’s ability to participate in community-based tasks of his / her choosing. Effective use of powered mobility devices occurs when assessment, prescription and training is thorough and focuses on enhancing skill development. PoMoDATT is a tool to guide assessment and training of device users.

This workshop provides practical components exploring the features of powered mobility devices and using a standardised assessment.

Date: 6 October
Location: Abbotsford Convent - Melbourne
Presenter: Kathryn Townsend
Area of Practice: Assistive Technology, Disability, Rehabilitation
Register for Empowering Mobility – Powered Mobility Device Assessment and Training Tool.

Introduction to Seating & Wheelchair Prescription
This workshop provides understanding on the importance of assessment process and the importance of conducting a thorough postural assessment. Participants will learn how to assess risk for skin breakdown, how to manage this risks and how to translate assessment findings into prescription of equipment.

This workshop also provides an overview of different types of wheeled mobility and different 'off the shelf' postural aids. Participants will also learn how to exercise clinical reasoning throughout the prescription process.

Date: 9-10 October
Location: Mantra South Bank, Brisbane
Presenter: David Quach
Area of Practice: Assistive Technology, Disability, Rehab, Older Adult Care
Register for Introduction to Seating & Wheelchair Prescription.

Environmental Home Modifications - The Basics
This two day workshop provides foundation skills in environmental modifications. It presents the participant with practical tasks for completion and provides them with skills in measurement, design and a client centred approach to home modifications.

Date: 13-14 October
Location: Rydges Sydney Central, NSW
Presenters: Sandi Lightfoot-Collins
Area of Practice: Disability, Rehab, NDIS, Older Adult Care
Register for Environmental Home Modifications - The Basics.

Complex Home Modifications
This one-day workshop for Occupational Therapists will focus on a practical understanding of the National Construction Code and its application to housing. It will explore the concepts of reasonable and necessary and documentation for complex and challenging modifications.

This workshop will cover:

  • Legislative requirements for design- the principles
  • Reasonable and necessary design requirements
  • Conceptual design and diagrammatical representation
  • Documentation principles for advanced and complex design

Date: 28 October
Location: Rydges Sydney Central, NSW
Presenters: Sandi-Lightfoot Collins
Area of Practice: Disability, Rehab, NDIS, Older Adult Care
Register for Complex Home Modifications.

Introduction to Oedema Management
This practical, hands-on workshop will provide you with an understanding of the aetiology, assessment, treatment, and management of oedema by OTs incorporating the use of case studies.

Date: 27-28 October
Location: Mantra South Bank, Brisbane
Presenters: Dr Amanda Pigott
Area of Practice: Disability, Rehab, NDIS, Older Adult Care
Register for Introduction to Oedema Management - Early bird closes 30 September

Palliative Care Learning & Development Modules
Developed by OTs for OTs, OTA is offering an evidence-based three-part online learning resource designed to increase the knowledge and skills of OTs working in palliative care. This self-directed eLearning resource provides an excellent foundation for OTs working within the palliative care setting to build and consolidate their discipline-specific knowledge, skills and experience.

Learn more and enrol in the Palliative Care Learning & Development Modules.

Assessing and treating arthritis in the upper limb
This webinar will provide you with basic assessment and treatment techniques, in addition to a review of upper limb anatomy and how changes occur due to OA. This course will assist you to understand the various treatment options available to patients presenting with arthritic changes of the upper limb as well as give you an understanding of when to refer the patient on.

Register for Assessing and treating arthritis in the upper limb.

Sensory Approaches in OT Clinical Practice
This webinar outlines the theory and provides practical strategies essential to integrate sensory approaches into OT service delivery. It supports the growth of skills in developing a sensory lens, enabling OTs to apply the concepts and strategies to any number of occupational roles and functions, to promote functional gains and independence for consumers.

Register for Sensory Approaches in OT Clinical Practice.

Government and stakeholder engagement

Submissions and Consultations: OTA regularly creates submissions and attends meetings/webinars in response to consultation opportunities – here is a list of our recent engagement:

  • Aged Care Clinical Information Systems Standards
    – OTA attended a consultation with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) to contribute to the quality statements they are currently forming. The standards outline the expectations of client information systems across aged care. This consultation was the first step of standard development with a focus on building high level statements that are worded broadly enough to facilitate inclusion of allied health information in the future development work. OTA will continue to support this work with ADHA planning to release a set of draft standards for feedback.
  • Aged and Community Care Summit – OTA attended the Aged and Community Care Summit hosted by Council on the Ageing on 19th and 20th July. OTA heard from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson on the actions being taken within the commission to build trust and confidence in the sector, Department of Health and Aged Care Deputy Secretary Michael Lye on the aged care reform journey, Inspector General of Aged Care Ian Yates AM on the role of the Inspector General in monitoring and driving improvement across the aged care system and Professor Michael Pervan from the Independent Hospital and Aged Care Pricing Authority on the process undertaken to determine home care pricing. OTA were able to direct questions to Mr Lye on diminishing allied health minutes across residential aged are and have written a follow up letter highlighting the lack of reference to occupational therapists and allied health professionals in recent Dept publications on workforce and dementia care.
  • GEAT2Go pricing: - OTA have been investigating some recent changes to the pricing of assistive technology and the collection of fees through GEAT2Go. Earlier this year members shared concerns with us regarding the price of commonly prescribed assistive technology and expressed confusion around assembly and administration fees. OTA presented these issues in writing to the Assistant Secretary of Home Support Operations within the Department of Health. OTA recently met with representatives from Indigo to discuss these matters and consider possible solutions. Indigo have committed to developing communications with the Department explaining these pricing and fee changes to avoid further confusion or frustration. OTA encourage members to continue to provide feedback about GEAT2Go directly to Indigo. OTA are also happy to receive feedback on the program and will share communications or further updates with the membership as it comes to light.
  • Foundations of the new Aged Care Act – Consultation on the proposed foundations of the new Aged Care Act (new Act) is now open. OTA attended a webinar held by the Department where they explained the proposed changes and addressed questions. OTA will be working with AHPA on a joint response. You can read the consultation paper by clicking here.
  • Aged Care Taskforce: The Aged Care Taskforce have been appointed by the Hon Aged Care Minister Anika Wells to consider funding arrangements for a sustainable and equitable aged care system. The Taskforce are currently seeking feedback on draft aged care funding principles that will underpin their recommendations, due at the end of the year. OTA is reviewing the principles and consultation questions and will be submitting a response due 31st August.
  • National Aged Care Alliance - OTA attended a meeting of the National Aged Care Alliance on 17 and 18 August in Canberra. Professional Practice Advisor for Aged Care Christina Wyatt and Principal Policy Advisor Julia Collin heard from a range of senior leaders from across the federal government, including Nigel Ray, Deputy Chair of the Aged Care taskforce, Ian Yates, Interim Inspector General for Aged Care, and senior staff from the Department of Health and Aged Care, with updates across a range of aged care reforms, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission about aged care standards, and the Department of Home Affairs regarding skilled visas. NACA was a great opportunity to connect with many key stakeholders in the aged care sector, with significant discussions on the draft Aged Care Funding Principles from the Aged Care Taskforce and the Aged Care Act consultation paper.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Capability Review

On Friday 21st July The Hon Minister Wells released
the Aged Care Quality and Safety Capability Review report conducted by Mr David Tune AO PSM. In the report, Mr Tune outlines his recommendations on how the Commission’s capability can be improved and provides actions to strengthen its regulation of the aged care sector. AHPA have recently released a news
item summarising the report.

The review report took into consideration feedback received during the consultation period from a range of stakeholders across the sector. OTA, in collaboration with AHPA, provided feedback
during this consultation period. Mr Tune acknowledges a key issue raised in previous submissions by OTA and AHPA on the use of Quality Standards to measure allied health service provision and the “risk of consumers being left with unmet needs even while providers may be found to have met the Standards” (pg 62).

OTA continue to raise our concerns around the lack of adequate measures within the aged care system to ensure client centred and high quality allied health services are being funded for and provided across the sector.

Free translation service for aged care providers

The Department of Health have a free translation service to support the delivery of information to older Australians in their preferred language. The service is designed to assist the creation of written materials related to aged care through translation of existing materials or production of new materials. The service also supports the development of communications for older people from First Nations, Deaf, blind, deafblind or heard of hearing.

To understand more about this service, the eligibility criteria and the steps involved, visit the website by clicking here. You can also call 1800 271 034.

Updated Sector Code for Visiting in Aged Care Homes

12 aged care consumer and provider organisations have developed an updated version of the Sector Code for Visiting in Aged Care Homes Version 7.2 (the Code). The Code outlines a nationally consistent approach that enables residents to receive visitors while minimising the risk of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. It provides clear guidance where directions from local state or territory public health authorities are not available.

Click here
to find out more about the Code.

OTA Aged Care CPD opportunities

Empowering Mobility – Powered Mobility Device Assessment and Training Tool

The use of powered mobility devices can positively impact on a person’s quality of life and individual’s ability to participate in community-based tasks of his / her choosing. Effective use of powered mobility devices occurs when assessment, prescription and training is thorough and focuses on enhancing skill development. PoMoDATT is a tool to guide assessment and training of device users.

This workshop provides practical components exploring the features of powered mobility devices and using a standardised assessment.

Date: 6 October
Location: Venue TBA - Melbourne
Presenter: Kathryn Townsend
Area of Practice: Assistive Technology, Disability, Rehabilitation
Click here to register - Early bird closes 31 August

Sensory Approaches in OT Clinical Practice

This webinar outlines the theory and provides practical strategies essential to integrate sensory approaches into OT service delivery. It supports the growth of skills in developing a sensory lens, enabling OTs to apply the concepts and strategies to any number of occupational roles and functions, to promote functional gains and independence for consumers.

Click here to register during August and save 30%!

Care of People with Dementia in Their Environment “COPE” Program

This interactive training introduces attendees to the Care Of People with Dementia in their Environments (COPE) program developed by Professor Laura Gitlin and her team in the US. and provides attendees with the skills and knowledge required to adopt and implement COPE in their workplace.

The workshop covers: comprehensive assessments; client directed problem solving strategies; how to use communication, activity simplification and environmental modifications to enhance people with dementia's daily function and prevent and manage changed behaviours.

All participants will receive: a training workbook; 'The Caregivers Guide to Dementia', an invitation to participate in three telephone coaching calls and the COPE online community of practice facilitated by COPE Master trainers.

Date: 20-21 September
Presenter: Sally Day & Kate Laver
Area of Practice: Mental Health, Rehab, Neurological Conditions

Click here to register.

Assessment Strategies for Wheelchairs in the Community

This session provides valuable information to participants newer to the assessment, prescription and funding processes of seating and wheelchair prescription - or those wishing to have a bit of a new look at seating evaluation. Designed with NDIS in mind, every attendee will learn the skills necessary to effectively troubleshoot existing seating systems and wheelchair and assess clients for postural intervention.

Date: 5 October, 12-1:30pm AEDT
Presenter: Amy Bjornson
Area of Practice: Disability, Rehabilitation, Older Adult Care
Click here to register - Early bird closes 21 September

Palliative Care Learning & Development Modules

Developed by OTs for OTs, OTA is offering an evidence-based three-part online learning resource designed to increase the knowledge and skills of OTs working in palliative care. This self-directed eLearning resource provides an excellent foundation for OTs working within the palliative care setting to build and consolidate their discipline-specific knowledge, skills and experience.

Click here to learn more and enroll in the learning and development program.

Assessing and treating arthritis in the upper limb
This webinar will provide you with basic assessment and treatment techniques, in addition to a review of upper limb anatomy and how changes occur due to OA. This course will assist you to understand the various treatment options available to patients presenting with arthritic changes of the upper limb as well as give you an understanding of when to refer the patient on.

Click here to register.

Government and stakeholder engagement Submissions and Consultations: OTA regularly creates submissions and attends meetings/webinars in response to consultation opportunities – here is a list of our recent engagement:

  • A new model for regulating Aged Care
    – the department released Consultation Paper No.2 on the
    26th April following the release of their concept paper in February 2022 and Consultation Paper 1 in September 2022. AHPA, in conjunction with OTA, presented a submission in response to the paper outlining key recommendations that address concerns around over-regulation, delivery of quality care and sector harmonisation. To find out more about the proposed model, click here.
  • Inspector General Implementation Report on Royal Commission Recommendations – OTA were invited, as a member of AHPA, to contribute to a report on the implementation of recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. The lack of action pertaining to allied health recommendations were highlighted with a call for priority attention.
  • Digital transformation Tech Talk - OTA attended the last webinar held on 31 May 2023 where the Department outlined the digital projects supporting the mandatory Quality Indicators program and Support at Home program and provided insights into the work underway to improve patient transfer information exchange by the Australian Digital Health Agency. For a copy of the webinar recording and the presentation deck, click here. The next Tech Talk webinar is scheduled for 12th July 2-3pm AEST. To find out more and register for the event, click here.

 

Aged Care Taskforce

Following announcements in the last budget, The Hon. Annika Wells, Minister for Aged Care and Sport, announced the members of the new Aged Care Taskforce at her National Press Club speech on 7th June 2023.

The Taskforce conducted their first meeting on the 16th June and are expected to consider funding and system options that support fair and equitable aged care system.

To read more about the Aged Care Taskforce and their recently released terms of reference, click here.

Training: Behaviour and dementia

Dementia Training Australia are funded by the Australian Government to provide free online courses and resources focusing on dementia related behaviour change. New training and resources are being rolled out throughout 2023 to support aged care workers to better address the factors that influence behaviour change such as anxiety, discomfort, pain, or boredom.

To find out more about the Dementia Training Australia resources and online training, click here.

Resource: supporting the voice of culturally diverse older people

A video resource has been produced by the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing to encourage culturally diverse older people to express their needs from aged care providers. The video, created with Department of Health and Aged Care funding and with support from the Australia Multicultural Community Services and Elder Rights Advocacy, is available in 16 different languages.

You can watch and share the video from the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing YouTube channel.

Webinar: Goal Directed Care Planning (GDCP)

Southern Metropolitan Region Sector Development Team in Bayside Melbourne are hosting a webinar program for allied health staff working with Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) clients on Goal Directed Care Planning (GDCP). Hosted by Kate Pascale and Associates, the program will be held over two days (Monday 25th
September and Monday 2nd October 2023) and aims to build on the goal setting and care planning skills of allied health staff working across CHSP programs. Attendance at both dates is required and places are limited.

To find out more about the event and to reserve a spot, click here.

Government and Stakeholder relations update

Submissions and Consultations: OTA regularly creates submissions and attends meetings/webinars in response to consultation opportunities – here is a list of our recent engagement:

  • In-home aged care reform – OTA met with members of the Support at Home Implementation team on Friday 26th
    May to discuss the proposed assessment tool (IAT) and care pathways. Members of the AHPA Aged Care working group were present. There was a strong focus on the need for the IAT tool to accurately identify allied health service needs and for this to be reflected in the care plan. To support this, OTA have reviewed the current version of the IAT tool and have provided information to the department on all the questions within the tool that would trigger an OT referral, some additional considerations for assessors to help with accurately identifying an OT referral, and references to literature that evidence the value of OT across all highlighted areas. The Department have agreed to review discipline specific input against the models and tools proposed. OTA will continue to liaise with the department to inform the development of allied health pathways.

For those who were unable to attend the Department’s in home aged care update on the 18th May, a recording can be found here.

 

ELDAC Allied Health Palliative Care Toolkit

In our April Aged Care update, we introduced the work of the End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) project. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, ELDAC provides information, guidance, and resources to health professionals and aged care workers on palliative care and advance care planning.

In addition to the recent release of The Dementia Toolkit to compliment their other range of toolkits, ELDAC have also created an Allied Health toolkit. This resource is designed to support a palliative practice approach for allied health professionals in aged care. The toolkit is divided into three sections covering the roles of each allied health discipline, information on referral and funding streams, and guidelines and research to support evidence based best practice.

You can find out more about ELDAC and their other resources by clicking here.

 

Regulating Aged Care Workshops

As part of the wider Regulatory reforms underway, the Department will be hosting a number of workshops across June to discuss the proposed new model. These workshops will cover details in the recently released Consultation Paper 2: Details of the proposed new model. Topics to be covered will include service provider registration categories and provider obligations.

For those interested in reading the Consultation Paper 2 and providing feedback, click here.

For those interested in watching a recording of a recent Department webinar update on the work underway, click here.

For those wanting to participate in the workshops, click here to register your interest.

 

Strengthened Quality Standards

Following consultation held in October and November 2022 the Department have synthesised feedback received and have provided a Consultation Summary Report. OTA provided a submission to this consultation which you can find on our Aged Care Advocacy page under Aged Care Submissions.

This report will inform the piloting of updated Quality standards from April 2023 as part of the Strong Standards, Better Aged care program. The program is expected to be fully introduced in 2024.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) will be hosting a webinar on 20th June 1:00-2:00pm AEST to provide an overview of work undertaken to strengthen the Quality Standards.

To register for the webinar, click here.

To find out more about the Stronger Standards, Better Aged Care program, click here.

 

Webinar: Reminiscence therapy

Swinburne’s Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults will be hosting a webinar on reminiscence therapy on Friday 9th June at 4.45pm‑6pm AEST. Presented by Professor Sunil Bhar from Swinburne University’s Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults this webinar will define reminiscence therapy, showcase reminiscence techniques and provide an understanding of how reminiscence can improve mental health outcomes for older adults.

For more information and to register, click here.

 

Elder Abuse Online Forum– Perception versus Reality

Aged Rights Advocacy Service (SA) will be hosting a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day online forum on 16th June 2023 10:30am – 12:45pm AEST. The free online forum has speakers covering topics addressing enduring power of attorney and elder abuse, cultural obligations and elder abuse and an keynote from the Age Discrimination Commissioner, The Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO.

To find out more about the event and to register, click here.

Government and Stakeholder relations update

To find out more about the advocacy and representation work being done across aged care, click here.

Aged care scholarships now available

The Aged Care Nursing and Allied Health Scholarships program is next round of applications opened on 2 May 2023 to enrolled and registered nurses, personal care workers and allied health professionals working in aged care. A range of scholarship opportunities are available including undergraduate and postgraduate programs covering areas such as palliative care, dementia care, and leadership and management.

All scholarship recipients will be eligible for a completion bonus on successfully finishing their course. A guaranteed number of scholarships will be available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Applications opened on 2 May 2023 and will close as soon as all of the available places have been filled.

Find out more information on the Australian College of Nursing website.

Aged Care online Learning opportunities

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission have released a series of online learning modules for staff who are new to the aged care sector named ‘Welcome to Aged Care’. The online learning platform is free for all staff of Commonwealth-funded aged care providers and provides an overview of the Commission, the obligations that aged care staff and providers have in providing safe and quality care to older Australians, and the resources available to support their work.

For further information and to register click here.

The Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre have also released two new free online training modules as part of their Equip Aged Care Learning package. The modules are designed to support staff working across aged care care, or those moving into aged care, to deliver quality and contemporary care. Topics cover areas such as dementia care, palliative and end of life care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultural awareness, wound management and prevention and falls prevention.

For further information and to register click here.

Final grant round for ARIIA open

Aged Care Research and Industry Innovation Australia (ARIIA) have opened their sixth and final round of applications for research grants. Applications opened on 1 May 2023 and close on 23 June 2023.

Grants provided through ARIIA support research to address gaps in aged care workforce capability and knowledge and support the development of high quality translational research.

Click for more information on the grant eligibility criteria or application guidelines, or to simply find out more about ARIIA, click here.

OTA Engagement on Aged Care Reforms

Here’s a summary of the work OTA is doing in this space, and to help you catch up on reform updates you may have missed.

Submissions and Consultations: OTA regularly creates submissions and attends meetings in response to consultation opportunities – here is a list of our recent consultations and related submissions:

  • Support at Home: OTA, as a member of AHPA, attended a meeting with Nick Morgan and the Support at Home implementation team to discuss the use of the IAT assessment tool in identifying allied health referrals and plans for short-term restorative therapeutic input. Testing of the proposed IAT tool will commence over the coming weeks and OTA will continue to liaise with the department to inform the development of allied health pathways.
  • Independent Hospital and Pricing Authority (IHACPA): OTA, along with other members of AHPA, attended a meeting with IHACPA on 14th
    March. In this meeting OTA raised concerns about the quality of the data used for modelling costs. AHPA subsequently provided a submission to IHAPCPA further raising this issue.
  • NACA Aged Care Funding Paper: At the February NACA meeting Minister Wells requested NACA present a brief outlining possible funding mechanisms and solutions to support sustainability. OTA is collaborating with NACA members on this paper.

Code of Conduct for Aged Care – new resources

With the introduction of the new Code of Conduct for Aged Care (the Code), in effect from 1 December 2022, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has developed a range of resources, including detailed guidance, to assist people in understanding their responsibilities under the Code.

New bill to establish independent oversight of the aged care system.

On 22 March 2023, the Government introduced the Inspector-General of Aged Care Bill. This key legislation will establish the role of an Inspector-General to monitor and investigate systemic issues in the administration and regulation of aged care, including complaints management processes, and to report and make recommendations to Parliament to improve the aged care system.

It is expected the legislation will pass through Parliament and become law in the second half of 2023, allowing for the appointment of the Inspector-General. Until then, Ian Yates AM will continue as Interim Inspector-General. The Bill is now with the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 28 April 2023.

AHPA, and its members, presented a submission on the exposure draft of the Inspector-General of Aged Care Bill in January 2023 and has since provided a submission to the Standing Committee conducting the inquiry into the Bill.

For more information on the Inspector-General of Aged Care click here.

HCP Manual updates

OTA attended a webinar hosted by the Department on Tuesday 4 April following the publication of updates to the HCP Program Provider Manual. The webinar discussed the updates to the scope of inclusions and exclusions as defined by recent aged care legislative reforms. The webinar recording will be uploaded in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can view the webinar slides on the department’s website and review a compilation of answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Expanded Quality Indicators for residential aged care from 1 April 2023

In our last Aged Care Update (March 2023) OTA shared information about the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program expansion project with 6 new quality indicators for residential aged care coming into effect from 1 April 2023.

The Department hosted a webinar on 28 March 2023 explaining the new quality indicators and the processes around collection. The Department also released Part A of the program manual defining the quality indicators for residential aged care.

The Department intends to publish a recording of this webinar on their website.

To find out more about the changes to quality indicators in residential aged care, view the resources and guidance materials on the department’s website

New resources to support palliative care in aged care

Two new resources have been released to support the needs of older people receiving palliative care services.

palliAGED has developed a range of forms and checklists to help the aged care workforce deliver quality care at the end of life in both home and residential aged care settings. The resources cover 42 topics on what you need to know and what you can do to provide best-practice palliative care.

Resources include:

To view them, all and to order copies, visit the palliAGED website:

End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) is a project funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. ELDAC provides information, guidance, and resources to health professionals and aged care workers on palliative care and advance care planning.

A new free online resource has been released to support staff in delivering end of life care for older people living with dementia and their families. The Dementia Toolkit compliments the range of toolkits and resources currently available through ELDAC with resources to support online learning and clinical care delivery. Work is underway to create an Allied Health toolkit to support a palliative practice approach for allied health professionals in aged care. The toolkit is due for release in 2023.

National Dementia Support Program Evaluation

HealthConsult is evaluating the National Dementia Support Program (NSDP) delivered by Dementia Australia. They are seeking input from health professionals and aged care staff working with people living with dementia, and their family/carers. An anonymous online survey is seeking people’s views around dementia services and supports and their awareness of the NSDP.

The survey is currently open and will close on Friday 5th May. For more information contact HealthConsult on 02 9261 3707 or email stephanie.carter@healthconsult.com.au.

Health and Social Care Professionals’ Knowledge & Attitudes Towards Later Life Sexuality (HSCP-KALLS) tool

Bond University researchers are looking for health and social care professionals to take part in a national survey to assess their knowledge and attitudes towards later life sexuality and inform a newly developed and validated tool. The project will also examine health and social care professionals’ knowledge and attitudes towards sexual desire and the needs and preferences of older people including those living with dementia and identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and questioning/queer (LGBTIQ+) individuals.

A systematic review conducted in the first phase of the project identified limitations of existing tools and a clear need for the development of a new tool to assess health and social care professionals’ knowledge and attitudes towards later life sexuality. The project is seeking approximately 400 health and social care professionals across all settings, including aged care, to participate in a 30 minute online survey.

The survey is open until 1st June and you can find it here. For further information on the project email: yung-hui.chen@studentdd.bond.edu.au

Trauma informed care

Phoenix Australia, the national centre of excellence in post-traumatic mental health, have developed a range of online courses and specialised programs to ensure the trauma needs of aged care staff and older people are understood and met. The free resources have been developed in collaboration with experts in the field to ensure staff safety and wellbeing, and to improve care to older people.

To access the hub, follow this link.

Additionally, Swinburne Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults will be presenting a webinar on trauma-focussed treatment. The webinar, scheduled for Friday 28th
April 4:45 – 6 pm AEST
, will be presented by Dr Monica Cations from Flinders University and is designed to support a trauma informed approach to caring for older adults who have experienced trauma.

To find out more about the webinar and to register, click on this link.

OTA Engagement on Aged Care Reforms

Here’s a summary of the work OTA is doing in this space, and to help you catch up on reform updates you may have missed.

Submissions and Consultations: OTA regularly creates submissions in response to consultation opportunities – here are a list of our recent consultations and related submissions:

  • Support at Home: OTA attended a meeting on 14 February to discuss the departments short-term pathways into the new home based aged care system and the ways in which they can facilitate timely access to allied health services and therapeutic input. Further consideration is needed to build the details around the entry and exit points to support and the funding caps available. OTA will continue to participate in any further conversations and consultations on this matter and will communicate this with our members.
  • Assistive Technology Home Modifications Report – following consolidation of feedback gathered from a range of sessions and sources, the Department released a report outlining proposed features of the new AT HM scheme for in-home aged care. OTA submitted a response which you can find on our Advocacy page and also participated in responses submitted by the National Aged Care Alliance and the Assistive Technology for All campaign. You can view the NATA submission here
    and the AT for All submission here.

Impacts of AN-ACC on Allied Health Workforce Survey

OTA, in partnership with their Allied Health Peak partners via AHPA, re-released a survey capturing details about the impacts of AN-ACC on allied health workforce. OTA wish to thank those who participated in this survey and the original one released in November 2022.

With the important results obtained, AHPA was able to express the seriousness of the situation to The Hon Annika Wells MP, Minister for Aged Care, when AHAP met with her in Canberra on 17 February. A meeting with the First Assistant Secretary of Home and Residential Aged Care was held on 2 March to discuss these results and consider the key factors undermining allied health in residential aged care.

AHPA Aged care brief: What is needed for quality allied health in Australian aged care?

Allied Health Professionals Association (AHPA) have recently released a brief outlining the features and outcomes necessary to ensure the delivery of consumer focussed allied health to achieve safe and high quality aged care. The brief focusses on the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and calls for benchmarking with associated funding, consistent delivery of assessment and care planning through a national tool, and a focus on multidisciplinary care and workforce planning amongst other things. A copy of the brief can be found here.

Training: Understanding Dementia Behaviour Changes

The Centre for Dementia Learning have recently released an Understanding Behaviour Changes coaching program. The training will support staff in understanding key factors that may result in behaviour change and develop person centred strategies. To learn more about the training click on this link.

Dementia Australia also has a range of resources on managing changed behaviours that can be shared with consumers and the family, friends or carers.

E-learning: Vision Australia Introduction to digital accessibility

Vision Australia have released a free 45 minute e-learning module called ‘Introduction to digital accessibility”. With valuable insights into accessibility standards and guidelines, principles of digital accessibility and practical methods to meet digital accessibility, attendees can be sure their digital and print materials are truly accessible to all.

To register for the module click on the following link.

Webinar: Cognitive behavioural therapy for older adults

Swinburne’s Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults will be hosting a webinar presented by clinical psychologist Dr Deborah Koder on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Dr Koder will present the opportunities, barriers and modifications required to provide CBT to older adults with and without dementia. The webinar, scheduled for 4.45‑6pm AEDT on Friday 17 March, will present research and case studies, with a particular focus on practical application of CBT.

For more information and to register for the event, click on the following link.

Webinar: New quality indicators for residential aged care

The National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicators have been reviewed and expanded with new quality indicators to be collected by residential aged care settings from 1 April 2023

Six new quality indicators for residential aged care have been added, including:

  • Activities of daily living
  • Incontinence care
  • Hospitalisation
  • Workforce
  • Consumer experience
  • Quality of life

The department will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday 28 March at 2-3pm AEDT to introduce the new quality indicators, explain the assessment and reporting requirements, launch a range of resources and quality improvement materials and answer questions.

To register to attend the webinar click on this link.

To read more about the expansion of the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator program click on this link.

Consultation: Needs of CALD older people in regional NSW/ACT

Consultation on the NSW and the ACT Department of Health funded Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) program will be commencing this month through to May. Sessions will be offered across regional and rural NSW and ACT to seek feedback from aged care providers, key stakeholders, and community leaders on the needs of older people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds living in regional and rural locations.

Click on the links below to register for online or in-person sessions:

Katoomba, 10am–12pm AEDT on Wednesday 15 March

Forster, 10am–12pm AEST on Tuesday 18 April

Mudgee, 10am–12pm AEST on Thursday 20 April

Griffith, 10am–12pm AEST on Tuesday 16 May

Canberra, 10am–12pm AEST on Thursday 18 May

For more information contact the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra call 02 4229 7566 or visit the website.

Consultation: Australian Standards on Ageing Societies

OTA has been made aware that consultation is now underway to consider the adoption of two published International Standards related to ageing. Australian Standards have released the documents for consultation and are seeking the views of key stakeholders to consider the value and applicability of these standards:

  • Ageing societies — Framework for dementia-inclusive communities - Standards Australia AS ISO 25552
  • Ageing societies — General requirements and guidelines for an age-inclusive workforce - Standards Australia AS ISO 25550

To access the documents and then submit comments you must:

  • Go to www.standards.org.au
  • Find the dark blue menu button for ‘Public Comment’
  • Create a Standards Australia account (so that Standards Australia can respond to your comments)
  • Search for the items listed above, and have your say

The consultation period ends on 23 March 2023.

OTA are taking steps to review and comment on the “Framework for dementia-inclusive communities – AS ISO 25552”. We encourage our members provide independent feedback on the proposed standards.

OTA Engagement on Aged Care Reforms

Here’s a summary of the work OTA is doing in this space, and to help you catch up on reform updates you may have missed.

Submissions and Consultations: OTA regularly creates submissions in response to consultation opportunities – here are a list of our recent consultations and related submissions:

  • Support at Home: In October the Department released a new discussion paper on the Support at Home program. You can find a copy of the paper here. OTA created a submission which you can find on our Aged Care Advocacy page under Aged Care Submissions. The Department also presented an update on the proposed in-home aged care reforms. You can watch a recording of the webinar via this link. OTA, as a member of AHPA, also attended a meeting with Nick Morgan and the Support at Home implementation team to consider allied health pathways and funding in the proposed program. OTA will be attending a further meeting on 14th February to discuss how short-term pathways can support timely access to restorative services like occupational therapy.
  • Quality Standards Review: Consultation webinars introducing and seeking input on their new Aged Care Quality Standards were conducted in late 2022. For information on the proposed standards click here. OTA created a submission which you can find on our Aged Care Advocacy page under Aged Care Submissions.
  • National Dementia Action plan: A revised National Dementia Action Plan is due to be released in 2023. Feedback on the plan was sought in December and January and OTA created a submission which you can find on our Aged Care Advocacy page.
  • AT HM Report – the Department have consolidated feedback received from co-design meetings held in August 2022 and have released a report outlining proposed features of the new AT HM scheme for in-home aged care. OTA have been invited to submit feedback, both independently and through our membership in the National Assistive Technology Alliance, by the closing date of 17th
    February.

Impacts of AN-ACC on Allied Health Workforce

OTA have recently re-released a survey investigating the impacts of AN-ACC on the provision of allied health services and clinical outcomes in residential aged care. The survey opened on the 31st January and closes at 5 pm on 17th
February. The survey 
link was shared in our last OT Today newsletter.

Results from our original survey, released in November 2022, showed an immediate negative effect on OTs working in residential aged care. Nearly 50% of the respondents reported a loss of role, 20% reported a reduction in clinical scope of practice and 87% reported a decrease in the number of allied health professionals. Many have shared insights on how this has already resulted in reduced care and significant impacts on consumer safety and quality of life.

OTA thanks those who have contributed to the surveys. These findings are essential in supporting our ongoing advocacy work and will inform important upcoming discussions with key age care stakeholders.

AN-ACC Questions and Answers – fact sheet.

Following a webinar held on the 17th of November 2022, the Department have released a response to questions raised around AN-ACC. You can find a copy of the fact sheet here
and watch the webinar by following this link. Further information about AN-ACC is available in the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) Funding Guide here.

Aged Care legislative and governance changes.

The new Code of Conduct for Aged Care and the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) started on the 1st December 2022.

The Code sets out standards of behaviour for approved providers, their aged care workers and governing persons. The SIRS have been adapted to extend beyond residential aged care into home or community settings.

Find out more about these reforms or to watch webinars on these changes, follow this link to the Commissions website or this link to the Departments website. For information delivered in podcast format, follow this link.

Aged care research and innovation grants available

Aged Care Research & Industry Innovation Australia (ARIIA) conducts research in collaboration with aged care workers, providers, researchers and people who use aged care services.

Over the next 2 years, several ARIIA Research Grants will be available for projects up to the value of $160,000 (ex GST), with funding from the department. Round 4 is open until 17 February 2023 with further rounds scheduled.

To find out more about ARIIA, their work and the grants, follow this link.

Explore the OPAN self-advocacy toolkit

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) has released a free self-advocacy toolkit. Funded as part of the National Aged Care Advocacy Program, the aim of the toolkit is to educate people on what they can reasonably expect from aged care providers and empowering them to speak up for themselves or someone they care for.

The toolkit has information on aged care rights and options, solving common aged care problems, protection from harm and how to get help with decision making.

Funded as part of the National Aged Care Advocacy Program, the aim of the toolkit is to educate people on what they can reasonably expect from aged care providers and empowering them to speak up for themselves or someone they care for.

To access the self-advocacy toolkit on OPAN’s website, follow this link.

Queensland legislative changes to voluntary assisted dying

Voluntary assisted dying became accessible in Queensland from 1 January 2023. Voluntary assisted dying gives eligible people diagnosed with a life-limiting condition an additional end-of-life choice by allowing them to choose the timing and circumstances of their death.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Unit can provide support regarding the implementation of these changes and aged care providers’ obligations under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021. They can be contacted by email VAD@health.qld.gov.au.

For further information on navigating or delivering voluntary assisted dying, please contact QVAD-Support qvadsupport@health.qld.gov.au.

Care Finder Program

In January 2023 the Care Finder Service commenced. This service was developed following a pilot trial managed by COTA in collaboration with 22 partners.

The program offers the support of care finders to older Australians who require intensive support when navigating the aged care system. This includes people who are, or are not yet, receiving aged care services or other relevant supports.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are responsible for commissioning and managing care finder services. A list of care finder organisations is available on the My Aged Care website.

To find out more about this service follow the link.

Home Care Package Program operational manual

The Home Care Package (HCP) Program operational manual has been recently updated. The updated version reflects recently passed legislative changes that cap care and package management fees and which take effect from 1st
January 2023(see Appendix C).

We encourage our membership to contact OTA if they identify any further changes in the manual that may impact delivery of your clinical services. Email us at policy@otaus.com.au.

The updated manual can be found here.

The right to rehabilitation for people with dementia

OTA are currently participating in co-design workshops for “The right to rehabilitation for people with dementia” project. The work, being led by the National Centre for Healthy Ageing aims to improve access to allied health rehabilitation treatments for people with dementia living in the community, to support their independence and wellbeing.

OTA looks forward to seeing the impact of the recommendations of this study, for consumers, and occupational therapists working with people with dementia.

Pet friendly aged care - survey

Companion Animal Network Australia (CANA) support pet friendly aged care and actively advocate for, and support, pet ownership across all of aged care. CANA are seeking feedback from the community about the role of pets in health ageing. Information gathered will provide insights to a new government advisory body that will be considering pet care assistance/pet support as part of the in-home aged care reforms.

To provide your feedback on pet friendly aged care, please complete and share the survey.

OTA Engagement on Aged Care Reforms

OTA have been busy consulting with key stakeholders and participating in submissions on aged care reform work. Here's a summary to help you catch up on reform updates you may have missed.

Submissions and Consultations: OTA regularly creates submissions in response to consultation opportunities – here are a list of our recent consultations and related submissions:

  • Support at Home: In October the Department released a new discussion paper on the Support at Home program. You can find a copy of the paper here. OTA have also created a submission in response to the discussion paper which we will share once submitted on 25th November. OTA have also participated in online consultations sessions with the Department and have an allied health focussed session with the support at home implementation team in early December. The Department will be providing an update on the in-home aged care reform on Wednesday 7th December at 2pm‑4 pm AEDT. To register for the event, click here.
  • Quality Standards Review: over the last month the Department have launched a series of consultation webinars introducing and seeking input on their new Aged Care Quality Standards. For information on the proposed standards click here. OTA have created a submission in response to the revised quality standards which we will share once submitted on 25th November.
  • Meeting with Senator Rice: on Tuesday 15th November, AHPA met with Greens Senator, Senator Janet Rice to discuss the in-home aged care reform underway. AHPA representative Chris Atmore, Manager of Policy and Advocacy at AHPA, Christina Wyatt, Senior Project Officer, OTA, and Kym Torresi, Senior Advisor Aged Care for Speech Pathology Australia. We raised our concerns around the assessment tool and pathway ensuring timely and accurate identification of allied health needs and the need for dedicated allied health assessments at entry into the program.
  • Residential Aged Care Design Framework: following a submission to the Department on their proposed Residential Aged Care Design Framework back in December 2021, OTA met with the University of Wollongong and members of the Department to discuss elements of the proposed residential aged care design guidelines. In our discussion we emphasised the need for occupationally engaging and stimulating environments, the need to better integrate technology and equipment into the built environs to better tailor care needs and enable participation, and the role of occupational therapists in supporting this. OTA will continue to keep you updated on this work and share any final resources or materials generated by this project.

To watch past Department hosted aged care webinars, follow this link.

For an overview of the current aged care reform projects underway across the Department of Health and Aged care, follow this link. For a summary of these reforms from a regulatory perspective, follow this link.

AN-ACC Survey

In conjunction with AHPA, OTA recently released a survey about the impacts of AN-ACC on the provision of allied health services and clinical outcomes in residential aged care. The survey closed on 14 November, and we received several responses. OTA wishes to thank those who contributed to the survey and for sharing valuable insights into their experience of working under AN-ACC.

Our results have shown an immediate negative effect on OTs working in residential aged care. Nearly 50% of the respondents reported a loss of role, 20% reported a reduction in clinical scope of practice and 87% reported a decrease in the number of allied health professionals.

Many have shared insights on how this has already resulted in reduced care and significant impacts on consumer safety and quality of life. OTA intend to share these findings with the Department and with our aged care stakeholders at the upcoming National Aged Care Alliance meeting, and for future advocacy activities.

Victoria’s Palliative Care Advice Service

For Victorian’s requiring specialist palliative care information, guidance and support, the Palliative Care Advice Service (PCAS) is available. It is an initiative hosted by The Royal Melbourne Hospital designed to offer support to clinicians, patients, carers and families. It offers free confidential advice on caring for someone with life-limiting illness, palliative or end of life care needs. It offers contact to specialist doctors and nurses via a toll free number daily between 7am‑10pm.

PCAS is contactable on 1800 360 000.

Improve understanding and treatment of drug users

New resources are available for health and aged care providers, to improve health services and increase empathy for older people who use drugs.

The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) has developed new resources for health and aged care providers to improve health services and increase empathy for older people who use drugs. These resources can help staff provide culturally safe, appropriate, and inclusive care in line with the Aged Care Quality Standards

The following free learning modules are now available:

A place of their own – learning modules focused on giving the aged care workforce better skills, knowledge and support to care for older drug users in palliative care settings.

A normal day – stories from drug users and medical professionals to help improve understanding and communication as well as clinical interactions.

Partnerships in care resources

During National Carers Week (16–22 October), the Commission launched new interactive online learning modules to support families and friends of aged care residents to continue to provide care and companionship as a ‘partner in care’ or to encourage aged care providers to establish ‘Partnerships in care’ programs at their services.

You can find information about ‘partners in care’ and the new and updated partnerships in care resources here.

Update on national provider of CHSP GEAT services

GEAT2Go, the national Goods, Equipment, and Assistive Technology (GEAT) provider for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) has introduced temporary measures to manage higher than expected demand.

GEAT2Go will distribute their 2022-23 budget fairly, to ensure as many older Australians as possible get the support they need. Once demand reaches capacity each month, GEAT2Go will cease accepting new requests for items and will recommence accepting new requests on the first of the next month. Registered users of the GEAT2Go portal will be notified when this occurs.

You are encouraged to refer clients to other local GEAT providers in the area.

Find GEAT providers on the My Aged Care website.

Expanded access to urgent GEAT for Home Care Package recipients

An additional $10 million is being released to help Home Care Package (HCP) recipients access urgent goods, equipment and assistive technology (GEAT) through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP).

HCP recipients must be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) as having an urgent or immediate need for equipment; and have insufficient funds in their HCP budget for equipment to meet short-term needs.

Eligible consumers will be able to access up to $2,500 per year for equipment, provided by the national provider geat2GO. New requests will be accepted from Tuesday 15th
November.

To find out more click here.

Residential aged care facilities to supply continence products

The eligibility criteria for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) was updated on 1 October 2022.

Residential aged care facilities must now supply continence products to all permanent residents and permanent residents receiving CAPS payments before 1 October 2022 will no longer be eligible for CAPS from 30 June 2023. Impacted residents will receive a letter from Services Australia in February 2023.

For more information, please call the Services Australia CAPS team on 1800 239 309.

OTA Engagement on Aged Care Reforms

Here’s a summary to help understand the work OTA is doing in this space, and to help you catch up on reform updates you may have missed.

Submissions: OTA regularly creates submissions in response to consultation opportunities – here are a list of the ones we’re currently involved in:

  • Independent Hospital and Aged Care Pricing Authority Aged Care Pricing Framework – OTA have worked closely with AHPA to develop a joint submission addressing key limitations with the proposed Aged Care Pricing Framework namely the lack of specification around allied health funding or care minutes, limitations around the data used to cost model for allied health services and the need for funding to ensure quality is accurately measured and costs are evaluated on an ongoing basis.
  • Aged Care Data Strategy – OTA have collaborated with AHPA to create a submission responding to the proposed aged care data strategy highlighting inadequacies in the capture and use of allied health service data, the lack of integration in existing systems used across aged care, and the need for improved disaggregated allied health data to inform workforce and service needs.
  • New approaches to aged care regulation: OTA provided a submission to the Department in response to their proposed regulatory and governance changes. Our submission raised the need to ensure improvements in both the infrastructure and regulation of information sharing systems to improve the consumer experience and support continuity of care, the importance of not over burdening health professionals who are already heavily regulated by AHPRA with additional registration requirements, and greater transparency and consideration around the implementation pathways for any regulatory changes across the sector. You can find a copy of this submission on our Aged Care Advocacy page under ‘Aged Care Submissions’.
  • Support at Home: The Department have recently released a new discussion paper on the Support at Home program. You can find a copy of the paper here. In addition to creating a submission, OTA will be participating in online consultations sessions scheduled for early November. OTA welcome your thoughts on this area by email: policy@otaus.com.au.

Consultations: OTA have been consulting with the Department around key pieces of aged care reform. Here’s a summary of what’s been happening and what’s ahead in this space:

  • Aged Care Data Strategy: The Department, in partnership with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, have been hosting consultation webinars to gain feedback on their proposed Aged Care Data Strategy. These webinars have been recorded and will be available to view on this link.
  • Quality Standards Review: following the review of the existing Aged Care Quality Standards, the Department have launched a series of consultation webinars introducing and seeking input on their new standards. For more information on what the proposed new standards look like, or details on the consultation sessions happening across the coming weeks, follow this link.
  • Code of Conduct: The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will be hosting a webinar looking at the proposed changes to the Aged Care Code of Conduct on November 11th. To register for the webinar follow this link and to view a draft of the proposed changes, follow this link.
  • Residential Aged Care Design Framework:
    back in December 2022, OTA provided a submission to the Department on their proposed Residential Aged Care Design Framework. The framework proposed some key elements including dementia friendly design, needs for diversity groups, accessibility, and small home environments. You can find a copy of the submission on our Aged Care Advocacy page under ‘Aged Care Submissions’. The University of Wollongong have now been appointed to commence the next phase of consultation and OTA have been invited to meet with the research team in early November. We will continue to update you as this consultation progresses and welcome your thoughts on this area by email: policy@otaus.com.au
  • BrainTrack: Dementia Australia hosted a webinar with Minister Mark Butler and Minister Anika Wells on 13th October where they spoke about future dementia policy and launched a new free app called BrainTrack. Developed by Dementia Australia and the Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute at Deakin University with funding from Australian Government, BrainTrack will help individuals monitor changes in cognition and provides education about brain health. For more information about BrainTrack follow this link. To watch a recording of the webinar, follow this link.

To watch past Department hosted aged care webinars, follow this link.

For an overview of the current aged care reform projects underway across the Department of Health and Aged care, follow this link. For a summary of these reforms from a regulatory perspective, follow this link.

Commencement of Australian National Aged Care Classification in RACF

On October 1st, 2022, the Australian Government commenced a new aged care funding system known as the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC). The new funding system is intended to improve access to services for older Australians, however initial indications are that access to allied health services may be reduced.

We’re seeking your help to understand the initial impact of the new funding scheme to support our advocacy work with the Australian government. We will be working alongside our colleagues in the other allied health professions to campaign for a system that provides the funding needed to ensure allied health professionals can work to the top of their scope and provide the supports that older Australians in residential care need.

OTA in collaboration with other AHPA members have developed a survey about the impacts of AN-ACC on the provision of allied health services and clinical outcomes in residential aged care. It is anonymous and closes on 7 November. Case studies will be particularly useful in increasing our understanding of AN-ACC and building evidence for our communications to government, aged care providers and consumers, so please include as much detail as you can, with a focus on impact on client outcomes.

Follow this link to participate in the survey. We welcome feedback from members and non-members so please circulate within your network.

Changes to additional service fees under AN-ACC

With the implementation of the AN-ACC, funding provided for each resident is expected to cover the cost of specified care and services as outlined in all 3 parts of Schedule 1 of the Quality of Care Principles. Under ACFI, part 3 of the schedule allowed for residents with certain funding classifications to be charged additional service fees. This will no longer be possible, regardless of the residents AN-ACC classification.

Providers can agree with the resident additional service fees for services they aren’t required to provide and for services that are substantially better than the requirements set out in Schedule 1 under the Quality of Care Principles.

To read more on these changes and when fees may or may not apply, follow this link.

LGBTI and Dementia: Understanding changes in behaviour

Dementia Support Australia in collaboration with LGBTIQ+ Health Australia have developed a new resource to support culturally safe, appropriate, and inclusive care in line with the Aged Care Standards. The booklet is free to download with LGBTI-inclusive training for the aged care sector also available through LGBTIQ+ Health Australia. For a copy of the booklet or to find out more about the free training, follow this link or email: education@lgbtiqhealth.org.au

Dementia in Australia Report

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have recently released an updated version of the Dementia in Australia report. The report predicts a significant increase in dementia diagnoses with numbers expected to more than double by 2058 to nearly 850,000 people. Women are more highly represented in these figures with dementia the leading cause of death for women in 2020.

To read the report, follow this link.

OTA Engagement on Aged Care Reforms

There is much happening in aged care reform. OTA continues to represent members by participating in reform engagement opportunities with the Federal Government and the Department of Health and attending various webinars and workshops to stay updated on the changes.

Here’s a summary to help understand the work OTA is doing in this space, and to help you catch up on reform updates you may have missed.

Jobs and Skills Summit

Following a recent roundtable meeting with Minister for Aged Care the Hon Anika Wells MP ahead of the recent national Jobs and Skills Summit, OTA, as a member of AHPA, assisted in identifying and consolidating key workforce points and actions for Minister Wells to consider during the summit. OTA strongly emphasised the need for dedicated funding and mandated care minutes for allied health professionals to address the lack of job security particularly in residential aged care and better attract and retain aged care clinicians. OTA also emphasised that without a strong allied health workforce in aged care, we are unable support the training of the future aged care workforce through student placements. AHPA have released a statement outlining our key recommendations which you can find here. They also created a media release off the back of these conversations which you can also find here.

Review of Quality Standards in Aged Care

OTA met with the Quality and Assurance Division of the Department of Health and Aged care on 8 September to discuss the work underway to review the quality standards in aged care. The revised standards were discussed in general and a variety of representatives shared points around the need to better embed the role of allied health professionals within the standards. Further consultation sessions will be conducted in the coming weeks to discuss the detail within each of the new standards and to consider the roll out into both in-home and residential aged care.

Submissions: OTA regularly creates submissions in response to consultation opportunities – here are a list of the ones we’re currently involved in:

  • Independent Hospital and Aged Care Pricing Authority Aged Care Pricing Framework - consultation paper outlines questions on the proposed pricing framework for aged care. OTA will be building a submission in collaboration with AHPA.
  • Aged Care Data Strategy – consultation paper identifies the vision and purpose of an aged care data strategy and is seeking input on key questions pertaining to the proposal. OTA will be working jointly with AHPA to create this submission.
  • Support at Home – as part of the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA), OTA has been involved in developing a position statement outlining 14 key propositions for Support at Home reform work. Ahead of the paper’s release, a letter summarising the propositions has been written for the Minister Wells. OTA is also awaiting the release of a new consultation paper from the Department outlining their proposal for the Support at Home program due out later in September.
  • New approaches to aged care regulation: a consultation paper has been released providing an overview of the proposed new approach to regulation across aged care. The Department is seeking feedback on the proposed regulation and how these address issues identified in the Royal Commission. OTA is assessing this proposal and considering a response.
  • Restrictive practices and informed consent: a draft legislative instrument has been released addressing proposing changes to the Quality of Care Principles 2014. The instrument seeks to provide greater certainty on the pathways to obtain informed consent on the behalf of a resident when restrictive practices are required. OTA is assessing this proposal and considering a response.

Aged Care Reform webinars: The Department of Health and Aged Care has recently conducted several webinars providing insights and updates on the reform work underway. For those who were unable to attend, many of the webinars have been recorded and are now available for viewing:

Consumer experience interviews – this webinar explains the purpose of the consumer experience interviews process, the methodology behind the process and how the department intend to use this data including within the Star Rating system – recording can be viewed here.

Reforming in-home aged care and regulation update - the purpose of the webinar is to provide an update on in-home aged care reforms, including preliminary views on a new Aged Care Act and regulatory arrangements – recording can be viewed here.

Introduction to aged care reforms: a regulatory perspective – this webinar is hosted by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and will be the first in a range of webinars addressing the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment Act which will take effect on 1 December 2022. This session will focus on the expansion of the Serious Incident Response Scheme to home and flexible care, strengthening provider governance and the code of conduct for aged care providers and their workers, and the use of restrictive practices and consent. These are live webinars that will stream on 8 and 13 September but will be recorded and available for on demand viewing – to find out more follow this link.

More Department hosted webinars are also available on this page: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/aged-care/aged-care-resources/webinars-for-the-aged-care-sec...

Assistive Technology for All (ATFA) Australian AT Equity Studies

OTA is a member of the Assistive Technology for All (ATFA) campaign – an initiative of the Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria. ATFA, with the support of OTA, has recently released findings from two separate but interrelated studies that were conducted in 2022 reviewing the current state of AT funding in Australia, highlighting the gaps in equitable access and funding. These findings have been summarised in a recently published report
where they argue for a single national assistive technology and home modifications program. You can find the report and other campaign publications here.

Diversity Coaching Workshop: The Inclusive Service Standards for Beginners

The Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing (PICAC Victoria) has developed Inclusive Service Standards to assist aged care providers in the development and delivery of inclusive services to all consumers. They are hosting a Diversity Coaching Workshop for participants who are new to diversity, equity and inclusion with a focus on how to use the Inclusive Service Standards and will give an overview of the Inclusive Service Standards self-assessment portal, a tool to help aged care providers to self-assess and identify areas for improvement.

The interactive workshop will be held at 2pm‑3 pm (AEST) on Wednesday 14 September.

To find out more and to register, click here.

Aged care resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers and families

The Department of Health has funded two projects that aim to support the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people using aged care or palliative care services:

Helping Hand Aged Care offer free presentations on Safe and Inclusive Care for Forgotten Australians and other Trauma Survivors

This one-hour presentation offers valuable insights into the barriers to care for Forgotten Australians and other trauma survivors, strategies to achieve safe and including services for older people and resources to support trauma informed care.

Caring@home project have created a new Palliative Care Clinic Box containing tailored resources for families, health professionals and clinical services to support the provision of palliative care at home for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Boxes can be ordered online and offer clinicians the ability to flexibly tailor information and support.

Aged Care Allied Health Scholarships

Applications are now open for the next round of Aged Care Scholarships until Monday 10 October. These scholarships will allow for 100 allied health scholarships per year for up to three years, which will be for allied health professionals to fund postgraduate qualifications including Graduate certificates, Graduate diplomas and Masters degrees. Dementia specific qualifications relating to the care of older people or leadership and management are also eligible. A dedicated scholarship scheme is also available to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students undertaking an undergraduate course in an eligible health related discipline.

To find out more click here.

OTA Input into Aged Care Reform

OTA continues to collaborate with our key stakeholders and partners to support the ongoing aged care reform work underway. As outlined in the last OT Today, OTA have been working closely with AHPA to represent the needs of the profession in relation to the proposed legislative changes currently being implemented. OTA and AHPA attended a meeting with the Department of Health and Ageing and the Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) on Monday 25th July to discuss these areas further. We continue to raise the need for dedicated funding for allied health professionals through the AN-ACC and highlight the lack of attention to allied health in the proposed care minutes and star rating systems. Further consultation between the Department and Allied Health representatives was recommended and agreed upon and we will continue to share insights on these meetings as they come to light.

Passage of aged care legislation

On 2 August, the Australian Government passed the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022. The bill implements nine measures to improve aged care and responds to 17 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

These changes include:

  • Residential aged care funding: The Australian National Aged Care Classification will replace the Aged Care Funding Instrument as the residential aged care subsidy system from 1 October 2022.
  • the star rating system: The secretary will publish information in relation to the quality and performance of aged care providers for the star rating system.
  • The Code of Conduct: Amendments to the Aged Care Act 1997 and Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018 will require compliance with a code of conduct by approved providers and their aged care workers and governing persons. A failure to comply with the code of conduct may result in a sanction being imposed under this Act. It may also result in a civil penalty order or a banning order being made.
  • The Serious Incident Response Scheme will be extended to home and flexible care from 1 December 2022
  • Information Sharing: Amendments to five Acts will enable information sharing between certain Commonwealth bodies including:
    • Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
    • Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission
    • The NDIS Launch Transition Agency, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
    • the Repatriation Commission
    • the minister and the department administering the Disability Services Act
    • any other Department of State,
    • or any other authority that the commonwealth has regulatory, compliance or enforcement functions in relation to the provision of care, support or treatment services.
  • Use of refundable deposits and accommodation bonds: The secretary or commissioner will be able to request information from a provider or borrower about any loans made with refundable deposits or accommodation bonds. Providers and key personnel of providers will be liable for misusing these loans prior to an insolvency event.
  • Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing: Amendments to the National Health Reform Act 2011, Aged Care Act 1997 and Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018 will enable the use and disclosure of information required for the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority to perform its new functions.
  • Restrictive practices: The Quality of Care Principles will make provision for the giving of informed consent to the use of restrictive practices in circumstances where a care recipient does not have capacity to consent themselves.

In-home reform updates

The Federal government has recently announced its plan to push the start date to in-home aged care reforms out to 1st July 2024. The extension will allow for greater consultation across key stakeholder groups and will not see any changes to funding or services being received by consumers under the existing in-home aged care funding.

During this time, however, the Federal Government have pledged to introduce measures that will improve in-home care for older Australians, including caps on administration and management charges for Home Care Packages, and changes to improve access to GEAT. The details on these proposed initiatives have yet to be released.

The department is hosting a webinar on 31 August 2022 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm AEST to cover the next steps for reforming in-home aged care and provide updates on:

  • how input from past consultations has informed the program’s future direction and the development of the new Aged Care Act
  • a new approach to regulating aged care with an overarching Aged Care Act
  • the urgent review of the Aged Care Quality Standards

The webinar, aimed at updating older Australians, their carers and family and aged care stakeholders, will also outline plans for future engagement opportunities.

To register for the event, click here. For those who cannot attend, a recording will be made available on the department website. For any questions regarding this event, email the Support at Home Implementation Team at sah.implementation@health.gov.au.

Updates to Serious Incident Response Scheme resources

Key Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) resources have been updated by The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to clarify reportable incidents in residential aged care.

The amendments identify incidents involving unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct to be Priority 1 reportable incidents, meaning they must be reported to the Commission within 24 hours of the incident being identified. Additionally, incidents that are unlawful or considered to be of a criminal nature (for example, sexual assault) must be reported to police within 24 hours.

This means you must report them to the Commission within 24 hours of becoming aware of the incident. You can do this.

You must also report incidents that are unlawful or considered to be of a criminal nature (for example, sexual assault) to police within 24 hours.

To find out more, including updated resources and details on how to report through the My Aged Care Service Provider Portal, click here.

Dementia Care Respite

A new program called ‘Staying at Home’ is being delivered to improve the quality of respite care for people living with dementia and their carers. The first stages of the program will be delivered by HammondCare as part of a broader Dementia Carer Respite and Wellbeing program. The program is aimed at implementing evidence based care models that integrate services for those living with dementia and their carers.

To find out more about the Dementia Carer Respite and Wellbeing Program, click here.

To find out more about the HammondCare Dementia Support services, click here.

Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing webinar series

Collecting Diversity Data to Promote Inclusive Services in Aged Care

The Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing (PICAC Victoria) is hosting a range of webinars as part of its 2022–23 online Diversity Webinar Series.

The series covers a range of topics related to the cultural and inclusivity needs of older Australians and will address areas like developing inclusivity standards and policies, how to support people with culturally diverse backgrounds with a hearing loss, and the link between food cultural and identity.

Their next webinar is on Collecting Diversity Data to Promote Inclusive Services in Aged Care. It will be held virtually at 2pm‑3:30 pm AEST on Wednesday 24 August. It will outline different approaches to gathering diversity data within aged care organisations and also showcase the new SBS Australian Census Explorer website, where organisations can search cultural diversity data per suburb, state, or territory.

To find out more about this series of webinars and to register, click here.

Australian Human Rights Commission’s age awareness training: Register your interest

The Australian Human Rights Commission is seeking expressions of interest for a new training package aimed at challenging biased attitudes towards ageing and addressing misconceptions about older people. They are interested in examining views around ageing held by people who work closely with older people and the effect of awareness training on these beliefs.

The training aims to be interactive with pre and post training surveys and group discussions to support those working in aged care to broaden their understanding of the ageing process and transform the way we think about older people.

To register your interest, email maria.ko@humanrights.gov.au by Monday 29 August.

Digital Transformation Tech Talk

On the 26th of July, OTA attended a webinar presented by the Department of Health discussing the aged care reform and digital transformation initiatives that are underway. This works is being conducted across a range of government and stakeholder agencies, including the Australian Digital Health Agency, with a focus on building greater inter-operability of aged care systems to better understand the journey of people in the aged care system. Content covered included the Support at Home digital reforms, the Aged Care Data Strategy and the co-design activities involving partners across the sector.

For those who were unable to attend, presentation slides and a recording of this webinar are now available. To access the webinar and the slides, click here.

AN-ACC – new fact sheets and updates

The Department of Health has released new fact sheets and updated many of the existing reform resources regarding the implementation of AN-ACC under the residential aged funding reform webpage. New fact sheets cover topics such as:

Allied Health Professionals revised policy brief ‘Allied health funding in residential aged care’

AHPA have recently released an expanded and revised version of their policy brief on the funding of allied health in residential aged care.

In this updated version AHPA have included new data on allied health care spending in residential aged care and make a clear call to the new government for guaranteed funding to ensure access to allied health services for all older persons who need it.

You can find the revised version of the brief here.

EOI: My Aged Care Assessment Workforce Training Reference Group

The Department of Health is looking to reinstate the My Aged Care Assessment Workforce Training Reference Group. It is seeking expressions of interest for experienced aged care assessors, workplace trainers and educators to represent Regional Assessment Services and Aged Care Assessment Teams nationally. The reference group members are required to serve between July 2022 and June 2023 meeting online quarterly.

The importance of allied health representation in this working group is vital given the plan to bring in a new assessment tool under the proposed Support at Home Program. As such, we encourage any members who meet the criteria above to nominate themselves.

To be considered for the Reference Group please email a completed Expression of Interest Form and CV to MyAgedCare.Capability@Health.gov.au
by 13 July 2022.

Improving access to primary health in residential aged care

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are being funded by the department to better integrate aged care and health care systems to benefit older Australians in residential aged care facilities and avoid preventable hospitalisations. Initiatives will see:

  • greater access to telehealth facilities and equipment to enable virtual consultations between residents and health care providers
  • processes to support access to afterhours medical services
  • training and education to improve digital health practices including telehealth and digital medical record keeping and education to support staff to promote telehealth and after-hours services, including adoption of My Health Record

To read more, click here.

Swinburne University Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults - Seminar and Webinar Series on Ageing

Swinburne University Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults, located within their Psychology Clinic, offer a range of webinars and grand seminars covering a wide range of issues related to working with older adults such as cognitive impairment, capacity and consent, life-stage transitions, late-life emotional experiences and psychosocial approaches for aged care residents and their families. The free webinars are open to the public and are suitable for clinicians, researchers, students, as well as for consumers, families, and carers.

To see details on the remaining webinars and links to register attendance, click here. To watch the back catalogue of past webinars, click here

Dementia resources in multiple languages

A range of animated videos in a range of languages have been developed by the National Ageing Research Institute to make information about dementia more accessible for people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

The animated videos offer tips on how to prevent the onset of dementia and support for those who are caring for someone with a dementia diagnosis. The videos are available in Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tamil, Spanish, Vietnamese, Greek, Italian, Hindi and English.

To find and share the animations, click here.

About ME – client stories for aged care

Helping Hand Aged Care offer free online workshops on the About ME tool, a one-page personalised client information story supporting tailored and coordinated care. This evidence-based, person-centred tool has been found to help aged care services in the delivery of culturally safe and inclusive care, particularly when working with people who have experienced trauma or are living with dementia.

To find out more about this tool, Meg Schwarz by calling 0418 976 129 or emailing mschwarz@helpinghand.org.au

Exploring Diversity & Wellness Toolkit

The Grampians Region Sector Development Team has developed a toolkit to support diversity, inclusion, wellness and reablement in community based aged care settings. The Exploring Diversity & Wellness Toolkit offers a range of resources through a self-directed matrix including useful facilitator guides, case studies and question cards.

To access this toolkit, click here.

Suicide Prevention for Seniors Program

Anglicare’s Suicide Prevention for Seniors Program is a free program that includes a suicide prevention online course followed by a workshop. The program is funded by the NSW and Australian Governments and has recently been expanded nationally. It is available for those working with older people and should take approx. 3 hours to complete.

For more information, email Anglicare at suicide.prevention@anglicare.org.au
or visit the Anglicare website.

Online aged care mental health training

The Australian Psychological Society will be offering a free online course aimed at clinicians working in residential aged care with a focus on identifying and addressing common mental health issues. The course titled Applied Mental Health in Residential Aged Care: Practical Program for Clinicians will be offered throughout August and is funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care. Full completion of the course counts as 8 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

To register, click here.

Finding information on health.gov.au/aged care – survey request

The Department of Health is reviewing its website, health.gov.au with particular attention to the navigation needs of its users of the aged care pages with a focus on content updates and accessibility.

The Aged Care Pages Development Survey will be open until 5 pm on Thursday 14 July and can be found here. For questions about the survey, email communication.agedcare@health.gov.au



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.

 

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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: SERVICESAUSTRALIA.A2WS@servicesaustralia.gov.au

 

Aged Care Media and News Stories

 

15 Jan 2024: Covid 19 Update — January 2024

Community transmission of COVID-19 is increasing. Recent weeks have seen a rapid increase in hospitalisation of COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country.

 

31 Oct 2023: Aged & Community Care Providers Association National Conference 2023

The conference theme was ‘The Age of Change’, which encapsulates advancements in technology, society and culture, as well as the possibilities and challenges of this era in aged care.

 

10 Oct 2023: Supports for Older People with Disability

Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) and Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) have released a discussion paper titled ‘Supports for Older People with Disability’.

 

28 Sep 2023: International Day of Older Persons 2023

OTA would like to recognise the OTs working with older people across a range of settings, delivering interventions that support a positive ageing experience.

 

18 Sep 2023: Dementia Action Week 2023

Occupational Therapy Australia lodged a submission to The Department of Health and Aged Care (the Department) on the new National Dementia Action Plan (NDAP).

 

30 May 2023: Aged Care Falls Short

OTA has been closely monitoring the impacts of the new residential aged care funding model on occupational therapy services.

 

April 2023: Falls Month Interview with Prof. Emer. Lindy Clemson & Prof. Lynette Mackenzie

The group discusses their recent research, common misconceptions about falls, and practical tips clinicians can build into their practice to ensure falls are being accounted for.

 

23 Mar 2023: Aged Care Reforms still failing people in residential care

The national peak body for Australia’s allied health sector says despite ongoing aged care reforms, critical needs of people in residential aged care are still not being met.

 

Aged Care Research

 

We encourage clinicians working with older people to stay across the research and emerging evidence. Members can benefit from exclusive access to evidence-based journals by clicking here.
 

 

Community Aged Care

 

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