Normally a new year brings with it a sense of refreshment and hope. However, it’s hard to feel refreshed and hopeful when the pandemic has escalated in most parts of Australia. It’s having a huge impact on the elderly and many of us are quite anxious about this.
What we can be hopeful about though is that it’s an election year. So this is the year to make our voices heard - we need to get louder.
There’s also lots of work being done by the Department of Health on the Five Pillars of Aged Care Reform, with opportunities to have your say via the Engagement Hub, so please join in when you can - we will be.
As always we welcome your feedback and ideas in both the Facebook group and over email at email@example.com. You can also see more on our website https://agedcarereformnow.com.au/
But first, some good news - Aged Care Reform Now recognised with Australia Day Honours
On 26 January, Aged Care Reform Now was recognised in the Holt Australia Day Awards for our valuable contribution to our community.
Elizabeth (Liz) Barton accepted the Australia Day Award on behalf of Aged Care Reform Now at a ceremony in Cranbourne, Victoria.
The MC spoke about the work of Aged Care Reform Now in educating and advocating for change, and specifically mentioned the advocacy work of both Liz and Cecilia Webster - two members of our organising committee.
While we’re not in it for the glory, it’s really motivating to see recognition like this.
Thanks to Anthony Byrne for his support of aged care reform - just one of a growing number of Federal parliamentarians who are actively supporting reform in aged care. We've got a long way to go - bring on 2022!
13 questions campaign update
A big thanks to all of you who responded to our call for input on the 13 questions. We really appreciate it and took your feedback on board.
The questions have been finalised and we’re now working on the technology solution to make the campaign as easy as we can for people to participate in. We’ll update you as soon as we know more.
Engaging in reform - ACRN submission on Star Ratings and Quality Indicators
A big part of what we do here at Aged Care Reform Now is provide solutions to help improve the aged care system. Many of our members have participated in a number of engagement activities with the Department of Health over the last few months which is great to see.
A big piece of work that kicked off late last year is the work into the Star Ratings system and Quality Indicators. The Star Rating system was one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission and is according to the Government is key to “Empowering consumers of aged care with information to exercise choice.”
Members participated in workshops, filled out surveys and we also provided a written submission thanks to the hard work of several members - Liz Barton, Yvonne Buters, Ron Carroll, Michelle Chaperon, Sally Rothnie, Amina Schipp, Sue Turv, Cecilia Webster, Anna Willis and many others.
The submission is available on our website here.
In addition, ACRN committee member Yvonne Buters has been selected to participate in ongoing consultation in this space. She’ll be asking for feedback from the group from time to time, so please contribute if you can.
2021 Basic Fee Supplement - additional $10 per day
From 1 July 2021, the Commonwealth Government provided a basic fee supplement for residents of aged care facilities. This means the residential aged care facility received $10 per day, per resident to spend on delivering better care and services to residents, with a focus on food and nutrition. The Department of Health has confirmed to us that 99% of residential aged care providers signed up for the fee.
The residential aged care providers that received $10 per day per resident, agreed to report to the Australian Government Department of Health, quarterly on their food and nutrition expenditure, and the quality of improvements.
The first quarterly report was for the quarter ending 30 September 2021.
The type of questions include providing details on the following;
Expenditure on food and ingredients used to prepare meals and snacks on-site.
Expenditure on pre-prepared and bought-in main meals.
Expenditure on oral nutritional supplements.
Expenditure on oral health living expenses.
Hours for cooks and chefs.
Hours for other food management and/or food service staff.
Expenditure on allied health support (such as dietitians, speech pathologists and oral health practitioners) for residents to improve their nutritional wellbeing.
Details of what was required can be found here:
Aged Care Reform Now asked for a copy of the consolidated report to understand how this expenditure has improved the conditions of aged care residents.
The Department of Health responded to our request saying:
“While the data suggests the average spend on food is above $10 per resident/per day, initial data analysis shows inconsistencies in provider reporting, including a broad range of responses. This is reflective of it being the first time aged care providers have reported on the data. This data should therefore be considered with appropriate caution until sector reporting matures through iterative reporting cycles to increase reliability and consistency. In coming months, the Department intends on publishing early insights including innovative practices, but won't be publishing the reports received by providers.”
We will continue to seek information on if, and how, the $10 per day, per resident of public funds is making a difference to nutrition and overall quality of care of residents. Transparency and accountability are key to improving the quality of aged care.
Council of Elders
The Council of Elders was belatedly announced on Christmas eve with fourteen members. We’re excited to say that a very active member of ACRN - Margaret Walsh OAM, is on the Council! A huge congratulations to Margaret and all the other members, including Gwenda Darling who is a member of our Facebook Group. ACRN is proud to support you in any way we can.
Margaret is an experienced nurse and Manager of organisations providing services to people who live with disability and an aged care organisation. Margaret has been passionately advocating for over 20 years for the disability sector. She brings experience in policy development and delivery of services according to service agreements.
Margaret’s experience includes being the Community Representative for the WA Older Person Health Network Expert Advisory Group. She also brings Committee and Board experience, as well as experience working with various Health Consumer Council consultations and projects. She is a Board member of the Association of Independent Retirees (AIR) and worked with the Royal Perth Hospital, Fiona Stanley Hospital, and Indego Consumer Advisory committees.
Margaret is committed to the inclusion of lived experience and has demonstrated understanding of the significance of this in her career, particularly in the disability field while managing an Alternatives to Employment organisation that provided services to young adults who have severe disabilities and high support needs.
Margaret also worked in Home and Community Services at Geraldton Home Help and Perth Home Care providing a range of Home Care to frail aged seniors and younger people with disabilities, in their homes.
In 2011, Margaret was awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia for her services to people with a disability. She is now retired and together with her husband, Doug has two children and four grandchildren.