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Looking to the Future – Beyond Crisis Management: Forum Wrap-up

Written by Lauranne Beernaert, Sector Support Coordinator

Last month Sector Support hosted the second Regional Forum of 2021. It was an opportunity for our attendees to take a break from the crisis mode and to reflect about the future. Delivered as a series of webinars, our Forum saw a range of speakers who generously shared insights about timely issues such as long-term management of COVID-19, the digital divide, and the aged care reforms.

The management of COVID-19 patients in the future

Watch the recording HERE, access slides HERE.

While this webinar took place well before the current outbreak, we were fortunate to have Dr Robinson (GP and Head, Department of General Practice, RNSH) share some information about the Northern Sydney region strategy for the management of COVID-19 positive patients. More particularly, Dr Robinson explained that care would move from the COVID-19 virtual hospital to the community setting and GPs from early 2022. For this reason, Dr Robinson emphasised that home care providers needed to get ready to provide services to these clients, and invited them to reflect on their procedures and PPE supply. Lastly, she stressed the importance of booster doses and the standard hygiene practices for the ongoing management of the pandemic.

Due to the evolving nature of the pandemic, please always refer to the NSW Health website for the most up-to-date Public Health Orders and guidelines when testing positive with COVID-19.

Current information about the management of COVID-19 positive patients, self-isolation and testing can be accessed here. You can also check this useful video to understand How to manage COVID-19 safely at home and visit HealthDirect website.

Digital Access and Inclusion

Watch the recording HERE, access slides HERE.

Take-away messages from Stephen May’s presentation (Leep):

  • 5 million Australians are not online.
  • The number of people who are not online increases as people get older.
  • Barriers to being online include access, skills, motivation and trust, and can be overcome by emphasising the benefits to being online (social connection, leisure, access to public and health services, money savings, etc).
  • 72% of over 50s prefer 1:1 mentoring in digital literacy.
  • Leep’s model: work with TechMates (volunteers). TechMates have skills and attributes that match the needs of the new learners.

The Aged Care reforms

Watch the recording HERE, access slides HERE.

Take-away messages from Paul Sadler’s presentation (ACSA):

  • Some lessons from history: HCP model of 4 levels of funding is inflexible and over-allocates money, most older people do not want to self-manage.
  • Accessing support can be difficult for older people due to complexity of My Aged Care and multitude of assessment processes.
  • Future of Home Care: single aged care program, with funding model to be determined, potentially including grant funding and classification model. It also includes support to carer services, improving aged care access through local Care Finders.
  • Release of 80,000 HCPs in 2021-2023, which means that this will give significant opportunities to providers.
  • Many opportunities to help shape the system: DoH consultations, and Support at Home Alliance’s activities, e.g. position paper Seamless Aged Care.

What are the latest developments in relation to the recommendations of the Royal Commission?

  • On 24 November 2021, the Government announced the establishment of the National Aged Care Advisory Council. Consisting of 17 members who have direct experience and activity of the sector, this Advisory Council will provide expert advice on aged care issues and the implementation of the reform agenda, including the navigation of aged care services, capacity building of the sector and workforce. More details about this body and membership are available here.
  • On 16 December 2021, the Government committed to a further investment of $632.6 million to reform the aged care system, bringing the total to $18.3bn. The additional funding will support the expansion of the Community Visitors Scheme, the Disability Support for Older Australians (DSOA) program, strengthening of provider governance arrangements, the extension of the Aged Care Registered Nurses’ payment, and the appointment of an Inspector-General of Aged Care, to name a few. More information is available here.
  • On 24 December 2021, the Council of Elders was appointed by the Government to ensure the voice of senior Australians is heard by coordinating feedback from senior Australians and their families and communities and help to build community awareness of ageing and aged care matters. The Council consists of 14 members with expertise and lived experience who will engage on many aspects of aged care including quality, safety of care, and rights and dignity of older people. More details are available here.
  • On 6 January 2022, the Government released a paper that presents their progress on the proposed design for the new Support at Home Program.

What’s next?

Source: Support at Home Program Overview

  • For providers: ensure Boards and CEOs are across all the changes that are coming and have a clear strategy in place. Our recent Round Table discussion for Boards included the following considerations:
    • Emerging issues in Governance: changes to funding models, Director liability and recruitment, importance to include Environmental, Social and Governance Goals (ESG).
    • What do we need to do for our organization to be truly person-centered? Is it about our systems, our people and/or skills?
    • Is our Strategic Plan still current and in line with the future aged care environment? Does it need to be refreshed based on the reforms and their implications?
    • Have you considered forming new Partnerships, Alliances, or even merge with another organisation, and do you know how to assess these opportunities (think SWOT analysis, etc)? Several online resources can be found in our Learning Library, such as Collaborative Models and Resource Sharing Arrangements, and Building Strategic Relationships Toolkit.

Lastly, make sure you have subscribed to our Sector Support e-bulletin so that you are informed about our future trainings and workshops.