Sector News

Sector News

August 2019

New funding to reduce hospitalisation includes palliative care-related initiatives

On August 26th, 2019 the Australian government announced an investment of $11.7 million to keep Australians out of hospital. This includes projects for Early Detection of Deterioration in Elderly Residents of aged care facilities, and Implementation of Early Palliative Care in routine practice for people with advanced cancer.

National Framework for Advance Care Directives Review

The Australian Government Department of Health is undertaking a review and update of the National Framework for Advance Care Directives (2011). The review is being conducted to ensure end-of-life care practices are similar across all states and territories The Nous Group are undertaking the review and are conducting a survey to understand stakeholders’ opinions on the current ACD Framework. The consultation and survey takes under five minutes to complete and can be completed via, and entering "ACD" in the event code box.

Provide feedback on aged care system navigation

Australian Healthcare Associates (AHA) is currently evaluating the Aged Care System Navigator Measure (the Measure) for the Department of Health. The Measure has been introduced to assist and guide older Australians and their families to better understand and access the aged care system. The Measure is aimed particularly at vulnerable people or those facing barriers to accessing aged care services. AHA has developed a discussion paper (607kb pdf) on existing system navigator models outlining proposed design principles, components and considerations for implementation of aged care system navigator models in Australia. Feedback is now being sort on the discussion paper to inform the evaluation of the Measure and contribute to the aged care system navigation policy direction.

Patient Carer and Families Booklet

CareSearch has launched a new booklet for Patients, Carers and Families (1.01MB pdf). The booklet is an easy to understand introduction to palliative care and includes information on what to expect and what to ask your health care team. Addressing the need for information to inform care decisions, the booklet is designed to prompt conversations between patients, carers and families and their health care team. Copies of the booklet can be ordered from CareSearch Resources.

Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has now released the second edition of the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights. The new Charter empowers consumers to take an active role in their health care and reflects an increased focus on person-centred care. The Charter was developed in collaboration with healthcare providers, consumer groups and patients. The charter is supported by a range of accessible and translated resources to ensure as many people as possible understand their healthcare rights. The resources are available at

New Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Background Paper

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released a new background paper: Legislative Framework for Aged Care Quality and Safety Regulation (245kb pdf).  All the papers are available for download on the Commission’s website.

July 2019

New Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Background Paper

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released a new background paper: Carers of Older Australians (459kb pdf).  All the papers are available for download on the Commission’s website.

New resources on embedding Spiritual Care in Aged Care

A series of Department of Health funded short films unpacking spiritual care (97kb pdf) in the new Aged Care Quality Standards have been launched from Meaningful Ageing Australia. The films give tools and direction to aged care providers, carers and executives.

The Royal Commission Community Forum in Adelaide

The Royal Commission into Aged Care, Quality and Safety has announced details of a Community Forum in Adelaide. The Forum will take place from 1.30 to 4pm on Monday 12 August 2019, at the Auditorium, Adelaide Town Hall, 128 King William Street, Adelaide SA 5000.

For further information, go to the Royal Commission’s Community Forums page.

NSQHS Standards Aged Care Module Consultation

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) is seeking feedback on the draft National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards Aged Care Module. The module has been developed to assist organisations to meet the requirements of both the NSQHS Standards and the Aged Care Quality (ACQ) Standards by assessment to one set of standards.

Feedback on the module can be made by 9th August 2019 through a NSQHS multiservice survey delivered by SurveyMonkey. Survey feedback is preferred however written submission will also be accepted. Written feedback and queries can be emailed to

Open Disclosure framework and guidance

Open disclosure is the open discussion that an aged care provider has with people receiving aged care services when something goes wrong that has harmed or had the potential to cause harm to a person receiving an aged care service.

A document detailing a new Aged Care Open Disclosure Framework and Guidance is now available to support providers. 

Aged Care Quality Indicator Program

The National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program is now mandatory from 1 July 2019 for all Government funded aged care services. The Quality Indicators measure aspects of service provision which contribute to the quality of care for senior Australians and are used by providers as part of continuous improvement. The program comprises three clinical quality indicators-pressure injuries, use of physical restraint and unplanned weight loss. The Department of Health has developed guidance information for aged care services to support providers to meet the requirements of the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program.

New regulations on restraint use in aged care

From July 1st residential aged care providers will have specific responsibilities regarding restraint use. Physical or chemical restraint must be a last resort and providers will need to satisfy conditions prior to restraint use. These include an assessment by an approved health practitioner (for physical restraint) or assessment by a medical practitioner who has prescribed the medication (for chemical restraint). Informed consent of the consumer or their representative will be required unless restraint is required in an emergency. The Department of Health has released a Decision Making Toolkit to support providers implement a restraint free environment and the Aged Care Safety and Quality Commission has a Self-Assessment Tool to assist in minimising the use of restraints.

June 2019

End of Life Directions for Aged Care free workshops

Starting in July 2019, a series of workshops will be run across Australia for residential and home care managers, nurses and care workers. The workshops are free to attend and are hosted by the End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) project, a national project funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to improve palliative care and advance care planning for older Australians. To download the workshops flyer and register now on the ELDAC website.

My Age Care launching a new website

The new My Aged Care website and enhanced service finder will soon replace the current website.

Service providers are advised that although there are new re-directs in place they are encouraged to update your bookmarked pages once the site is made live to reflect the changes. The website address will remain the same but advise some url links on websites or in printed materials may need updating.

The Charter of Aged Care Rights Resources 

The Charter of Aged Care Rights (the Charter) online resources are now available to support the sector’s understanding of the new Charter. The resources include a booklet outlining the Charter and a Charter of Aged Care Rights poster designed to be displayed and promoted by organisations.

The resources are available for downloading and printing and hard copies are available for ordering by emailing

New Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Background Paper

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released a new background paper Advance care planning in Australia (394kb pdf). All the papers are available for download on the Commission’s website.

White paper released on palliative care

The Australian College of Nursing has released a white paper providing an overview of contemporary palliative care service delivery titled Achieving Quality Palliative Care for All: The Essential Role of Nurses (437kb pdf). The paper summarises the evidence for the role of nurses in palliative care and identifies the areas for action to ensure access to quality palliative care for all people with a life-limiting illness.

Palliative Care Australia publishes guiding principles about voluntary assisted dying

Palliative Care Australia has released a guiding principles document Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia: Guiding principles for those providing care to people living with a life-limiting illness (81kb pdf). The guiding principles document is designed to sit alongside enacted voluntary assisted dying (VAD) legislation where it exists. and provides an organisational ethical frameworks and professional codes of conduct. The guideline defines seven principles of equal importance: The guideline defines seven principles of equal importance:

  • People living with a life-limiting illness are supported and respected whether or not they choose to explore or access voluntary assisted dying.
  • People exploring voluntary assisted dying will not be abandoned.
  • Respectful and professional behaviour towards colleagues and co-workers regardless of their views on voluntary assisted dying.
  • Effective communication is an important part of quality care.
  • Ongoing development of knowledge, skill and confidence is required to provide competent and safe care to people living with a life–limiting illness. Self-care practice is a shared responsibility between individuals, colleagues and organisations.
  • Continue to learn from evidence and evolving practice to drive quality improvement in voluntary assisted dying.

Health professionals practicing in Victoria can find more information on Voluntary Assisted Dying participation and services at Health.Vic

Perth public hearing on patient centred care

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing on patient centred care in Perth from Monday 24 June 2019 to Friday 28 June 2019. The Royal Commission will look at the issues concerning patient centred care delivery and good models of care delivery. As part of these hearings the Royal Commission will look at the role of advance care planning to support the provision of quality aged care services, the extent to which people accessing aged care services are able to access palliative care and the quality of palliative care services available to people accessing aged care services. Information on making submissions and the hearings is now available on the Royal Commission Website.

May 2019

New Charter of Aged Care Rights

The new Charter of Aged Care Rights has now been released and will take effect from 1 July 2019.The Charter will replace the existing charters that relate to care recipients' rights and responsibilities for those receiving Government subsidised aged care including:

  • residential care
  • home care packages
  • flexible care
  • the Commonwealth Home Support Programme
  • the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program.

The Charter will provide the same rights to aged care consumers regardless of the type of care they receive and help to create a shared understanding about the rights of people receiving aged care. The Charter has been translated into multiple languages. The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is supporting the Department of Health with raising awareness and providing education about the Charter, which includes support to aged care service providers and consumers. More information is available on the OPAN website.

New aged care quality standards resources

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has released two new videos aimed at helping people receiving and providing aged care services to understand the new Aged Care Quality Standards. There is a video for consumers about the standards called What the new Aged Care Quality Standards mean for you. The aged care service provider educational video has been produced to support aged care services as they prepare for the new aged care Quality Standards coming into effect from 1 July.

Homeless Action Plan - Have your say

The Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) is seeking your feedback on possible actions to make aged care better for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

The Aged Care Diversity Framework - Homelessness Action Plan has been developed by an expert reference group led by HAAG incorporating 600 survey responses, 45 site visits and 25 interviews with managers of specialist homelessness aged care providers.The outcome of the consultations will be provided to the Department of Health for further consideration in June 2019.

Public feedback on the draft Provider Homelessness Action Plan and  Consumer Homelessness Action Plan is open until 22 May 2019.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released new background papers to inform their work. The second paper in this series ‘Medium- and long-term pressures on the system: the changing demographics and dynamics of aged care’ explores complex issues associated with the country’s changing demographic profile, including changes in patterns of disease and dependency, the rising incidence of dementia, changing expectations and the changing cultural profile of the Australian community. It also explores current arrangements, future pressures and a greater need for preventative and restorative health. The third paper ‘Dementia in Australia: nature, prevalence and care’ paper aims to provide a high-level introduction to dementia. The paper reviews the findings of broad-reaching Australian and international research, demographic reports and literature, and addresses a number of key issues. The fourth paper ‘Restrictive practices in residential aged care in Australia’ paper notes that restrictive practices can elicit concern for a number of reasons because fundamentally, they impact on the liberty and dignity of the care recipient and without consent, their use may infringe on an elderly person’s legal rights. The papers are available for download on the Commission’s website.

Home Care Packages Program Manual

The Department of Health is developing a Home Care Packages Program Manual (the Manual) for approved home care providers and consumers. The manual is being developed in response to feedback from the sector about wanting information on the Home Care Packages Program.To assist with the manual development KPMG has released a survey seeking views on the manual from both providers and consumers. People are being encouraged to complete the survey and to circulate to others. The survey is open until 17 May 2019.

April 2019

National Palliative Care Week

National Palliative Care Week is an annual event held to raise awareness of end of life and palliative care issues in the Australian community. This year’s theme is ‘What matters most?' The week is organised by Palliative Care Australia and supported by the Commonwealth Department of Health. For people living with a life limiting illness palliative care can actively support people to have a high quality of life  right to the end of life. There are many resources to help start the conversation, including the Dying to Talk discussion starter and Dying to Talk card game available. Organisations and individuals are encouraged to hold events to raise awareness during the week register your event online.

NHMRC National Dementia Research

The NHMRC Dementia Research Institute has partnered with the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) and key stakeholders to develop a Dementia Research Action Plan targeting Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. Dementia is one of Australia’s most significant health challenges. However, CALD communities are often underrepresented in, and at times excluded from, dementia research and other areas of Australian health and medical research. To help inform the development of the action plan individuals and organisations are invited to complete a short survey.

Senate Inquiry Report 

The Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs tabled the final report into aged care quality assessment and accreditation which commenced in 2017. The inquiry was initiated following the failures at the Oakden facility in South Australia. The inquiry received 103 submissions from aged care peak bodies, providers and stakeholders and made 14 recommendations. The inquiry has recommended it be made clear that residential aged care providers ultimately hold a duty of care to all residents and that the Aged Care Quality Commission has a similar responsibility for regulation. The final report and recommendations and the inquiry submissions has now been released and will inform aged care quality improvements.

Funding for New Initiatives to Support Consumers

Key aged and advocacy organisations have received Commonwealth government funding to support aged care consumers. The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA), Council on the Ageing (COTA) and the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) will receive funding to support aged care consumers. The funding will allow FECCA to continue to represent culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) at the national level and continue advocating for older people from diverse backgrounds to exercise their right to quality aged care. COTA received funding to continue to support consumers in engaging with the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and continue to maintain discussions and bring key information about consumer experiences, views and issues to the Commission’s attention. OPAN received increased funding to deliver the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) which provides free, confidential and independent advocacy support to consumers seeking or receiving government-funded aged care services. Phone calls from consumers seeking advocacy support has increased significantly since the program became national in 2017.

Aged Care Workforce Strategy

Commonwealth funding has been announced to step up industry-led implementation of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy. The latest funding will include boosting the aged care workforce in rural and remote Australia. Uniting Care Australia will lead the delivery of the Accord which aims to strengthen the aged care workforce and improve the quality of aged care services in remote areas. Funding is also being provided to Aged Care Services Australia (ACSA) to work with communities to build the capacity of local aged care workforces by harnessing the knowledge and experience of local communities and people working in aged care. The program aims to bring together aged care organisations working in partnership with the employment, health, education and training sectors to increase and build the aged care workforce.

March 2019

New Single Charter of Rights

A new Charter for Aged Care Rights has been launched and will take effect from 1 July 2019. The charter replaces the four current aged care rights and will apply to all recipients of government funded aged care services. The charter underpins the new aged care quality standards, which are also coming into force on 1 July. The new single charter aims to make it easier for consumers, their families, carers and representatives to understand what they can expect from aged care service. All aged care service providers will be required to sign and provide the charter to every aged care recipient in their service.

Aged Care Sector Committee

The Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, has appointed three new members to the Aged Care Sector Committee. The Committee was established in 2014 and works closely with the Government to develop and implement aged care policy. The Committee’s membership comprises representatives from peak bodies, for-profit and not-for-profit providers, and consumer and workforce representatives. The new members are  Ms Jody Currie representative of the National Advisory Group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care, Professor John Pollaers OAM as Chair of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee and Professor John McCallum as CEO of National Seniors Australia. The committee provides the foundation for ongoing partnership and collaboration between the aged care sector and the Australian Government.

Protecting the Rights of Older Australians

The Attorney-General Christian Porter has launched a National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians (Elder Abuse) 2019-2023. The plan provides an overview of the issues that governments need to act on as a priority as well as actions to address them. The plan sets out a framework for ongoing cooperation, action and monitoring against five key priority areas: enhancing our understanding; improving community awareness and access to information; strengthening service responses; planning for future decision-making; strengthening safeguards for vulnerable older adults. The Commonwealth Government also announced funding over the next four years for 12 frontline services trials and a national free call helpline 1800 ELDERHelp (1800 353 374) designed to support victims of elder abuse.

Palliative Care in the Catholic Sector

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has launched the Palliative Care in the Catholic Sector (788kb pdf) report on palliative care services and explores innovative opportunities to embrace and resource palliative care as an integral part of the health care system. The report was launched at Calvary Hospital North Adelaide which is one of the first private hospitals to introduce home-based palliative care services. The report aim is to contribute to the quality and quantity of information available on Palliative Care issues and reports on internally collected and nationally available data and semi-structured interviews from over 30 palliative care clinicians, palliative care nursing staff, managers, administrators and researchers from CHA member organisations.

New Antipsychotic Tracking Tool (APTT) for Residential aged care

Dementia Training Australia (DTA) has released a free tool to generate regular audit reports on antipsychotic use within an aged care setting. Included in the tool are:

  • A comprehensive PDF instruction manual
  • Two Microsoft Excel files (the APTT itself and an antipsychotic medication list)
  • Instruction videos to guide you in how to set up and use the APTT.

You can download the tool from the DTA website

February 2019

National Palliative Care Strategy 2018 released

The Australian Government has released the updated National Palliative Care Strategy. Endorsed by all Australian Health Ministers the 2018 National Palliative Care Strategy is for use by all Australian governments, as well as organisations and individuals, to guide improvement of palliative care across Australia so that people affected by life-limiting illnesses get the care they need to live well. The strategy has six guiding principles regarded as fundamental to ensuring that all people experience the palliative care they need.

The guiding principles are:

  • Palliative care is person-centred care
  • Death is a part of life
  • Carers are valued and receive the care they need
  • Care is accessible
  • Everyone has a role to play in palliative care
  • Care is high quality and evidence-based

New trial announced to streamline aged care access

The Australian Government has announced the Navigating a New Era in Aged Care Access (139kb pdf) national trail of a new network of aged care navigator centres, information hubs and specialist advisers.  The three new trial programs will offer face-to-face assistance to senior Australians and their families in every state and territory, including selected rural and remote areas. The three trial programs consist of thirty two aged care information hubs to provide locally-targeted information, twenty one community hubs where members support each other in navigating aged care and healthy ageing and nine specialist support workers to offer one-on-one support for vulnerable people.

Aged Care Diversity Action Plan

The Aged Care Diversity Action Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been released. As part of ensuring equality of access to high-quality, culturally appropriate aged care the Australian Government has released the First Aged Care Diversity Action Plan for First Australians. It is the first of its kind in Australia recognising the special needs of First Australians aged 50 years and over. The Aged Care Diversity Framework and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care Diversity Action Plan are available on the Department of Health website.

Royal Commission overview of aged care system

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released its first Background Paper as part of the Royal Commission’s work. The first background paper is called 'Navigating the maze: an overview of Australia’s current aged care system'. The paper outlines different aspects of the aged care system, the services currently being delivered in Australia and the areas in need of substantial reform. Issues addressed include cultural perceptions of ageing and older Australians, expectations for care, the current modes of care available, access, funding and accreditation and quality monitoring.

End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) Grants

ELDAC is calling for expressions of interest from aged care service providers who wish to develop palliative care and advance care planning activities within their organisation.
By registering by 1 April 2019, aged care providers may also be eligible to receive an application grant of up to $20,000. There is no cost to participating aged care providers, who can register to work with the ELDAC team of facilitators who will assist and support your service. For more information (173kb pdf) and to register an expressions of interest.

Meaningful ageing campaign launch promotes holistic view of older people's needs

A new campaign from Meaningful Ageing highlights the importance for older people to find an aged care provider that understands the whole person as much as their clinical needs. The new See Me. Know Me. website includes free downloads of posters, conversation starters for older people with their loved ones, and a set of questions to ask aged care providers.

Pain management in aged care

The Australian Pain Society has launched a new resource to help aged care workers better identify, assess and manage pain among residents. The Pain in Residential Aged Care Facilities: Management Strategies new second edition is designed to be a one-stop shop for pain management strategies and includes revised and expanded content including new chapters on nutrition and pain at the end of life. It is relevant for personal care assistants, registered nurses, general practitioners, pharmacists and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, psychologists, dietitians and occupational therapists.

Royal Commission to hold first community forums

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is asking the Australian community to take the opportunity to speak about their experiences of and ideas about aged care. Community forums are set to begin in March, with the first to be held in Bankstown in Sydney on Friday 1 March 2019 and in Bendigo in Victoria on Tuesday 5 March 2019. Commissioner Lynelle Briggs AO will be present at both. Further details of both forums are available on the website.

Royal Commission into Aged Care Begins

The Royal Commission into Aged Care began the first public hearing in Adelaide on Monday 11 February 2019. To coincide with the Commissions commencement the Government announced a $662 million dollar funding package for the aged care sector. The new funding package includes 10,000 home care packages, mandatory national aged care quality indicator program and a trial of new residential aged care funding. The funding The funding is aimed at ensuring older Australians receive safe, high-quality services when and where they need them and to strengthen safety, quality and transparency.

End of Life law for Clinicians

End of Life Law for Clinicians (ELLC) is a new free training program for clinicians and medical students about the law on end of life decision-making. The program includes ten online training modules and national workshops on key end of life topics. ELLC aims to improve participants’ legal knowledge and enhance their clinical practice. The training program can be accessed online through the ELLC portal.

Palliative Care Australia appoints new CEO

On February 4, 2019 Palliative Care Australia announced the appointment of Mr Rohan Greenland as the organisation’s new chief executive officer (347kb pdf). Most recently holding positions at the National Heart Foundation, Mr Greenland brings considerable experience in health policy and advocacy to the position.

Tools launched to assist with new standards

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has launched a self-assessment guidance tool which includes a both a guide and templates to assist providers with the implementation of the new single Aged Care Quality Standards from 1 July 2019. The guides have been developed in consultation with age care providers to help prepare for assessment by the quality and safety Commission. The tool focusses on improving safety and quality and individual consumers experiences and outcomes.

January 2019

RACGP feature explores palliative care and euthanasia.

In a feature article for RACGP newsGP from January 14, 2019, Doug Hendrie explores the evidence and expert opinion surrounding introduction of voluntary assisted dying legislation in relation to palliative care. Highlighting local GP viewpoints and a newly released report commissioned by Palliative Care Australia (PCA) into the topic, the article comes as other states consider whether or not to follow Victoria’s introduction of legislation. The PCA report prepared by Aspex Consulting, Experience internationally of the legalisation of assisted dying on the palliative care sector, and a second related report prepared by PCA board members and released in November 2018, Reflections and Learnings – Assisted dying in Canada and the United States,are now available on the PCA website.

Specialist Dementia Care Program

Specialist Dementia Care Program (SDCP) is an Australian Government funded initiative to support people exhibiting very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) who are unable to be appropriately cared for by mainstream aged care services. The SDCP will offer specialised transitional residential support, focused on reducing or stabilising symptoms, with the aim of enabling people to move to less intensive care settings. A prototype service is being establishment before the Department advertises grant opportunities for 14 specialist dementia care units, with the first units to become operational in 2020. A full roll out is expected by 2022-23 when there is expected there will be at least one specialist dementia care unit (within a broader residential aged care service) operating in each of the 31 Primary Health Networks.

Submission to Royal Commission invited

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is now inviting submissions from the community and aged care sector. Submissions can be made by completing an online submission form. Submissions will initially be accepted until June 2019. The Commission has developed guidance information to assist in preparing submissions and people wanting other formats are asked to contact by email

December 2018

National Plan to improve unnecessary use of medicines

The new Quality Use of Medicines to Optimise Ageing in Older Australians: Recommendations for a National Strategic Action Plan to Reduce Inappropriate Polypharmacy report (2MB pdf) has been released by the NPS Medicine Wise. The report recommends updating the national medicine guidelines.

The report notes that often issues like falls, confusion, loss of independence, hospital admissions and death are often attributed to ageing when in fact they could be caused the use of too many medications. Many Australians aged 75 or over take five or more medications, and about half of all older adults are taking a medicine that is harmful or unnecessary.

New Humans of Aged care platform launched

The Humans of Aged Care story telling platform has been launched by Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) to highlight the great work done by a diverse range of workers in the aged care sector. It provides an opportunity for people to share their stories and inspire others through hearing about what is good about aged care. The platform is open to anyone delivering care as a care worker or anyone that works in an aged care facility (cook, cleaner, administrator, manager, etc.), an unpaid carer or volunteer, a resident or individual receiving care, or family members who are passionate about ensuring their loved ones continue to live happy fulfilled lives.

Care Hack

Registrations are now open for Care Hack. Care Hack is a free event being held at Flinders University in February 2019. The event is open to people of any age and ability including students, health care professionals, older people who want to have their say, staff from aged care services, policy makers and industry representatives.  Care Hack offers an opportunity for participants to come together to reimagine aged care and its current challenges to lead to an outcome that improves the life and care of older Australians. A hackathon is a multi-day event where people come together in a group think tank and work intensively on ideas aimed at making a difference.

Residents Experiences in Residential Aged Care Report

The first annual report of the data and feedback on Residents’ Experiences to Shape Aged Care Safety and Quality has been released. Since 1 July 2017, random interviews with residents have been conducted by Australian Aged Care Quality Agency assessment teams as part of re-accreditation audits of aged care homes. Over 15,000 interviews were conducted with aged care residents in more than 1,100 homes. Following each re-accreditation audit, individual Consumer Experience Reports for each service provider are published on the Quality Agency website, along with the full site audit report and accreditation status.

November 2018

Palliative Care Australia Funding Extension

On November 27, 2018 Minister for Health Greg Hunt announced a three-year extension of funding (342kb pdf) from the Australian government to Palliative Care Australia. The funding of $1.125 million will support continued activity of the national peak body until 2021-2022.

New Quality Standards for Better Aged Care

The Australian Government has announced that it will implement the most significant changes to quality standards in two decades with the New Quality Standards for Better Aged Care now being fully implemented by 1 July 2019. The standards will empower senior Australians and ensure responsibility and accountability for their care. Providers delivering clinical care will be mandated to maintain quality clinical frameworks including infection control, open disclosure to consumers, their families and representatives, and minimising the use of restraint. The new Aged Care Quality Standards cover: consumer dignity and choice; ongoing assessment and planning with consumers; personal care and clinical care; services and supports for daily living; organisation’s service environment; feedback and complaints; human resources.

Elder Abuse and Aged Care

The Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt launched a new training program and a National Elder Abuse Prevention and Advocacy Framework in Perth on 15 November 2018. The advocacy training program ‘Talk to Us First’ was jointly developed by Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) and Altura Learning.

The aim of this training program is to:

  • support Aged Care Workers and Service Providers in meeting the Quality Standards
  • increase understanding of advocates’ role in supporting residents and consumers to raise and rectify their concerns early
  • increase awareness of how to access advocacy services through OPAN

The training program includes a series of online videos series of online videos will inform aged care staff on elder abuse services and how to support the people they care for. The Minister also launched the OPAN National Elder Abuse Prevention and Advocacy Framework, which aims to reduce the risk of elder abuse and support early prevention among older people.

ELDAC free toolkits and phone line

The End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to support quality care at the end of life.

The ELDAC toolkits provide information in palliative care and advance care planning to support people in primary care, residential aged care, home care, legal issues and creating organisational partnerships.

ELDAC aims to improve care at the end of life for older Australians. To find out more at or call our Helpline 1800 870 155.

October 2018

Aged Care Royal Commission terms of Reference announced

The Australian Government has announced the final terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. The detailed list of terms also include direction to inquire how to best deliver aged care services to the increasing number of Australians living with dementia. Recommendation is also made that the Commission have regard for a list of matters including end of life care. See the full Terms of Reference for more.

First Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner announced

On October 24th the Australian Government announced that Ms Janet Anderson will oversee establishment of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. ‘Ms Anderson will oversee the approval, accreditation, assessment, complaints resolution, monitoring and compliance of Commonwealth-funded aged care providers, reporting directly to the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care.’

New Aged Services Industry Reference Committee

On October 24th the Australian Government announced appointment of members to the Aged Services Industry Reference Committee (IRC). The Committee is tasked with progressing key findings from the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce report, A Matter of Care.

Report on the Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia released

On October 22nd, ten months after commencement, the Report on the Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia was released. After examining the delivery and regulation of the current aged care system and the prevalence of mistreatment, 14 recommendations were made including:

  • A Medicare Benefits Schedule review of medical practitioner visits to residential aged care facilities;
  • That one Registered Nurse is always on site in residential aged care facilities; and monitoring and reporting on the correlation between standards of care and staffing mixes be supported.

Read the full report and recommendations for more.

Aged Care Royal Commission terms of Reference announced

The Australian Government has announced the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Care needs of people with dementia have been specifically referenced. The terms include:

  • Quality and safety including the extent of substandard care.
  • How to best deliver care services to people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities including younger people.
  • How to best deliver care to the increasing number of Australians living with dementia.
  • The future challenges and opportunities for delivering accessible, affordable and high quality aged care services, including people’s desire to remain living at home as they age, and aged care in rural, regional and remote Australia.
  • What the Government, the aged care sector, Australian families and the wider community can do to strengthen care services to ensure quality and safety.
  • How to allow people greater choice, control and independence and how to improve engagement with families and carers.
  • How to best deliver sustainable aged care services through innovative care and investment in the aged care workforce and infrastructure.
  • Any matters that the Commissioners believe is relevant to their inquiry.

September 2018

Dementia Australia survey of inclusion and isolation

On September 20th, Dementia Australia released Inclusion and Isolation: the contrasting community attitudes to dementia, a research report based on a national sample of more than 1,500 people.

Royal Commission into the aged care sector

On September 16, the Australian government announced the decision to establish a Royal Commission into the aged care sector. Interested individuals and organisations were asked to provide feedback to develop the terms of reference of the Royal Commission, with the consultation period ending on September 25th. As of September 24th, approximately 3,000 submissions had been received.

Meaningful Ageing Australia announce winners of the Quality in Pastoral and Spiritual Practice Award

September 20th, Meaningful Ageing Australia announce winners of the Quality in Pastoral and Spiritual Practice Award which celebrates organisations who can demonstrate a sustained and effective program or project that meets the spiritual needs of older people. Winners of the award for 2018, Catholic Healthcare’s Community Services spiritual care program, work with health professionals and others to provide a holistic care program,  including spiritual and emotional support during health crises.

A Matter of Care - Australia's aged care workforce strategy released

The Aged Care Workforce Taskforce strategy is industry focused and identifies fourteen strategic actions to help the aged care industry address current and future workforce challenges. It is designed to help the sector shift attitudes to caring careers, and enhance the quality of care of senior Australians.

August 2018

Guidance and Resources for Providers to support the new Aged Care Quality Standards

Guidance and Resources for Providers to support the new Aged Care Quality Standards: Released in August 2018 by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, the aim of this guide is to assist organisations providing Commonwealth subsidised aged care services to implement, and comply with the eight quality standards defined in the Aged Care Quality Standards. Each standard is presented in terms of:

  • a statement of outcome for the consumer
  • a statement of expectation for the organisation
  • organisational requirements to demonstrate that the standard has been met.

Transforming Aged Care

A new report on Transforming Aged Care (2.60MB pdf) has been produced by HESTA. This report covers the findings of three 2017 research projects that included qualitative interviews and focus groups as well as quantitative information from surveys conducted with over 200,000 aged care workers. The report looked at the current reforms including demographic changes, home package reforms, consumer directed care and the shift to consumers having far greater choice of care options and providers. Also considered was the impact of the reforms, including how the sector is adapting and what the changes mean to providers and employees. The report aims to inform government, providers and employees about the opportunities and challenges for the sector.

July 2018

Australian Medical Association survey on aged care

On 25th July, the fourth AMA Aged Care Survey was released by the Australian Medical Association. Focused on medical care in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), the survey is designed to examine topics including ‘medical practitioner influences to visit (or not visit) RACFs, how often they visit RACFs, and the amount of face to face and non-contact time they spend on each RACF patient’. Open to general practitioners (GPs), consultant physicians, and palliative medicine and geriatrician specialists, a total of 608 respondents completed the survey. Compared to previous years the proportion of respondents who visit RACFs had decreased, and more than one third plan to reduce and end visits to aged care homes in the next two years. More than 50 percent rated improved access to palliative care services as highly important. Read the full report (2.91MB pdf) to learn more.

caring@home - supporting carers to manage breakthrough symptoms safely

The caring@home website – - was launched in July 2018 to assist health care professionals caring for palliative care patients in the community.

caring@home aims to improve the quality of palliative care service delivery across Australia by developing resources that support people to be cared for, and to die at home, if that is their choice.

A national project, caring@home is led by the Brisbane South Palliative Care Collaborative, and funded by the Australian Government. It is producing resources for community service providers, health care professionals and carers to support carers to help manage breakthrough symptoms safely using subcutaneous medicines.

The website provides a wealth of supporting information, clinical viewpoints by guest writers, journal articles and other project information. Education and training resources are in the final stages of development and will be available on the website from November 2018. Register your interest in the project.

Academy challenging ageism

A new Elder Leadership Academy initiative was launched by Dr Catherine Barnett at the South Australian Gerontology (SAGe) Conference 2018 held in Adelaide on 13 July. Dr Catherine Barnett is the Director and founder of the Celebrate Ageing Program aimed at challenging ageism and building respect for older people. The Elder Leadership program challenges ageist norms about older people not contributing to society by empowering elders to work on challenging ageism. Fellows and graduates of the academy can work together on projects and issues identified for change and that celebrate ageing. She adds that there are many ways that people can support the Academy and its successes by promoting the program and its fellowships. Individuals and aged care providers are encouraged to contribute by undertaking a critique of the role that older people play in the community to address ageism. Updates and outcomes from all projects will also be available on the Academy website.

Dementia Essentials

Dementia Essentials is a nationally accredited course for workers who support people living with dementia. The Dementia Training Australia course explores strategies to assist in developing effective communication, planning, engaging in purposeful and meaningful activities, creating a supportive environment, and understanding changed behaviour in people living with dementia. The course is a three-day course, fully funded (cost-free to the learner) and suitable for people working in aged care, health care and community services, who provide assistance to people living with dementia. Participants receive a Statement of Attainment which enables them to claim credits for related qualifications.

June 2018

National Advanced Care Directive Study

The National Advance Care Directive Prevalence Study is calling on aged care organisations to take part in research looking at advance care planning documentation within residential aged care facilities, hospitals and general practices. The aim of the study is to assess the content and quality of Advanced Care Directives (ACD) across different sectors with a view to helping more Australians live well into their older years and according to their values and preferences.

The study will run until 2020 to inform state and national advance care planning policy.
Organisations are encouraged to apply by 26 July 2018

Elder Abuse Resources

The Senior Rights Service, a member of The Older Persons Advocacy Service (OPAN) has released a series of video interviews on insights and perspectives on Elder Abuse. Each video has a discussion sheet and are freely available to community members, professionals and students of all sectors, to enable engagement with the content using suggested discussion questions and to follow up with further reading.

To further the conversations generated by the conference, Seniors Rights Service engaged Ellen Fanning to conduct a series of interviews with experts who attended the conference. These videos, along with a discussion sheet for each video, are freely available to community members, professionals and students of all sectors, to enable engagement with the content using suggested discussion questions and to follow up with further reading.

Dementia and Palliative Care Discussion Paper

PCA and Dementia Australia released a Dementia and palliative care discussion paper (157kb pdf) which provides guidance for health professionals on palliative and end-of-life care for people with dementia and those who support them.

May 2018

Carer and Consumer Engagement in End of Life Care

Carer and Consumer Engagement in Palliative Care and End-of-Life Care (155kb pdf) Consensus Statement was developed by Palliative Care Australia, Consumers Health Forum of Australia and Carers Australia and released during Palliative Care Week. The statement draws upon the National Consensus Statement: Essential Elements for Safe and High Quality End-of-Life Care and the National Palliative Care Standards. It covers the need for responsive care that takes into account the preferences and values of people, their families and carers. It outlines the need for person-centred care that is sensitive to culture and beliefs and recognises the need for carer support.

Policy Development Guideline on Supported Decision-Making for aged care providers

Researchers from the Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre are releasing a Policy Development Guideline on Supported Decision-Making for aged care providers in Australia. Supported Decision-Making is a rights-based approach aimed at enabling people living with disability to make and/or communicate decisions about their own lives. This free seminar will give an overview of the broader research project, and explain the process of guideline development, with tips for implementation in aged care settings.

Advance care planning guide for aged care

Advance Care Planning Australia has launched an advance care planning guide for the aged care sector. The Advance care planning in aged care: A guide to support implementation in community and residential settings (2.38MB pdf) guide was developed in partnership with National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) and provides comprehensive advance care planning information with topics on engaging with patients and families, policies and procedures and legal aspects relevant to each state and territory.

Consumer experiences of aged care at home

National Seniors Australia was contracted by the Australian Government Department of Health to document consumer experience of aged care services delivered in the community. The Accentuating the positive: Consumer experiences of aged care at home (613kb pdf) report aims to inform the work of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce in building a comprehensive and sustainable workforce strategy for the industry, and in doing so, improve the quality of life of aged care consumers. The report notes that although most older people receiving care at home thought workers treat them with respect and met their support needs, there is a need for more carer supports and better coordination between home care and health services.

April 2018

New Quality and Safety Commission for Aged Care

The Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has announced the formation of a new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. The commission will bring together the functions of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and aged care regulatory functions of the Department of Health under a single quality and safety commissioner. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will enable unified, responsive regulation, compliance and complaints handling. A new taskforce within the Department of Health will oversee the reforms to ensure the new commission is in place by 1st January 2019. The new integrated agency aims to give people greater confidence in the regulation of aged care and ensure senior Australians and their families have clear, concise information when choosing aged care.

  • The quality reforms will include; Developing options, in consultation with the aged care sector, for a Serious Incident Response Scheme to ensure the right systems are in place to identify an incident and prevent it from occurring again
  • A performance rating against quality standards
  • A user-friendly provider comparison tool on the My Aged Care website

ELDAC: Supporting quality care at the end of life

End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) is a project funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to support quality care at the end of life. ELDAC is building capacity within and linkages between the health care sector and aged care industry by offering a set of five evidence-based toolkits to support palliative care in residential, home and primary care settings. It also provides access to a telephone and web-based navigation services to enable aged care workers, nurses and GPs find palliative care information and details about service providers. CareSearch is a proud partner in the ELDAC Consortium and palliAGED evidence and resources are used in the new website. Find out more:

The role of Death Doulas in end of life care, Deb Rawlings, Flinders University

In 2016, the CareSearch Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) ‘Dying2Learn’ highlighted the emerging role of the ‘death doula’. Historically associated with pregnancy and childbirth, the doula role generally provides social, emotional and practical support. Today it appears that many consumers are choosing to place trust in ‘death doulas’ who can advocate for them or fill the gaps in meeting their end of life and palliative care needs. This emerging role and its contribution to end of life models of care has not been widely published in academic literature, but its relevance to an ageing and geographically dispersed Australian population is evident. Deb Rawlings and a team of researchers at Flinders University are addressing this information gap by conducting a survey of palliative care nurses who are aware of patients and families receiving support/guidance/care from a death doula or similar support person. This is part of a study called: What role do Death Doulas play in end of life care? They would like you to consider taking their survey - which should take no more than 20 minutes to complete. It is voluntary, and all responses will be anonymous. Access the survey and learn more about this research which is supported by the CareSearch Research Data Management System (RDMS) for survey-based research.

Nominations Call for Aged Care Quality Awards

Nominations for the aged care 2018 Better Practice Awards opened on 1 April 2018. The awards are conducted by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and will be presented during the Better Practice for the Future national conference in Sydney on 22-24 August 2018. Find out more at the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency website. Closing date 30 April 2018.

Ageing across The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth Association for the Ageing (CommonAge) has released the comparative report (5.11MB pdf) it commissioned from Oxford University’s Institute of Population Ageing in the run-up to a forum on elders taking place alongside next month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London.

March 2018

Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce

An Aged Care Strategy Taskforce chaired by Professor John Pollaers will develop a strategy for growing and sustaining the workforce providing aged care services and support of older people, to meet their care needs in a variety of settings across Australia. The taskforce is based on extensive consultations and engagement with consumers, their families, workers, employers, health professionals, volunteers and informal carers to understand the critical touchpoints in the care people need as they age. In response to early feedback from the sector an Industry Reference Committee (IRC) is being formed to tackle critical skills and workforce issues identified. The IRC will review and develop national competency standards for aged care vocational training and will help facilitate any required education and training reforms. The Aged Care IRC will be an opportunity for industry and consumers to work together to consider the competencies and skills needed by the workforce, as well as how to incorporate new living well models of care and career pathways. The taskforce is inviting everyone working in aged care to participate in an employee engagement and enablement survey to inform the development of the strategy. Aged care workers have until 15th April to complete the survey.

My Aged Care Learning Environment

The Department of Health has announced that they are building a single platform for all My Aged Care training. The My Aged Care Learning Environment (MACLE) will allow the My Aged Care workforce to: strengthen their skills and knowledge; build on the capabilities related to their My Aged Care role; undertake accredited and non-accredited learning experiences. The department and CIT Solutions will hold co-design workshops across metropolitan and regional Australia between 24 April and 23 May 2018 to consult with service providers, assessors, key stakeholders and peak bodies during the development phase. People interested in the workshops can complete the online form by 11 April 2018. For further information please contact the My Aged Care team at or

Respite services review

The Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt, is currently seeking input, comment and consultation from the community on the review into Respite Care (39kb pdf). The review is being conducted by the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) looking at the use and funding of respite care services in both community and residential care settings. Respite care provides support for carers and the people they care and is accessed for many reasons. It can be provided in the care recipient's home, respite cottages, day centres, or residential care facilities and can be for a few hours or days depending on need. A consultation paper was issued on 9 March and community views are sought on whether the current respite arrangements meet the needs of carers, care recipients and providers. Submissions in response to the paper close on the 13 April.


Greater Choice for at Home Palliative Care program

The $8.3 million Greater Choice for at Home Palliative Care program has been formally launched with the February 27th announcement of the ten Primary Health Networks (PHNs) selected to take part in the trial which runs until June 2020. The aim of the program is “to improve coordination and integration of palliative care across primary, secondary, tertiary and community health services to support at home palliative care for those that choose it”. To learn more about the trial visit the Department of Health website.

The PHNs selected to coordinate the program with local and state services, and aged care providers are:

  • Brisbane South;
  • Central QLD, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast;
  • Gold Coast;
  • South Western Sydney;
  • Murrumbidgee;
  • Western NSW;
  • North Western Melbourne;
  • Eastern Melbourne;
  • Adelaide, and
  • Country WA.

February 2018

Community palliative care approaches 

A new community-based approach to palliative care is being launched by The GroundSwell Project. Eight communities around the country will engage in the compassionate communities’ model of palliative care in their local area. The initiative will include a practice forum and a digital resource hub aimed at improving end-of-life care. Compassionate Communities are described as a global movement to engage communities to think about how care is provided to people who are dying.

Diversity Action Plan Consultations 

Consultation are being held to develop Aged Care Action Plans which underpin the new Aged Care Diversity Framework released in December 2017. The individual action plans will target the particular barriers and challenges faced by older people from CALD communities, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex seniors and older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia is inviting providers, culturally and linguistically diverse consumers and carers to have their say (119kb pdf) on building a more inclusive aged care system. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander action plan is being developed by a collaboration between the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. They are encouraging consumers, aged care providers and peak organisations to complete an online survey to share their views on the needs of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex seniors can contribute by contacting the National LGBTI Health Alliance.

New Guidelines released to reduce unnecessary prescriptions 

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) approved guidelines that assist healthcare professionals determine when it might be suitable to trial the withdrawal of medications when treating people living with dementia. Professor Simon Bell from the Centre for Medicine Use found there was increasing evidence about the value of proactively discontinuing medicines for which the potential benefits no longer outweigh the potential risks. The guideline provides clinicians, consumers and carers with new recommendations regarding the withdrawal of cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine. In particular, the guideline highlights the important role of people with dementia and their carers in deciding whether or not to trial discontinuation.

Quality measures and Polypharmacy

A recent analysis of chronic pain management in Australian Aged care found that analgesics and related medications are associated with significant adverse effects, and older people may not tolerate doses that deliver satisfactory pain control. A recent review by researchers at the University of Sydney and UNSW also found “a very high proportion of polypharmacy” in residential aged care and called for a review of aged care policy and the establishment of a “robust and comprehensive” aged care quality data system. The researchers found that negative clinical outcomes were rarely reported in five clinical areas they examined – with the exception of polypharmacy.

New holographic technology to assist in home consultations 

A world first trial of new cutting edge technology is now underway in Australia by community and aged care provider Silverchain to use 'holoportation' to deliver remote consultations by health professionals to clients in the community. Healthcare professionals will be will be able to appear in real-time as holograms projected via the Microsoft HoloLens headset. The trial will investigate the acceptance and use of the new mixed reality technology among a large cohort of clients and staff and the outcomes achieved, such as the impact on minimising unnecessary residential aged care or hospital admissions.

National framework for Rural Generalist medical specialty

An historic agreement between the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine will lead to the development of a national framework for Rural Generalist medical specialty. The Rural Generalist (RG) is a medical practitioner who is trained to meet the specific current and future health care needs of Australian rural and remote communities, in a sustainable and cost-effective way, by providing both comprehensive general practice and emergency care, and required components of other medical specialist care in hospital and community settings as part of a rural healthcare team.

January 2018

Draft Aged Care Quality Standards released

The draft Aged Care Quality Standards are now available. A single set of quality standards is a key deliverable of the Single Aged Care Quality Framework. The Aged Care Quality Standards will apply to all aged care services and will replace the current four sets of aged care standards. The Standards have been structured so that organisations will only have to meet the Standards that are relevant to them. The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency is developing guidance and educational material to support the Standards and has commenced piloting of the draft Standards and guidance material.

Pain Priority for Aged Care Reform

Painaustralia has provided a Submission to the Consultation on Specialist Dementia Care Units (SDCUs). It has identified effective pain management as a core area of responsibility across all aged care settings and recommends that it be considered in all aspects of aged care reform.

CareSearch Job Vacancy: Research Associate Clinical

The Research Associate (Clinical) will support the quality and currency of clinical resources within the CareSearch website by identifying and reviewing new evidence and proposing updates to web content. The incumbent will work with the Senior Research Fellow (CareSearch) and the CareSearch Director and contribute to the development, delivery and evaluation of allied health engagement activities. Applications close 11:00am, Monday 19 February 2018.

innovAGEING to accelerate Aged Care Innovation

The Australian Government will contribute $400,000 over the next two years to innovAGEING, a partnership to drive and promote innovation across Australia’s rapidly growing aged care services industry. Initiatives include:

  • A national awards program to encourage and reward innovation
  • Twice-yearly national Aged Care Open Innovations Lab workshops
  • Eight innovator speaker events across the country each year
  • An 8-week innovation program for established businesses and start-ups to solve aged care industry problems, culminating in a business plan competition, and
  • An online network actively linking participants with experts and business development coaches

Cause of Death Patterns and Peoples Use of Aged Care

A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report indicates that almost 245,000 older people died in Australia in the 2 years to 30 June 2014. The majority of people (80%) had used an aged care program before their death, and the leading causes of death were coronary heart disease, dementia and cerebrovascular disease.

Dementia Care Costs

New dementia care costs research from Flinders University estimates that it costs approximately AU$88,000 a year to provide health and residential care for a person living with dementia in Australia.

Webinar on the safer use of medicines 
The next webinar from the Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign is titled “Safer use of medicines for cognitive impairment” and will be held on 20th February at 2:30 - 3:30pm (AEST).
The seventh webinar will be of interest to clinicians who would like to learn more about medication safety for people with cognitive impairment in hospital.

Spiritual training tour
Meaningful Ageing Australia is providing spiritual care and ageing training program to aged care staff and volunteers in 17 regional centres. The seminars provide up-to-date information and experience about spiritual care and provide a forum for meeting others and developing local networks.

Frailty in community dwelling older people
A new report from Benetas highlights the importance of early detection of frailty in older people, and the provision of appropriate support services for those identified as frail. Frailty is a condition in which the individual is vulnerable, and at increased risk of adverse health outcomes and/or dying when exposed to a stressor. The validation of a simple and reliable screening test for detecting frailty, that has been shown to be implementable in a variety of settings helps clients, carers, service providers and policy makers to easily and accurately identify older people who are frail and to provide early, appropriate, proactive support based on good evidence to help preserve their functional independence for as long as possible. A new online Positive Ageing Resource Centre makes both screening and resources for the amelioration of frailty easily and freely accessible to the general public

EN Toolkit
The PCC4U EN Toolkit aims to develop capacity in the enrolled nurse workforce, providing care for people with life-limiting conditions. The suite of eLearning modules and supporting resources can be seamlessly integrated into EN courses. A special section discusses options and exemplars for including the EN Toolkit in the curriculum. The PCC4U team delivers a range of activities to support implementation of the EN Toolkit.

Muslim Aged Care - A practical guide for service providers (2MB pdf)
This resource covers topics such as religion, culture, and identity of Muslims to provide the context and basis for planning culturally-appropriate care for Muslims. Various features of the guide can help providers of aged care to better understand and respond to the cultural needs of Muslims.

Two new Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) advance care planning fact sheets are now available on HealthShare, one for individuals (126kb pdf) and one for substitute decision-makers (363kb pdf). There is also a recently updated Advance Care Planning Australia Learning with a module for the primary care setting. New education materials for GPS have also been developed by ACPA in collaboration with ThinkGP. They include a video, learning module, and blog entry. The ThinkGP module is accredited under the RACCP QI&CPD program (2 CPD points) and the ACRRM PDP program (1 CME point).

Decision Assist is closed
On 31 December 2017, the Decision Assist program closed. A new initiative called End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) has commenced. ELDAC is a new program that seeks to improve the care of older Australians through advance care planning and palliative care activities. The Decision Assist website is no longer being updated and will shut down in June.

December 2017

Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport announced yesterday it had commenced an Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia following Minister Hunt’s referral on Wednesday. Committee chair Trent Zimmerman said the examination would particularly focus on the quality of care and services provided to aged care residents.

Victoria's Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017: An overview from End Of Life Law in Australia
Victoria has become the first Australian jurisdiction since the Northern Territory in 1997 to legalise assisted dying. On 29 November 2017, the Victorian Legislative Assembly agreed to amendments made by the Victorian Legislative Council, resulting in the enactment of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) (‘the Act’)The new laws will likely take effect on 19 June 2019.

CareTrack Aged
This 4 year project has been funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. CareTrack Aged is looking at what proportion of care encounters delivered to older Australians in residential aged care facilities (RACF) are appropriate i.e. in line with the evidence? The study will also measure quality of life for residents. The work is being led by Australian Institute of Health Innovation. 

November 2017

Aged Care Diversity Framework
A new government guide aims to embed diversity into aged care service design and delivery. Six priority areas are described:

  • Making informed choices
  • Adopting systemic approaches to planning and implementation
  • Accessible care and support
  • Supporting a proactive and flexible system
  • Respectful and inclusive services
  • Meeting the needs of the most vulnerable.

The framework is supported by a range of tools and resources.

Life expectancy and potentially avoidable deaths in 2013-2015
This report presents information on life expectancy and potentially avoidable deaths in 2013-2015 across Australia, by Primary Health Network and smaller local areas (SA3). Key facts from this report include:

  • In Australia, life expectancy at birth was 82.4 years in 2013-2015, up from 82.1 years in 2011-2013.
  • The age-standardised rate of potentially avoidable deaths was 108 per 100,000 people in 2013-2015, down from 117 per 100,000 people in 2009--011.

Views Sought on Promised Specialist Dementia Care Units
In 2016, the Australian Government announced it would establish Specialist Dementia Care Units (SDCUs) to support people who experience very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). The Government committed to establish at least one SDCU in each of the 31 Primary Health Network regions. A detailed consultation paper has been prepared and stakeholder views on the policy design and implementation of SDCUs is being sought. Consultation closes 21 January 2018

New Aged Care Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program funds organisations to provide culturally appropriate aged care to older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people close to home and community. Additional annual grant funding will deliver new and expanded residential aged care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote locations.

Improving Aged Care for LGBTI Senior Australians (989kb pdf)
The Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Aged Care Strategy Review has been released. This report reviews the actions undertaken to implement the principles and goals of the LGBTI Strategy and considers the success of the LGBTI Strategy – and opportunities for improvement – from the perspectives of stakeholders. The Review notes substantial progress in aged care workforce training to support older LGBTI Australians, and improved collaboration between the Government and the LGBTI sector.

GRIM and MORT books (deaths)
The AIHW has released two sets of data about death in Australia. The GRIM book y present age- and sex-specific counts and rates by cause of death, alongside other summary measures.  MORT books are Excel workbooks that contain recent deaths data for specific geographical areas, sourced from the AIHW National Mortality Database. Both the GRIM and MORT Books have been updated with deaths data for 2015.
Download data tables: General Record of Incidence of Mortality (GRIM) books
Download data tables: Mortality Over Regions and Time (MORT) books

Dementia Friendly Communities
Dementia Australia (formerly Alzheimer's Australia) has produced an education hub aimed at informing all aspects of community - clinicians, professionals, services, businesses, the general public - about dementia and how to ensure that those in our community are not disadvantaged and stigmatised.

Advance Care Planning Australia Initiatives 
Advance Care Planning Australia will be undertaking a number of new initiatives in 2018-20, including:

  • National Advance Care Planning Day to build community awareness and uptake 
  • online and face-to-face education and training to support best practice advance care planning  
  • volunteer advance care planning education project 
  • national curricula implementation 
  • national advance care planning competency framework, and
  • a research project exploring the role of the substitute decision-maker

Aged Care Workforce Taskforce
The Australian Government has announced an expert taskforce to develop a wide-ranging workforce strategy, focused on supporting safe, quality aged care for senior Australians. The Taskforce will be led by Professor John Pollaers and will reference the June 2017 report of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee inquiry into the future of the aged care sector workforce, the workforce-related observations in the government commissioned Legislated Review of Aged Care 2017 and the recently released Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes

October 2017

Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes
This report identifies a number of key elements for an effective regulatory system for aged care quality:

  • An integrated safety and quality regulator  
  • Information on care quality for consumers and providers 
  •  Supporting consumers and their representatives to exercise their rights  
  • More effective accreditation and compliance monitoring  
  • Enhanced complaints handling

Trends in hospitalisations due to falls by older people, Australia 2002-03 to 2012-13
This report presents trends in fall related hospital care for people aged 65 and older from 2002-03 to 2012-13. There was a decrease in the rate of hip fractures due to falls (-2% per year) between 2002-03 and 2012-13. In contrast, falls resulting in head injuries increased at a particularly high rate (7% per year).

CareSearch Videos
So what can we do to help? Each year CareSearch actively supports carers and Carers Week by offering information and resources around various aspects of palliative care. This year we recognise the cultural diversity of Australians and are offering a suite of multicultural videos in English, Greek, Italian, Cantonese, Mandarin and Arabic. We invite you to take a look and share them with your family and friends.

Palliative Care Online Training Portal
The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has relaunched the Palliative Care Online Training Portal, funded by the Australian Government. The portal provides free non-clinical interactive training to carers, community and aged care workers, students, volunteers, family members and clinicians who want to build their skills in caring for someone with a life-limiting illness.

Dementia Australia
Alzheimer's Australia has relaunched as Dementia Australia, a unified, national peak body for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. Alzheimer’s disease as the most common form but there are 100 types of dementia and, for this reason, the organisation has adapted  to be inclusive of all.  

Review of the Aged Care Funding Instrument Report
This report prepared by Aged Care Solutions focused on adapting the ACFI to be suitable for an external assessment model, improvements to reduce subjectivity and bringing the tool in line with contemporary care practices. It highlights a range of options to modify Australia’s residential care funding instrument and adds to the options provided in a recent University of Wollongong report. A Resource Utilisation and Classification Study is currently underway at the University of Wollongong’s Australian Health Services Research Institute.

A national innovation network for the age services industry  aims to reinterpret the concept of ageing in relation to the design and delivery of services. The network will foster the development of new business models through  and enable the industry to be more consumer-centric in its service delivery.

Head to Health
A new digital mental health gateway helps people take control of their mental health in a way they are most comfortable with and can complement face-to-face therapies. Head to Health provides a one-stop shop for services and resources delivered by some of Australia’s most trusted mental health service providers. They include free or low-cost apps, online support communities, online courses and phone services.

Guidelines on Integrated Care for Older People
The provision of integrated care is key for older people. The World Health Organization Guidelines on Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) propose evidence-based recommendations for health care professionals to prevent, slow or reverse declines in the physical and mental capacities of older people.

Caring for LGBTI People with Dementia
This new online course has been launched to help health and aged care workers deliver inclusive care and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people with dementia. The e-learning course is delivered by Dementia Training Australia and includes four learning modules

Tech Connect
Tech Connect is a guide for leaders in aged care to support aged care residents’ spiritual wellbeing by connecting with family and loved ones using technology/social media. The guide provides an overview of the program, from planning, implementation through to evaluation. It also provides a special section on using technology to maintain relationships for older people living with dementia

September 2017

Aged Care Well Being and Satisfaction Survey
The South Australian Innovation Hub has developed and trialled an aged care quality-of-life framework as part of first-of-its-kind research describing and measuring subjective wellbeing and satisfaction of residents.

Pathways to permanent residential aged care in Australia: a Pathways in Aged Care (PiAC) analysis of people's aged care program use before first entry to permanent residential aged care in 2013-14
Some 61,300 people first entered permanent residential aged care (PRAC) in 2013-14. While they used over 1,000 different combinations of other aged care in the preceding years, the most common pathway (used by 1 in 4 people) was through Home and Community Care (HACC). Many pathways showed a similar pattern of moving 'up' to progressively higher levels of support.

GEN, Aged Care Data
GEN, a new website managed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, is provides access to Australia’s aged care information and data breakdowns. The website accesses databases from the National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse, managed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Aged Care Complaints Annual Report
The Aged Care Complaints Commissioner’s annual reports describe the types and numbers of complaints they see and how they deal with them. It includes case studies showing how complaints can improve care and services. It also highlights the work we are doing to assist people to raise their concerns with services and to improve the way aged care services respond to complaints. The most common complaints about residential care were about medication administration and management, falls prevention and post fall management, and personal and oral hygiene. The most common complaints about home care packages were about fees and charges, lack of consultation and communication, and communication about fees and charges.

Home care packages program data report 27 February – 30 June 2017
The Home Care Packages Program provides older people who want to stay at home with access to a range of ongoing personal services, support services and clinical care that help them with their day-to-day activities. The report provides data on the operations of the home care packages program since commencement of the reforms to home care on 27 February 2017 through to 30 June 2017.

August 2017

Resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
My AgedCare has released new resources to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people learn more about home care supports. It includes a video animation and information in different  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Pride in Health + Wellbeing
This is a national membership-based program that aims to provide partners year-round support, training and guidance in LGBTI inclusive service delivery. The new program, developed by NSW LGBTI health organisation ACON as part of its Pride Inclusion Programs, aims to make service provision within the aged care, health, human services and wellbeing sectors more inclusive of LGBTI people

2016 Ministerial Dementia Forum Report
The report of discussions from the 2016 forum describe a number of key themes including: Dementia friendly communities and reducing stigma; Early contact with primary health and diagnosis; Navigating the system; Transitions and understanding the journey; Support for carers; Diversity of consumers; Health/aged care interface; Role of technology; and Financial contributions to support. 

National Palliative Care Strategy Consultation
Urbis is facilitating online and face-to-face consultation on the updated Draft National Palliative Care Strategy. The online consultation provides an opportunity to comment on the draft National Strategy and to offer any suggestions for improvement. Workshops are also being held in each capital city in August.

Positive CALD Ageing Network 
FECCA has launched a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to building the capacity of the aged-care sector to provide appropriate care and support to older Australians from CALD backgrounds and recognising that a significant proportion of aged-care employees are from multicultural backgrounds.

July 2017

Streamlined My Aged Care improves consumer support and access
New policies and processes have been implemented to make life easier for all consumers, particularly older people with diverse needs, and health professionals who use My Aged Care.

National Aged Care Advocacy Program
Support and guidance for seniors will be fundamental to the new National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) to be delivered by the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN).

National Advance Care Planning Prevalence Study
Decision Assist has funded a project to determine the prevalence of advance care planning documentation for people aged over 65 in hospitals, general practice and aged care homes. Applications to participate in the National Advance Care Planning Prevalence Study are now open to all public, private, accredited hospitals, residential aged care facilities and general practices. Application closing date extended to 10 August 2017

June 2017

Advance Care Planning Implementation Guide
The National Ageing Research Institute is undertaking a project, funded by Decision Assist, which aims to develop an advance care planning implementation guide for aged care providers. If you are working in community or residential aged care, you can help by completing a survey exploring how advance care planning is implemented and discussed within your organisation. The survey will take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.  To take the survey please go to:
If you have any queries in relation to this survey or the project please contact Kerry Hwang on (03) 8387 2666 or

Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response
The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) launched its report Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 131), on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2017. The Report includes 43 recommendations for law reform to safeguard older people from abuse and support their choices and wishes.

Technology Roadmap for Aged Care
This initiative of the Aged Care Industry IT Company was developed in conjunction with a team from the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University.The roadmap shows how to make technology a core part of aged operations and service delivery and the action needed in the short, medium and long term to address ICT-related shortcomings across key areas including operations, care, information and workforce.

Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services: Reforms to Human Services
The Productivity commission has produced a draft report examining  to put the people who use human services at the heart of service provision. The Commission's report notes that most people are not dying where they want to die and makes a series of recommendations. People and organisations can make a submission or attend a public hearing.

Cross-cultural Care Program for Aged Care Staff
This free online course includes five modules:

  • Module 1: An Introduction to cross-cultural care module for new staff

  • Module 2: Cross-cultural communication

  • Module 3: Cross-cultural leadership

  • Module 4: Cross-cultural dementia care

  • Module 5: Cross-cultural end of life care.

Find the Help You Need with My Aged Care
A new information campaign is highlighting how  the My Aged Care phone line and website can provide information and help older Australians find out about aged care services and how to access them.

2017 Decision Assist and Palliative Care Australia Continuing Professional Development Scholarships
You are invited to submit an application for the Decision Assist and Palliative Care Australia Continuing Professional Development Scholarships. The aim of the scholarships is to improve palliative care delivery in aged care.

Decision Assist Webinar: Advance Care Planning in Primary Care
This webinar is designed to enhance the knowledge, skills and confidence of the primary care workforce to promote, initiate and continue discussions regarding future health care preferences in routine care. The webinar will be held from 7pm till 8pm on Wednesday 7 June 2017.

May 2017

Principles for Palliative and End-of-Life Care in Residential Aged Care
New principles collaboratively developed by peak aged care and palliative care bodies could be used to guide care for older Australians and support their families and carers. The principles address recognising end-of-life; involving consumers in planning and decision making; timely access to care and care that is holistic and meets spiritual and psychosocial needs; care that meets the needs of those with dementia and cognitive impairment; dignity and respect; and bereavement support.   

Dying2Learn supports National Palliative Care Week
CareSearch has worked with the Dying2Learn team to create some resources using content from the recently completed 2017 MOOC.

Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA)
The new Advance Care Planning Australia website makes it easier to find best practice resources, education and training for advance care planning. There is also a new Decision Assist website.

Discussion Starter Online Card Game
Talking in advance can reduce stress at the time of a serious illness and can help your family to make decisions about your care if you can no longer make them for yourself. This online set of cards from PCA can help the conversation.

Developing an Aged Care Diversity Framework
The Department of Health is seeking input and feedback on the aged care diversity framework. The Framework is intended to assist providers, and enhance the sectors capacity, to better meet the diverse characteristics and life experiences of older people thereby ensuring inclusive aged care services. Feedback is needed by 19 June 2017.

Appointment of Panel to review National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes
Ms Kate Carnell AO, and Professor Ron Paterson ONZM, will conduct the independent review on national aged care quality regulatory processes.

Page updated 23 August 2019