Four key takeaways from the federal budget for aged care

Update on the federal budget May 2021

After the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety were released in February 2021, the Federal Government was poised to deliver a significant investment into the sector in its federal budget.

In the May 11 budget, the Government announced $17.7 billion in funding for the sector over the next five years.

ACH Group CEO Frank Weits

ACH Group CEO Frank Weits said, “We welcome the significant investment into the aged care sector. The investment in increased home care and residential care sustainability is timely. However, we believe there is still more to be done to address the shortfall in the supply and upskilling of the workforce.”

 

Here are some of the key measures from the federal budget, with Mr Weits’ takeaways.

 Residential Care

Key measures:

  • From 1 July 2021 a new government-funded “Basic Daily Fee” supplement of $10 per resident, a day, will be introduced for providers to improve care and services.
  • From 1 October 2023 residential care to deliver an average of 200 care minutes per resident, per day.
  • From 2024, residential aged care places allocated to consumers instead of providers to drive choice for consumers and competition between providers.

Takeaway on residential aged care – “Today residential care customers and their families can have confidence these measures will begin to address the sustainability challenges of the sector and there is a roadmap for increased choice.”

 Home Care

Key measures:

  • Additional 80,000 home care packages over two years, bringing the total to more than 275,000 by June 2023.
  • More transparency and compliance with Home Care Packages.
  • $798.3 million for carer support and respite services, with more targeted support for carers looking after people living with dementia.
  • Investment in improving My Aged Care and local face-to-face services to help people navigate the aged care service.
  • In 2023, there will be a new single funded Home Care program.

Takeaway on home care – “The addition of 80,000 home care packages, together with better navigation to connect to the right services, will be of significant benefit to more older Australians wanting to stay at home.”

Workforce

  • $91.8 million over 2021-22 to support training of 13,000 new home care workers.
  • 33,800 new training places through JobTrainer to enable existing and new care workers to improve their qualifications.
  • Additional training and financial support to encourage RNs to choose a career in aged care.

Takeaway on the workforce: “On paper the announcement for workforce funding looked good however when looking at further detail there is a lack of true reform. There are new training places, however this won’t solve the greater workforce supply challenges.”

Quality and safety

  • Additional $301.3 million to increase the capability and capacity of the independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
  • Development of a new Aged Care Act.
  • Establishment of a new Star Rating System on the My Aged Care website for residential aged care.

Takeaway on quality and safety – “We welcome these investments for a simpler, fairer and higher quality system. The federal budget announcements on May 11 together with the Government’s response to the final report into the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety marks the beginning of a new era in aged care reform.”

Swimming for People Living with Dementia – We want to hear about your experiences

older person swimming

Are you or someone in your family living with Dementia? Or do you work with people living with Dementia? ACH Group has been awarded funding from Dementia Australia to develop dementia friendly swimming experiences and environments.

The project will include the development of fact sheets for swimming pool venues, swimming coaches, people living with dementia and their families.

We are currently seeking the input of people with dementia and their families, as well as people who work with people with dementia in a paid or volunteer role, and people who work at swimming pool venues. We want to hear all about your experiences of swimming and dementia. You can contribute to the project by taking the online survey or contact the project coordinator to arrange a face to face interview.

TAKE the ONLINE SURVEY *

*The survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete.

Project Coordinator Fiona Telford-Sharp – Ph (08) 8159 3425 or email ftelford-sharp@ach.org.au

 

ACH Group is a leading provider of dementia services including the innovative Tailor Made Project for people living with dementia under the age of 65. Its Dementia Specialist Advisory Service is led by a team of highly skilled professionals who are equipped to support you, your family member or friend with a range of support services, practical ideas and solutions to everyday challenges, keeping connected to the community and planning for the future.

Find out more about how we can support you to live well with dementia here.

 

ACH Group recognised as Employer of Choice

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ACH Group is excited to have been recognised as an Australian Business Awards Employer of Choice.

The award acknowledges ACH Group’s efforts to maximise the full potential of our workforce through practices that demonstrate effective employee recruitment, engagement and retention. The key areas include culture, leadership and strategy; education, training and development, performance, recognition and remuneration, health, safety and satisfaction, performance management and recognition and remuneration.

Nichole Tierney, General Manager of People and Culture, said the award provided recognition of the organisation’s twin aims to produce a 10/10 experience for customers, and an employee experience that could not be felt anywhere else.

“It’s no secret that staff who are engaged, who have opportunities to keep learning, and who are recognised for their contribution, will produce a better outcome for customers. To this end, we instigated a program of work that took a holistic and long term view of the employee experience at ACH Group, identifying milestones that can be make or break for them, and we now take considered action to ensure that valuable employees are retained,” she said.

Key to the employee experience is the highly valued wellbeing benefits programs which includes salary packaging, an Employee Assistance Program, annual flu vaccination and skin checks, targeted healthy mind/healthy body campaigns, the annual Picnic in the Park for employees and their families, and an annual awards night to recognise the best of the best.

Ms Tierney said that management and employee buy-in had been crucial to the success of the workplace programs, and that the Employer of Choice Award was just recognition for everyone’s contribution.

If you’d like to find out more about working with ACH Group, click here.

Images of ageing: where do we stand?

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“I wouldn’t say I’m old. I wouldn’t say that I’m not old. I just am.”

ACH Group General Manager Strategy and Partnerships Jeff Fiebig shared his views on ageing as part of a panel that explored ‘Images of Ageing’ at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas on Sunday.

Mr Fiebig joined South Australian Film Corporation’s Courtney Gibson, Little Lion PR’s Gabrielle Leonello and Adelaide advertising guru James Rickard to share their insights in a discussion hosted by ACH Group’s Jani Baker.

The panel looked at the way older people are represented in advertising, fashion and cinema. They looked at where things have improved and what needs to change.

Mr Fiebig, who has worked in the aged care sector for several decades, shared his personal experience of living as an ‘older’ South Australian. “One of the things that has struck me is that it is young people who get to make policy, who get to decide what the issues are, but they don’t actually understand the lived experience.”

One of those recent experiences – a stint at hospital – gave him an insight into the way older people are treated within the health system.

“I must have had half a dozen people come in and go through an assessment process with me – what’s your name, what’s your date of birth, what’s wrong with you, what’s your diet like, how many friends do you have? … A series of pejorative questions that in a sense framed for them who I was, but did not frame for me who I was. The whole notion of other people deciding who you are is one of the major themes that really affects you as you become older.”

He said the challenge for advertising agencies, manufacturers and designers was to reflect the needs of the older population as well as the middle and younger generations.

Ms Leonello, who works with a number of high end fashion brands, said she believed things were improving when it came to representing older people in the fashion industry.

“I think that fashion, like other industries, is more fragmented these days, which is allowing specialisation into what was once more marginalised groups – not just older people but plus size and different ethnic groups,” she said.

She said the latest Dolce and Gabbana haute couture fashion runway show in Como, Italy, featured a model in her 70s and another in her 40s.

Closer to home, the Australian Fashion Week and Melbourne Fashion Week both featured mature age models in their runway shows this year.

“Fashion has always been aspirational: the basic premise is that you want to try and achieve the unattainable. What they’ve done over the last few decades is put forward 14-year-old models for skin care, and it just doesn’t relate any more. I think as a consumer base we’re more aware, but we also have an ageing community.”

When it comes to the big screen, stereotypes around ageing abound, according to Ms Gibson.

“It’s not just older characters that are stereotyped – teens are either wayward or bookish, in the same way the older person is either doddering or cantankerous.”

She said the rise of the series, or long-form cinema, was helping make space for more complex characters, but there was a long way to go.

“Not much has changed: older women on Australian TV are rare; there’s Margaret Pomeranz, Lee Lin Chin, our own Maggie Beer; there’s Jennifer Byrne and Lisa Wilkinson who are our emerging middle aged to getting older women, and the pressure on them to look 40 rather than 60 is considerable. I don’t think men get off much more lightly- the tyranny of the hair transplant among news and current affairs presenters in particular is still a thing.”

Mr Rickard said advertising was a youth-obsessed industry, but that needed to change.

“Baby Boomers are diverse – you’re talking about a span of 20 years,” he said. “My industry fails miserably in terms of delivering to this audience. People have a perception that Baby Boomers listen to Doris Day, but it’s more likely to be the Rolling Stones.”

You can listen to the recording of the ‘Images of Ageing’ here.

Repatriation General Hospital Site – update

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ACH Group engaged in good faith in response to a tender to redevelop the Repat site released by the previous government in 2016.

Following the election of the Liberal Government and their subsequent articulated plan for a health precinct which states that they are open to working with other organisations to realise this plan, ACH Group welcomes the Government’s clear vision for the site as detailed in their masterplan.  ACH Group looks forward to engaging with the Government on this opportunity and other future health endeavours.