Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2017 Contents Commonwealth crackdown
on state-run ACATs
Some states taking up to three months to
complete 80 per cent of assessments.
THE DEPARTMENT of Health
has required state and territor y
governments to demonstrate how
they will improve the performance
of their Aged Care Assessment
Teams amid concerns over
Department officials told a
Senate estimates hearing that the
states were being held accountable
for failures to meet key performance
targets as part of agreements.
The department revealed some
states were taking up to three
months to complete 80 per cent
of assessments referred by My
Aged Care, with Queensland and
Tasmania singled out as among the
Three states – Queensland,
Tasmania and South Australia – met a
deadline in late May to submit plans
for lifting their performance. The
department was awaiting responses
from the other jurisdictions, it said.
“We have identified areas of
concern. Some states are more
timely than others, and so we have
taken a much stronger action with
those states,” the department’s
Fiona Buffinton told the hearing
on 30 May.
The department denied
inadequate resourcing from the
Commonwealth was to blame for
the assessment delays and said it was
examining the workforce numbers
and technology used by ACAT
teams across the countr y.
She said state governments were
being asked to focus on the timeliness
of assessments, staff education and
the efficiency of systems.
The consistency of ACAT
performance across different
regions within a state could also be
improved, Ms Buffinton said.
On the question of whether the
government would integrate ACATs
with the Regional Assessment
Ser vice from mid-2020, the
department said there was currently
no government commitment to
introduce a single assessment ser vice.
It said it was consulting with
CDC in facilities
Positive signs from
pilot of consumer-led
AN AUSTRALIAN-FIRST training
program to implement consumer directed
care in residential aged care facilities has
been shown to improve resident wellbeing.
The Australian Catholic University’s
Institute for Health & Ageing has released
the findings of a small-scale pilot of the
Resident at the Centre of Care training
program, which provides facilities with a
model for implementing CDC.
The researchers said the program has
been shown to be “a ver y effective first
step” in helping determine the ideal way to
achieve CDC in residential aged care.
Aged care organisations Mercy Health,
Ozcare, Beaumont Care, Carinity and IRT
Group participated in the project.
It was the first program designed to
implement CDC in residential aged care to
be delivered and evaluated in Australia.
Delivered onsite by facilitators over
six sessions, the program trained staff
in communicating with residents and
gathering information to devise and
implement a consumer-directed care plan.
It also provided training to support
the necessar y organisational change
The program was evaluated in terms of
resident quality of life, staff satisfaction,
organisational adherence to CDC, and
It was implemented and evaluated in six
facilities in Melbourne and Queensland.
However, the report released in
June drew on data from just the three
Melbourne facilities but the data from the
three Queensland sites will be included in
the complete findings, the team said.
Responses from 32 residents and 32
staff across the three sites were included.
The evaluation found the program
increased resident wellbeing, but found little
change in staff satisfaction or organisational
improvements. However, with increased time,
it is expected that these staff and organisational
measures would improve, they said.
The researchers say they have applied
for funding to implement and evaluate
the program in 39 aged care facilities in
Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
They acknowledged the need to include
a greater number of residents and staff in a
future study and to measure changes over a
longer period of time. n
See in-depth report, page 26.
Reporting regime flagged
Inquiry calls for sweeping changes to handling
of alleged assaults in aged care.
AUSTRALIA’S LAW reform body
has recommended strengthening
protections for seniors in aged care
including a more extensive scheme
for reporting and investigating
The Australian Law Reform
Commission also proposed a new
benchmark for adequate staffing
levels in aged care, more extensive
employee screening and regulation
of “restrictive practices.”
Almost a third of the commission’s
43 recommendations involve changes
to the laws governing residential and
community aged care.
The commission’s report
released in mid-June covers areas
including family agreements,
superannuation, banking and
It suggests the federal and state
governments develop a new national
plan to combat elder abuse, detailing
strategies and priorities for action.
The commission proposed a new
“serious incident response scheme”
to replace the current mandator y
The scheme would require
providers to undertake their own
investigation into an alleged or
Providers would also be required
to notify a new independent
oversight body of the allegation and
the outcome of their investigation.
The commission recommends
removing the current exemption
for serious incidents committed
by residents with a pre-diagnosed
cognitive impairment and the
requirement that providers report
an alleged incident to police. n
8 | JULY – AUGUST 2017
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