LASA Fusion

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Autumn 2021 |


Making Australia the best place in the world to age well.



What the experts say about aged care today and into the future. How to stay ahead of changing regulations. Innovative models of management and care. Technologies that support safety and quality. How to build an effective workplace culture.

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CONTENTS The voice of aged care Autumn 2021 |

OPINION 5 Chairman’s Column 7

CEO’s Column

9 Minister’s Column 11 A new year brings new opportunities

15 The price of success is eternal vigilance

17 A human rights approach to aged care



Linda Baraciolli Leading Age Services Australia T: (02) 6230 1676 E:

20 Care, dignity and respect 22 What do LASA Members think

COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING MANAGER Simon Page Leading Age Services Australia T: (08) 9474 9200 E:

of the Royal Commission’s final report?

23 #CareAboutAgedCare 26 COVID-19 update 28 Australia’s inaugural Big Christmas Sing-A-Long a great festive success


30 SQMS now better than ever

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32 Retirement Living Code of

Conduct gets tick of approval

34 Comparing aged care and NDIS supports

37 Less is more

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Melbourne: Neil Muir (03) 9758 1433

Adelaide: Robert Spowart 0488 390 039


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Administration Tarnia Hiosan (03) 9758 1436

41 Daring to be next AGED CARE AUSTRALIAS NEW PRIORITY 42 If you want excellent care, you need to invest in staff

45 Not just one voice 47 Royal Commission endorses

Cover shot: Pam Midgley with Rosemary Midgley, aged three, enjoying the new intergenerational child care centre on-site at Chaffey Aged Care in Merbein, Victoria.

‘small household’ models of accommodation

52 The importance of research in

Fusion is the regular publication of Leading Age Services Australia (LASA). Unsolicited contributions are welcome but LASA reserves the right to edit, abridge, alter or reject material. Opinions expressed in Fusion are not necessarily those of LASA and no responsibility is accepted by the Association for statements of fact or opinions expressed in signed contributions. Fusion may be copied in whole for distributed amongst an organisation’s staff. No part of Fusion may be reproduced in any other form without written permission from the article’s author.


58 Volunteering in aged care 59 Elephants in the room 61 Good mental health is essential for healthy ageing

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS 63 Plan now for the proposed new

residential aged care assessment and funding model

66 The manager’s role in achieving an amazing workplace culture

69 Culture is critical to business success

71 Rethinking the future of home care 73 The role of technology and it

support services in aged care

74 Quality standards and project design

77 Why a visitor management system is a must-have

78 Cleaning routines should be everyone’s business

81 Supporting nutrition in aged care 82 A whole new world: feasibility,

design and project delivery in 2021

84 Emergency planning MEMBER STORIES 85 WA leads with innovative aged care management model

87 IRT ingenuity 88 How LDK Australia seniors living is driving change in the industry across australia

90 Mario’s sky-high Best Week 91 Reaching out online sparks interest


54 Built-in intergenerational DISCLAIMER

57 Combatting loneliness in ageing


FRESH IDEAS 92 Fresh Ideas




are, Dignity and Respect is the title of the final report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which is what we all want to achieve in aged care across Australia.

It has been a long journey to get to this point and it is compelling to read the over 3,000-page report in detail. What LASA Members called for at the start of the Royal Commission, was a root and branch review of all of the elements of the aged care system, because the outcome we want is better and world-leading care, overall. It means—as the Prime Minister said when he released the report—a new paradigm that is structurally different to the system that has been adjusted for decades, that supports older Australians to continue to live life to the full. Services must be safe and timely and must assist older people to live an active, self-determined and meaningful life, with safety and caring that allows for dignified living. This is essentially what older people and their families need, and what our Members want to deliver to older Australians. As we read this report, we see that the Commissioners looked at every element of the system and took great care in examining the true stories—in cities, towns and in remote areas. They found failures in aged care and we re-iterate that any instance of harm, sub-standard care, mistreatment or abuse is absolutely unacceptable. Fortunately, the report also highlights that many dedicated aged care workers are doing an excellent job—with compassion, respect and professionalism—often in challenging circumstances. As Commissioner Pagone said, “The extent of substandard care in Australia’s aged care system reflects both poor

Dr Graeme Blackman AO FTSE FAICD Chairman, Leading Age Services Australia

quality… and fundamental flaws with the way the Australian aged care system is designed and governed.” Even though there are various options for reform, Commissioner Pagone said, “The differences between us may add strength to the reforms which are made.” Commissioner Briggs re-iterated that their disagreement on some recommendations was a “secondary issue to the quality and safety task at hand, on which we agree”. Both Commissioners developed six overarching themes: • to put older people first; • to provide fair and equal access to care; • to deliver the best quality outcomes; • to ensure the aged care system is the best and keeps improving; • to make sure care is accountable, honest and answerable to our communities; and • to sustain care that is adequately resourced, resilient and enduring. The 148 recommendations include a new Aged Care Act, based on the value and respect of our elders and their individual needs. Expanding staffing and professionalism is crucial, with better wages to attract and retain a quality workforce, plus stipulated care hours. There are recommendations for improved governance structures, with stronger control and oversight over aged care services including an Inspector-General of Aged Care, plus an independent Australian Aged Care Commission or a restructure of the Department of Health. Home Care Packages are a top priority, with the aim to eliminate the queue by the end of this year, which will take considerable strategic planning.

Continued on page 6


OPINION Continued from page 5

The report also highlights the need to make dementia care a top priority in the new system. Up to this point—as Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) has always argued—many of the decisions have been driven by governments that have put our Members in an impossible situation, as acknowledged in the Royal Commission finance hearings last year.

That is why LASA is co-leading the Australian Aged Care Collaboration, conducting a national campaign, ensuring the opportunity presented by the Royal Commission is not missed. The Royal Commission found that Australia spends less than half of what other comparable countries spend on aged care, and getting the support for the system right must be part of the answer.

There are recommendations for new funding to meet the cost of high quality care and an Independent Pricing Authority, which LASA has advocated for, over many years.

The position of resourcing quality care, delivered with passion and compassion, has now been vindicated in the final report— and our focus must be on the solutions.

The Commissioners recommend a simpler and fairer approach to personal contributions and means testing for aged care, along with funding arrangements drawing on a potential new aged care levy to deliver appropriate finance on a sustainable basis.

We must lay strong foundations in response to the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission, and work together to achieve the result that we all want and need, for our treasured older Australians. ■



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he final report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is a crucial guide for our nation’s desire and obligation to do the right thing for older Australians, ensuring they have the care, choice and respect they need and deserve. There are variations in the recommendations in this important document but the Commissioners agree on the majority of major decisions, based on two years of analysis. How we translate the Commissioners’ intent into actions and outcomes will determine the success, or not, of the Royal Commission process. This compels governments, our industry and the nation to come together to make sure we get this right. As an industry, we welcome the Prime Minister’s ‘change the paradigm’ commitment and his emphasis on a new Aged Care Act that will see the aged care system based on meeting the needs of individuals. As I said in evidence—and in subsequent media interviews—I am sorry for the harm that failures in our aged care system have caused older Australians and their families. Any instance of harm, sub-standard care, mistreatment or abuse is totally unacceptable. The safety and dignity of older Australians is not negotiable and the failures identified by the Royal Commission must never be repeated. We are committed to doing better, we have made changes to raise standards and we are continuing to do so. The report also highlighted that many dedicated aged care workers are doing an excellent job—with compassion, respect and professionalism—often in challenging circumstances and with limited resources. We have a broken system and the Royal Commission is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the aged care system better for everyone.

Sean Rooney Chief Executive Officer Leading Age Services Australia

A system that results in accessible, affordable care and services, choice for older people when and where they need it, delivered by well-trained and well-paid staff who work in a high-performing and sustainable aged care system. This is what older Australians need and deserve and this is what our industry wants to deliver, with strong levels of governance and transparency. Implemented effectively, the resulting reforms will build the foundation for aged care that is sustainable and centred on individual rights and respect. Only then will our communities be confident our aged care system delivers high quality and value-for-money. We should not be defined by meeting minimum regulatory standards, or reporting schemes or funding instruments. We need to be defined by the meaningful and measurable differences we make in people’s lives. That is why we have to change, we have to re-shape and re-imagine the story of care. What we have to fight against is the inertia in the current system. The final report stated that ‘the role of Government, and its need to make decisions between competing governmental priorities, is at the heart of the failures and shortfalls in the aged care system we have in Australia today’. Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) has long known this and has actively advocated for years to ensure that aged care workers and services are adequately resourced and supported to deliver the care that is needed. That is why LASA is a committed member of the Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC). The AACC is conducting a national campaign, aiming to ensure that the opportunity presented by the Royal Commission to transform the aged care system is not missed.

Continued on page 8


OPINION Continued from page 7

The campaign includes a detailed report It’s time to care about aged care, a national petition and engagements with Members of Parliament in the ‘oldest’ electorates in Australia. The Royal Commission found that Australia spends less than half of what other comparable countries spend on aged care, and we know getting funding for aged care right must be part of the solution. The Government has immediately committed to putting extra funds into aged care but we know that realising the system we want is going to cost more. This compels our nation to have a serious conversation about how we pay for quality care and services for our elders, as the Commissioners report. We need to canvas things like progressive means testing and consider components of user-pays for people who have the ability to contribute equitably to the costs of their care. The Royal Commission offers us the best chance to overcome these issues and realise a world-class aged care system. The final report proposes detailed timeframes and transitional arrangements over five years, which will be vital to achieving the reforms that older Australians need.

Better systems means better care

LASA proposes establishing an Aged Care Reform Taskforce (ACRT) to design, plan, coordinate and evaluate a comprehensive response to the Royal Commission reform program. Importantly, the taskforce will be accountable for timely and effective delivery of the program. We suggest the responsible Federal Minister chairs the ACRT, with members drawn from consumer groups, workforce representatives and provider peak bodies, alongside primary care and acute care representatives and senior officials from governments. Too much is at stake to get this wrong. Older people require access to care and support that is safe, high quality and delivered with passion and compassion, always. This is way above politics. The Government and the federal parliament must analyse where there are differences of opinions in the report and push ahead with massive reforms to improve the quality of life for all older people. The value we place on caring for older Australians is fundamental to our society. So, let us as a nation value this privilege. Let us support and enable the people and services that have this privilege to do it well, and let us inspire others right across the nation to share in this privilege. ■


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s a nation, and as our population ages, our great task is to ensure we provide respect, care and dignity for our senior Australians.

I believe the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety represents the most important platform for profound change in the way we assist and care for our oldest and most frail Australians, in over a generation. When Prime Minister Scott Morrison first called for a Royal Commission into Aged Care, he knew that it would be provide a major challenge—not just for the Government but all of the community, on how we are to ensure we treat our senior Australians with respect, dignity and respect.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health and Ageing

Importantly, we have also invested $5.5 billion for additional 83,000 home care packages since 2018–19. Even so, what the Royal Commission has showcased is the need for a fundamental cultural shift in the way we deliver care. Our focus must be based on individual need, underlined by respect and dignity. It won’t be easy but this is one of the most important reforms we can make. That Commissioners Tony Pagone and Lynelle Briggs could not settle on a single model for the delivery of care highlights the complexities we face.

The Royal Commission has delivered a monumental report. After more than two years of hearings, over 10,000 submissions and 640 witnesses, it has handed down eight volumes and 148 recommendations.

In its careful and considered response to the Commission’s recommendations, the Morrison Government will lay the foundations—a bedrock for widespread reform and a path forward.

It is a five-year roadmap and a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the way aged care is provided in this country.

It will be driven by the principle of respect and care and through the lens of five broad pillars—home care, residential aged care quality and safety, residential aged care services and sustainability, workforce and governance.

We have already begun that process, as we listened to the Commission hearings and responded. We delivered $537 million in response to the interim report in 2019 and additional investment following the Commission’s COVID-19 report. A total of $1.8 billion has been provided to the aged care sector to support them to protect senior Australians from COVID-19. And we have again acted, with our initial funding of $452 million in response to the Royal Commission’s final report, ahead of a major reform package in the Budget. The 2020–21 Budget showcased our determination to strengthen our aged care system and keep our loved ones safe even as the important work of the Royal Commission continued. Funding for aged care has grown from $13 billion in 2012–13 to nearly $24 billion this year, and will reach over $27 billion by 2023–24.

These five pillars will underpin the implementation of change at every corner. From addressing home care wait times, ensuring older Australians can live at home for longer, to quality standards in residential aged care and growing and upskilling the aged care workforce. Our central vision of a nation where we value our elders, where we respect them, we provide care and dignity should be bipartisan. As a son of a father who spent his final months in aged care, I want to thank all the carers, nurses, cleaners, cooks, doctors, pharmacists and volunteers, who all play a key role in our aged care sector. They do a great job and as a Government, and a community, we must support them and ensure that as we have an ageing population, we care for those who have given this country so much. ■


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Janet Anderson PSM Commissioner Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission


cross the aged care sector, we have all started the year with a sense of anticipation as we transition cautiously to more ‘COVID normal’ times. The Government’s announcement about the national rollout of the vaccine, with top priority being given to aged care residents, staff and older Australians, is hugely reassuring—and does not in any way reduce our shared obligation to remain on guard against the risks of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There is no doubt that 2021 will be a year of major milestones and new initiatives aimed at improving the safety, health, wellbeing, and quality of life of older Australians receiving aged care. The final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will undoubtedly accelerate reform of the aged care sector with the Government’s response expected to have significant implications for all stakeholders for years to come. One of the issues examined by the Royal Commission that is already the subject of a major change program is reportable incidents in residential aged care. The Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) is a new Commonwealth initiative that aims to prevent and reduce incidents of abuse and neglect in residential aged care services. The overarching objectives of the scheme are to protect and empower aged care consumers, and to build provider capability to identify risk systematically and prevent and respond to incidents involving residents. At a whole-of-sector level, it is expected that over time, the scheme will drive learning and improvements that will build a stronger culture of safety and quality in aged care.

The SIRS will sit alongside and complement other requirements that aged care providers must meet, including the Aged Care Quality Standards, the Quality of Care Principles, and the Charter of Aged Care Rights. The Commission will be responsible for administering the SIRS and, subject to parliamentary processes, will have new powers to support the scheme’s implementation. The SIRS builds on existing compulsory reporting requirements for residential aged care, and requires providers to report a broader range of incidents to the Commission. Reportable incidents under the scheme will include neglect, psychological and emotional abuse and inappropriate use of physical or chemical restraint. Incidents of abuse and aggression between consumers will be in scope for reporting. This includes residents with cognitive and mental impairment, who are alleged, suspected or have actually committed the incident. The new reporting requirements under SIRS will be phased in during 2021. From 1 April 2021, subject to parliamentary processes, providers of residential aged care must report all incidents classified as ‘Priority 1’ within 24 hours. These are incidents where there is a significant impact on the resident requiring medical or psychological treatment to resolve. From 1 October 2021, additional reporting requirements will be introduced, namely, residential aged care providers will also be required to report ‘Priority 2’ incidents—those that do not meet the criteria for Priority 1 incidents—within 30 days. As part of the SIRS arrangements, every residential aged care service will be required to have in place an incident management system that enables them to identify, assess and resolve incidents quickly and effectively through a process

Continued on page 12


OPINION Continued from page 11

involving all those impacted, in a way that drives continuous quality improvement throughout the service. Importantly, an effective incident management system can help aged care organisations to collect and use incident data and information to build a systemic learning culture, help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, and better protect and enhance the health, safety and wellbeing of consumers, staff and others. Good incident management also brings a range of other benefits for consumers and their families, staff and the organisation. For example, incident management systems can foster a more proactive approach to risk identification and prevention, helping to pinpoint poor practice, gaps in the skills and knowledge of staff or in governance arrangements, and deficiencies in policies and procedures.

Through practising open disclosure when things go wrong and working with consumers, their families and staff to drive continuous improvement, providers can build stronger relationships and increase confidence in their organisation. The Commission is progressively rolling out information and resources to support the sector in implementing the SIRS and improving incident management practices. This includes fact sheets, webinars, resources and new SIRS modules on the Commission’s online learning platform Alis. After a year that was transformed by the pandemic, there are many reasons to look forward to 2021 as bringing a more positive outlook for older Australians receiving aged care and the aged care sector as a whole. ■ For more information about SIRS visit www.agedcarequality.

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e need to stop thinking about the age services industry as a burden and think about this as an important investment in quality care, innovation and the economy.

I believe the Royal Commission has done a very thorough and exhaustive job and has shaped a number of recommendations that are going to make a massive difference in the performance of the aged care sector and the outcomes for individuals. In many ways, it continues to be very consistent with the original 14 recommendations of the A Matter of Care workforce strategy. There are a number of positives that I believe are being reinforced. One is a recognition that we need to have employees trained to a minimum standard, that we recognise the importance of comparative wage scales and reward appropriately, and that we can provide security of work. What comes with that is the commitment to training and development, a commitment to accreditation of the workforce and standards around aged care, plus a commitment to developing the right kind of career pathways. When it comes to the stipulated minutes of care provided, I think the star rating system and recognition of allied health in the skills mix is a big step forward. We must keep the focus on holistic care as including attention to clinical health, functional health, cognitive health, living well aspirations and cultural needs. These are all essential elements of a goal-focused, person-centred approach. It is disappointing that the recommendations don’t make as clear a statement linking these outcomes to the funding required for hours of care, quality of care, skills mix, and employee pay and conditions.

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Our major focus now should be on the execution of the recommendations in total—this is not a shopping list of choices but a coherent and inextricably linked set of recommendations. The successful execution of strategy is often more about the linkages between the imperatives within. We need to take these series of recommendations on collectively. It’s only by doing this that we will comprehensively address the issues that have been outstanding for far too long. I think there are two important elements to the execution. The first thing we need to do is to have a mechanism led by industry, in conjunction with consumer groups and with the unions, to detail all of the recommendations (and sub recommendations) and track their achievements over time. This means assessing whether they are being achieved and confirming whether they pass the consumer or pub test? In doing this we will hold the Government and the industry to a higher level of accountability with the rollout. We have seen in other Royal Commissions how the execution as been half finished and presented as complete. The community believe the actions are taken and yet they are not. It cannot happen this time—the industry in its broader definition, led by the peaks, need to keep the progress very public. The worst possible outcome now is that we and the Government fall into a mindset that this is a list to choose from, as opposed to all of these being vital recommendations. The second part is the recognition that there are two system governors required: one must focus on putting into place the recommendations (designing and implementing the transformed eco-system) and the other is about managing the governance over time.

Continued on page 16



s 20sion s se

OPINION Continued from page 15

In the short term what is required is the right key people in a collaborative taskforce approach capable of laying out the ecosystem, with a timeline that identifies what will happen and when over the next five years. This is not a skillset that is currently held by Government. Rather, it is a system-wide architecture, change and project management capability. In the longer term, the system governor needs to be able to lead a process of continuous improvement and strategic evolution based on good research; strike the right balance between regulation, co-regulation and self-regulation; and most importantly set and monitor the standards.

Getting from Here to There Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Final Report Virtual Forum


If we do not get the execution structure right, then the result may end up more complex than necessary and less than the comprehensive response required—ultimately leaving us no better in 10 years’ time than we are today. The Aged Care Royal Commission was an important gift—let’s not waste it. The price of success now is eternal vigilance—over Government, over industry and over us all. ■

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Joseph E Ibrahim Professor and Head, Health Law and Ageing Research Unit Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University


he statement that the aged care sector does not adhere to or respect a person’s human rights is confronting, difficult to believe and yet true. I have struggled with this statement as an academic researcher and a medical practitioner in aged care for over 30 years now. Whether I want to believe it or not, does not change the fact it is true. Aged care is a vital human service in the direct sight of regulators and the public, and is staffed predominantly by honourably motivated people who work hard to care for frail older people—but the level of care varies considerably. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety identified the organisational and system failures of our aged care system over the past three years. Their inquiries into the structures, processes and outcomes of the aged care sector commenced in October 2018. The initial findings were tabled in their interim report titled ‘Neglect’ in October 2019 highlighting widespread harm, neglect and abuse of older people living in residential aged care. Details of proposed recommendations for reform put forward by Counsel Assisting were made public at the final hearing in October 2020. At the core of those recommendations was the need for a human rights approach to be embedded into aged care and substantive action to reform the sector. Despite the findings of the Royal Commission, we protest and rail against this accusation of human rights abuse by explaining that the overarching philosophy in our sector is to be ‘personcentred’, to respect an individual’s choice and care needs, and by adhering to the resident Charter of Rights.

We argue the market-driven reforms from 1997 provide residents with greater choice and higher quality services. Neither of these arguments succeeds because human rights extend well beyond the provision of care and the free market. It is lopsided because all the power sits with the provider, not the resident. Respecting human rights requires much more than personcentred care and goes well beyond asking a resident what they want to eat and how they wish to spend their day. Announced in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes 30 rights and freedoms. Of these I want to highlight four articles: Article 3 is the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety; Article 5 states that no one has the right to inflict torture, or to subject anyone else to cruel or inhuman treatment; Article 8 states that we should all have the right to legal support if we are treated unfairly; and Article 25 speaks to the right to have enough food, clothing, housing and healthcare for ourselves and our families. The Royal Commission identified cases of egregious breaches in these areas, finding in those cases that residents were not free or safe; chemical and physical restraints were being used; residents were not able to voice their concerns readily or have these addressed; and there were substantive gaps in nutrition and health care. This demonstrates that having a declaration, charter or list of human rights is not enough. What is required is a human rights framework that makes it clear and delivers on basis that the rights of residents in aged care are paramount, and that any compromises for commercial or institutional convenience are not acceptable.

Continued on page 19


TECHNOLOGY Continued from page 17

The Royal Commission seeks to challenge these compromised views which are prevalent in our society. The notion that residential aged care is a place where older people go and wait to die creates a sense of futility, which makes rationalising away residents’ human rights too easy. The Australian Human Rights Commission provides a description for a framework underpinned by five principles also known as the ‘PANEL principles’: • Participation. Everyone has the right to participate in decisions that affect their human rights. • Accountability. There should be effective monitoring of compliance and achievement of human rights goals, as well as effective remedies for breaches. • Non-discrimination and equality. Priority should be given to people in the most marginalised or vulnerable situations. • Empowerment. Everyone should be able to understand their rights, and to participate fully in the development of policy and practices that affect their lives. • Legality. The law recognises human rights and freedoms as legally enforceable entitlements.

These concepts are what should guide the substantive systemwide changes needed at government, regulator, provider and community levels. The whole aged care sector requires re-conceptualisation, placing the human rights of the resident at the centre and supported by a legally enforceable framework with substantive sanctions for failure to adhere. We should accept nothing less. ■

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he Final Report: Care, Dignity and Respect was published on 1 March 2021, marking 892 days since Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Five volumes and over 3,000 pages capture the public inquiry into aged care, along with the personal reflections of service users and providers. At the outset, the Commissioners stated that ‘frail and elderly members of our community deserve to and should be looked after in the best possible way’, and that they intended to do their best to see that this happens. Their conclusion from reviews of submissions, evidence, witness testimony, site visits and community discussions is that the ‘Australian aged care system is unacceptable and unsustainable in its current form’. They note, as Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) has been saying for many years, that although there are some instances of wrongful or inappropriate behaviour, the system as a whole is a product of different elements frequently acting as expected and intended, but not producing the best outcomes for those in need. These systemic problems have existed for many years and successive governments have made decisions that have resulted in a ‘trade-off’ between quality care and public expenditure. According to the Commissioners, this was an understood, and not unintended, consequence. How to avoid a repetition of past systemic flaws and failure to act on them characterises the report in both findings and recommendations. The call is for an aged care system that puts older Australians at the centre of an entitlement-based approach to aged care services. The building blocks for this system are: • a rights foundation for high quality aged care; • independence from Government; and • a secure source of funding.


A system that puts the older person first should be: • equitable, to provide fair and equal access to high quality aged care; • effective, to provide effective care that delivers the best quality care and outcomes for older people; • ambitious, so that the aged care system is the best it can be and keeps improving; • accountable, an aged care system that is open, honest and answerable to the community for the care it delivers; • sustainable, the aged care system is adequately funded, resilient and enduring. The 148 recommendations reflect these bases for change. While the Commissioners differ on how to secure funding and how the independence from Government can be achieved, they agree on the key recommendations.

Key recommendations

Governing aged care. They agree on the need for a new Aged Care Act but differ on the structures that would need to be in place. Commission Pagone prefers a fully independent suite of organisations while Commissioner Briggs calls for an overhaul of some existing structures. Improving access to services. They call for a removal of the home care waiting list and movement to a new process where requests for services are processed within one month. The new continuum of service model would be accessed through a single assessment process, supported by care finders. Workforce. The Commissioners recognise the value of the workforce but also the challenges in ensuring there are sufficient numbers, with appropriate experience and capability. They put forward a range of measures and interventions related to training, qualification, professionalisation and registration of the workforce. Issues of pay and value also feature. Care expansion. Improved access to allied health, dental, mental, GP and palliative care support feature in the recommendations. Quality and regulation. These recommendations capture the inclusion of a graded quality assessment approach, star


ratings, improved information for choice and determination of services by older Australians, and an enhanced and empowered regulatory structure, including new duties on providers, prudential regulation and governance changes. Long-term funding. The Commissioners agree that fundamental change is necessary to secure long-term funding, but differ in their approach. Commissioner Pagone prefers an insurance style approach determined by the Productivity Commissioner while Commissioner Briggs opts for a faster 1per cent levy approach. Transparency, data, research and innovation. There are recommendations on the collection and use of data at the individual, provider and system level and an emphasis on research, evidence collection and translation. Implementation. The Commissioners agree that change is urgent, the scale of change is significant, and it will require careful planning and implementation. They differ on some of the detail and approaches but are clear that despite these ‘disagreements about the best way for improvement to be achieved are not a justification for doing nothing’. Their first call is for Government to make their response by 31 May 2021. The Prime Minister has already announced a number of interim measures and that their substantive response will be in the 2021 Federal Budget. During this time there will continue to be detailed analysis of the recommendations, their consequences and unintended consequences, as we advocate for our Members with Government and other stakeholders. Getting the reform and change processes right are fundamental to achieving the transformed aged care system which older Australians deserve and expect, and which providers want to be equipped to deliver. ■ Jane Bacot-Kilpatrick is Executive Officer, Leading Age Services Australia.



Unfortunately because there’s so much funding needed in the recommendations and we’ve got dissention of the Royal Commissioners, the Government is going to cherry-pick. Our challenge now is to determine what cherries we want them to pick.— Chris How, CEO Bethanie Group

The Royal Commission report draws a line in the sand; it’s now time for real change. Our nation needs to build a safer, fairer and better aged care system for all Australians.— Kevin McCoy, Australian Unity

First and foremost, the Government has got to make the call to spend the money so that we can fix the system, so that we can really look after our seniors in the way that we all want to look after them.— Dr. Nicky Howe, CEO Southcare

We’re all up against new challenges in managing the requirements for an ageing population. The requirements for care are higher, both personally and medically, than what they used to be. The recommendations provide some hope for reform.—Jamie Fillingham, Executive Director of Care, Goodwin Aged Care Services

The Government must adopt a whole-of-ageing approach across all policy areas, rather than focus on aged care in isolation. — Marcus Riley, CEO BallyCara

Many of the critical Royal Commission recommendations, such as quality, compliance and workforce, will be dependent on the ability to collect, use, report, understand and share data. — Sandra Hills OAM, CEO Benetas

The increased levels of compliance under the guise of consumer safety are heavily bureaucratic and will cause providers to spend more time reporting to Government, which in turn will increase the cost of service provision without adequate funding to support the required workforce and the systems.— Michelle Jenkins, CEO Community Vision

Do we need an independent commission or can we trust the existing bureaucracy to sufficiently change its culture to deliver these recommendations?— David Panter, CEO ECH




eading Age Services Australia (LASA), Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), Baptist Care Australia, Anglicare Australia, Uniting Care Australia and Catholic Health Australia now speak with one voice, as the Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC).

• our aged care system had 16,000 vulnerable Australians dying in 2017–18 while waiting for a government-subsidised support package in their own home;

This is a crucial voice of passion, compassion and power, to ensure there is big-picture reform for older people to have improved lives and world-leading aged care across our nation.

• a further 88,000 places will be required in residential aged care over the next 10 years, at a cost of $55 billion.

LASA CEO Sean Rooney and ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow are the major spokespersons as the AACC works hard to influence the Parliament and Australian communities, with the aim to realise the recommendations of Royal Commission’s final report. In mid-February, the AACC launched the ‘It’s Time to Care About Aged Care’ campaign, highlighting some critical problems with aged care: • Australia devotes less than half of what comparable countries do to aged care (1.2 per cent versus 2.5 per cent of GDP), with Denmark and Sweden allocating more than 4 per cent of GDP;

• almost 100,000 people are still waiting for home support at their approved level;

• Under-resourced aged care homes were described as being in an ‘impossible situation’ by Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission—and are struggling to maintain standards and staffing, while fighting to keep their doors open. “After 20 years of missed opportunities, Australia cannot accept the release of the Royal Commission’s final report without taking real action,” Ms Sparrow said. “Enough is enough—Australia should no longer accept the drip-feed of piecemeal rescue packages and ad-hoc changes.” Mr Rooney said the residential aged care sector was in crisis with 64 per cent of homes operating at a loss in 2020. Continued on page 24


NATIONAL UPDATE Continued from page 23

“Under-resourcing of the aged care system has been growing for a long time,” he said.

wages, more training, support and funding for your teams to do what they do so well—caring for older Australians.

“It is the responsibility of all Parliamentarians to recognise the injustice and inequity of maintaining a system the Royal Commission described as ‘a shocking tale of neglect’.”

The three things you must do:

The AACC campaign report identifies for the first time the 30 members of the 151-member Federal Parliament who represent the ‘oldest’ Australian communities by age.

1. Sign the petition. 2. Share our content.

Of these seats, 14 are marginal, and in some cases are held by only a few hundred votes. They contain 755,045 voters aged over 55, an extraordinarily concentrated voting block.

i) As an organisation, share the website and content (including posters) through newsletters and social media with your staff, networks and families, plus encourage everyone to like the AACC on Facebook and Twitter.

ii) As individuals, find 10 people to sign the petition and spread the word. ■

We now have thousands of signatures on our AACC petition but we know we have a huge opportunity to do better—we need hundreds of thousands and then millions.

Nick Way is Senior Communications & Media Advisor, Leading Age Services Australia.

We know you care about aged care, so support the campaign, sign the petition and help the AACC call for more staff, better

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ustralia has taken the first steps towards a vaccine rollout, but pop-up cases of COVID-19 over the summer months have kept the residential aged care sector, and those for whom we care, on constant high alert. Working in crisis mode for so long is exhausting and emotionally draining. Reviews of outbreaks note the toll on residents, families and carers as well as staff. The extended duration and hyper-vigilance in an industry that already faces workforce shortages has meant that many dedicated staff have not taken the leave they might normally have taken, and providers now face the challenge of a loyal but tired workforce and how to manage accumulated leave.


The ‘go hard, go quickly’ approach seems to have been successful. The approach requires patience and understanding by everyone. Providers have to be agile, standing up and down arrangements quickly while navigating the myriad of new ‘guidance’ materials. It is not uncommon to get notification of changes at 6pm on a Friday and have to accommodate them immediately. This ability to acquire and assimilate new information is a key feature of the pandemic, and the motivation for Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) Health Updates, to ensure providers always have the latest information and resources. Our residential care Members are now experiencing the complexity and challenges of the introduction of infection prevention control (IPC) leads.


LASA has advocated to the Government on significant issues in relation to educational demands and the period in which compliance must be achieved. If providers are experiencing exceptional circumstances (for example, the PIC lead resigns) they can contact the Department of Health (agedcarelPC@ to have this recorded.

workers in phase 1b, will provide the protection our vulnerable Australians need. Administered through inreach teams organised by the Government and coordinated through Primary Health Networks, it represents the largest vaccination rollout ever seen in this nation, and has not been without its share of teething issues.

The role of IPC lead requires technical IPC expertise but also a change management, communication, advocacy and policy function. To support them, LASA will be launching a Community of Practice—a virtual forum for the IPC leads to support each other. We will also be running an adjunct suite of webinars on the non-IPC aspects of the role, such as communications, crisis and change management.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee noted it ‘strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination’ but ‘does not recommend mandating COVID-19 vaccination for the aged care workforce at this stage’.

To continue to support providers through this period, we have updated our Lessons Learnt resource to reflect the feedback generously shared by Members and the findings from new reports. Further resources are the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre’s Outbreak Management Good Practice Guide and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s Outbreak Management Planning Guide. We are hopeful that the COVID-19 vaccine national rollout strategy, which is prioritising residents and workers at residential aged care facilities in phase 1a and then home care

The inclusion of flu vaccination in public health orders is also being considered by the AHPPC, who note that ‘all available interventions should be relied on to maximise influenza vaccine coverage for the aged care workforce, aged care residents and their carers. This could include, where appropriate, influenza vaccination through Public Health Orders similar to those applied in 2020’. LASA will continue to advocate and support our Members through this next phase as we work together to keep older Australians safe. ■ Jane Bacot-Kilpatrick is Executive Officer, Leading Age Services Australia.





he Big Christmas Sing-A-Long was a phenomenal success in December 2020, an idea born out of the extreme COVID-19 restrictions on aged care homes and older people.

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) was approached by the Sydney-based Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution (RFBI) to work together on a Christmas show along with Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA). Working from the middle of the year, we built the show from scratch using LASA’s contacts in the entertainment industry and RFBI’s production experts.

Johnny Young, pictured in the studio with Beven Adinsall, was one of the first to sign up.

Ernie Dingo (fourth from left) with Phil Walleystack (fifth from left) and band. LASA approached Studio 10 presenter and newsreader, Narelda Jacobs, and she kindly gave her time to host the event, live. All of the performances were pre-recorded in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth and we thank Channel 10 for donating camera operators and doing a national story on the show.


Normie Rowe and the Viva La Musica Community Choir sounded superb.


The superbly produced two-hour Big Christmas Sing-A-Long sold almost 700 tickets for exclusive access in aged care homes, retirement villages, home care services and hospitals.

“Congratulations because the Big Christmas Sing-A-Long has set a new standard for interactive entertainment for older Australians and their families,” said LASA CEO Sean Rooney.

On the big day 17 December, around 500,000 older people watched the show live online, across Australia and around the world, along with their families and aged care staff.

“I look forward to working together with our partners to produce another superb show next year—one that brings joy to older people and will attract the interest of even more Australians.” ■

The Big Christmas Sing-A-Long website received 27,000 visits while the show was playing, including 1,100 people sharing messages. Since the Sing-A-Long went live, it has been viewed over 26,000 times and the watch rates keep growing. The unique concert included personal video messages and Christmas carols submitted from aged care homes across Australia, with many people thrilled to see themselves in the event.

Nick Way is Senior Media & Communications Advisor, Leading Age Services Australia. To view the Big Christmas Sing-A-Long visit www.

We thank and congratulate the stars who donated their time including Normie Rowe AM, Johnny Young, Ernie Dingo, Beven Addinsall, Paris Irwin, Angus Gill, Phil Walleystack, Narelle Belle, Marjory Wood, the Starfish Vocal Studio, the Brent Street Performing Arts centre, the Salvation Army Band, the Viva La Musica Community Choir, Coro Innominata, and of course Narelda Jacobs who hosted live in the studio. “Our more well-known performers certainly lived up to their names and impressed us all again with why they have been so popular for decades,” said RFBI CEO Frank Price. “At the same time, our lesser-known performers also stole our hearts—a massive shout out to the singers at Brent Street and Starfish for your amazing performances. You have also been the talk of the show!”

It was a pleasure to have Angus Gill join us.

The BIG Christmas

We congratulate producer/director Ben Alcott from Damn Good Productions, along with music director Robert Clark from Legend House, for their wonderful production efforts.

Narelle Belle performed with young singers. A big thank you to our sponsors who came on board quickly, being the Health Services Union NSW (HSU), Epicor, Telstra Health, Leef, EWH, Reward Hospitality, CareVision, Gilmore Interior Design, Orchard Recruitment, Coles Refrigeration, PFD Food Services, Simple Food Safety Software and Aware Super. Thank you to all our sponsors

Our show donated nearly $6,000 in funds to the Support Act Music Charity emergency appeal, to help musicians impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We are already planning to make the 2021 event even bigger.





ow into its third year, LASA’s Safety & Quality Management System (SQMS) has been upgraded to help providers remain compliant with the latest regulations—giving you the confidence you need in your business operations.

The new user-friendly incident management function includes the following features:

With the age services industry in a state of flux, and new regulations coming into force with ongoing regularity, providers can find it incredibly challenging to keep up.

• the ability to upload documents, emails, images and videos as supporting evidence;

Originally designed to help providers meet their obligations against the Aged Care Quality Standards, LASA SQMS has ongoing development and system responsiveness at its core, in order to adapt to new regulatory settings and approaches. This agile approach means we can now offer additional support for compliance with: • the eight Aged Care Quality Standards and the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) for residential care and home care providers; • the Australian Retirement Village Accreditation Scheme Standards and Retirement Living Code of Conduct for retirement living service providers. Functionality has been expanded to include audit tools, in addition to over 100 policy and process templates, and it now offers registers and related documents. Built on an award-winning technology solution that all staff can access from any device at any time, it is far more effective than documenting on paper or Excel spreadsheets, giving you up-to-date documentation in real-time and no-fuss reporting. In order to support SIRS—which requires that all residential care providers have a documented reporting system in place— the improved LASA SQMS contains a comprehensive suite for incident management including: • policy and process documents and template forms for reporting incidents and managing investigations; • a severity matrix to guide rating and response; and • an audit tool to validate and continuously improve practices.


• the capacity to lodge incidents (as well as feedback, complaints and continuous improvement information) at any time without logging into the system;

• instant notification of an incident log for nominated representatives of the organisation; and

• the ability to analyse and monitor trends for internal reporting and strategic planning. What this means for providers is peace of mind, and the opportunity to reallocate valuable time away from administration to where it is needed most—in the care of older people. According to KPMG, who conducted the prevalence study for SIRS, services with less mature or less automated incident management reporting systems may experience greater difficulties reporting incidents than those services with automated systems. With LASA SQMS, these are problems that can be avoided. LASA SQMS caters for all age service providers—residential care, home care and retirement living, multi-site and singlesite—and there are generous discounts for LASA Members and providers operating in rural and remote locations. You can sign up to the complete package, or just select the tools you need—the choice is yours—but for those who have yet to adopt any quality system, SIRS means you must act now. A quality system has become a means towards compliance in itself. LASA SQMS is already helping more than 200 aged care providers across Australia, and we would value the opportunity to help you too—it’s part of our commitment to supporting quality care for older people, and being a helping hand to providers. Please reach out to us today for an obligation-free demonstration. Our team would be delighted to assist you. ■ Brendan Moore is General Manager, Member Services, Leading Age Services Australia. For more information visit or email




he Retirement Living Code of Conduct has demonstrated its worth as an indicator of quality and setting standards above the rest, with no breaches in its first year.

A voluntary code coming into effect on 1 January 2020, the recently published Retirement Living Code of Conduct Annual Report revealed only seven complaints were referred to the scheme nationally, and none of them indicated any breaches after thorough investigation. With retirement living communities governed by a complex and diverse set of Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation and regulations, the code has established a set of standards beyond statutory obligations, to guide operators in the provision of high quality services. The code requires robust self-assessment and a commitment to continuous improvement, from all signatories. Each signatory must also appoint a Code Compliance Officer. Participation is a clear demonstration of an operator’s commitment to high standards and resident satisfaction, which provides a competitive advantage in the promotion of their business to prospective clients. There are 76 operators and 573 villages that have signed up to the code, which means 46 per cent of retirement village residents are now living in a code-compliant community. Inaugural Independent Chair of the Retirement Living Code of Conduct Review Panel Dr Elizabeth Lanyon says the code serves a vital role, and it is important that more retirement villages sign on.

Developed by the two peak bodies representing retirement living owners and operators—the Property Council of Australia and Leading Age Services Australia—the code covers all aspects of the resident experience in a retirement village. There are a range of guidelines, including a commitment to self-auditing, accuracy of marketing materials, transparency with regard to contracts and fees, standards in the quality of homes, and clarity on the re-selling process. Signatories to the code receive resources and support from the Code Administrator to help them maintain their compliance. Diana, a resident of a code-complaint community, says, “It is important for someone new to the village that the Code of Conduct will provide an extra layer of protection, should it ever be needed. “It’s also important for the families of those moving here to know there is a Code of Conduct that maintains the village standards.” What the code is really about, is ensuring that as a community, we can safeguard integrity and professionalism in the retirement living sector. With interest in retirement living at a level we have not seen before, a trend that is likely to continue, there is even greater need for operators to work within a framework that satisfies the community’s expectations for a secure and safe place to age well.

“The Code Review Panel considers that it is vital that the code be promoted as widely as possible for two reasons,” she said.

A win-win, the code provides security and guidance for both the operator and the resident, as well as a competitive advantage for code-compliant villages and a sound value proposition for people researching the market.

“One is that every resident in a retirement village in Australia deserves the protection of the code.

If you operate a retirement village, it’s something you really should consider. ■

“Secondly confidence in the governance of villages can be detrimentally affected by the behaviour of non-code village operators that lack the accountability that code signatories subscribe to.”

Paul Murphy is Principal Advisor - Retirement Living and Seniors Housing, Leading Age Services Australia.


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he Aged Care Royal Commission’s Final Report: Care, Dignity and Respect revealed that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) offers a higher level of care and a more comprehensive schedule of available supports than the existing aged care program. The difference in support between aged care and NDIS programs appears to reflect differences in the hours of care available, though differences also exist in the level of support for reablement, social engagement, behaviour support, care management and assistive technology.

accommodation. When accommodation is excluded, average level 3–4 home care package funding represents around 30 per cent less funding than that provided to NDIS participants with similar support needs. For care recipients requiring moderate levels of support, average level 1–2 home care package funding represents around 20 per cent less funding than that provided to NDIS participants with similar support needs.

Leading Age Services Australia’s comparative funding analysis has identified that total Government funding for aged care participants is on average about 25 per cent of that allocated to NDIS participants. Accounting for variations in the levels of support provided to program participants, there are some key differences.

For care recipients requiring low levels of support, the difference appears more substantial. Average CHSP participant funding represents over 80 per cent less funding than that provided to NDIS participants with low support needs. Given CHSP participants account for two thirds of all aged care program participants, this amounts to a substantially lower level of overall funding made available to aged care program participants.

For care recipients requiring high levels of support, average residential aged care participant funding represents half that provided to NDIS participants accessing specialist disability

In this respect, LASA’s ongoing call for an Ageing Well Strategy with a strong focus on reablement and restorative care would be of major benefit to the large majority of older Australians

NDIS funding surpasses aged care funding for every category.



accessing aged care. We note the Royal Commission’s final report draws a similar conclusion. When considering program differences across aged care and disability for funds allocation, NDIS funding is allocated to participants using individualised determinations for delivering reasonable and necessary supports that are largely uncapped (entitlement), while aged care funding is allocated to participants using individualised determinations matched to funding bands that are capped within each band (rationed). By design, aged care recipients need to prioritise supports matched to the capped funds available to them with account for urgency of need. This often leaves aged care recipients contending with unmet support needs where funds are insufficient, requiring they accumulate unspent funding for future demands and their seeking alternate sources of funding to cross subsidise their aged care needs where feasible.

When aged care recipients do not have access to adequate levels of funding support to supplement the cost of their aged care needs, the level, quality and outcomes of care and support suffer. This subsequently places pressures on the operations of both aged care workforce and regulation. Reliance on these drivers of aged care quality and safety in the absence of a robust funding environment is deficient at a population level. System settings need to be calibrated with a focus on the basic human right for access to reasonable and necessary supports matched to assessed need. ■ Troy Speirs is Senior Policy Advisor, Leading Age Services Australia. For more information download the Report.


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ith the Royal Commission’s Final Report now released, and the Government’s response soon to follow, the sector is buzzing with the prospect of significant changes. Yet the Commission’s position on how the sector will be funded is unresolved, and some have suggested, conflicted. The mention of pre-certification and standardisation of technology, and a Research and Innovation Council—if not calibrated correctly—might harken to days when the sector’s innovation agenda was aligned with the interests of a few, and misguidedly equivocated with technology and research. In shifting and uncertain times like this, conventional wisdom would suggest focusing on growth and diversification. However, chasing business opportunities suggests investing resources and funding many do not necessarily have. To insist on a growth and diversification path when you’re not calibrated for it means you end up doing a lot, without being good at anything. Equally, there’s nothing positive about working off the smell of an oily rag, and punching above your weight, when staff end up burnt out or fall ill.

end up with indigestion at home and overload at work. That’s why it takes a great deal of discipline, and even courage, to slim down, both physically and strategically.” This may seem counterintuitive to business wisdom, but there’s nothing radical or audacious about limiting your organisation’s products and services, customers and capabilities. In the 1950’s Peter Drucker introduced the idea of ‘purposeful abandonment’, telling business leaders to prune projects, policies and processes that were no longer useful. In his words: “The first step to a growth policy is not to decide where and how to grow… it’s to decide what to abandon.” Tom Peters and Robert Waterman in their book In Search of Excellence, captures the sentiment well with their sixth theme for organisational success: “Stick to the knitting—stay with the business that you know.” Essentially, you need to stay focused, and not get distracted. This is a paramount strategic decision—stick to the few critical

In light of the inflection point that our sector is in, and our operational landscape, there’s much to be said about the importance of maintaining focus, and doing less. To quote Ron Ashkenas, co-author of the Harvard Business Leader’s Handbook: “It’s a natural human tendency to want to do more. Most of us have trouble walking away from tempting opportunities, whether it’s at the dinner table, or at work. So we

Merlin Kong has been recognised by the Australasian Society of Association Executives as an Association Influencer 2020.

Continued on page 38


NATIONAL UPDATE Continued from page 37

initiatives and projects that will make the most impact for your organisation, and don’t deviate from your core business. Here are a few supplementary considerations to consider: • You only need to be useful, not change the world. As a sector where care is our core, focus on making people’s lives better when they access and use your service/product. If your organisation suddenly disappeared from the sector, would people notice this? If yes, you’re making a meaningful contribution. • Providers are grownups, not startups. You’re a real business that needs to worry about the bottom line, pay the bills, make payroll and generate sales. Thinking like a startup, when you’re not one, is delusional, but more importantly hides fundamental business problems in your organisation. • You can’t win them all. Not everyone will be happy with your less-is-more decision, but if it’s focused and considered, it’s more on the mark than a growth punt. Quality takes time, refinement and a long view—no one has a crystal ball into the future.

• Creativity is dictated by constraints. If you really need or want something, but don’t have the resources to make it happen, then open yourself up to other possibilities and solutions that you may not have considered. You may not get what you envisioned, but your constraints might lead to a better solution. • Don’t be a hero, get back to basics. In the face of limited resources, it’s important to understand that it’s not about doing many things, but focusing on a valuable few. It’s OK to not chase the biggest possible, but instead focus on the smallest essential. In a sector with ever-moving goalposts, chasing growth and diversifying is risky. Avoiding distraction and dilution of focus, and doing something well, is worth more than overreaching new to chase offerings and market segments. It’s not that ambition is bad, just that less might be a better foundation to bigger things to come. ■ Merlin Kong is Head of innovAGEING and Interim Director of the Centre for Workforce Development & Innovation, LASA. For more information visit

Mental Health Partners (MHP) are experts in training Older Persons Mental Health First Aid(OPMHFA) a course that prepares participants for the challenges of working in the aged care industry, and gives employers access to Mentally Healthy Workplace accreditations as well as covering some of the mandatory training needs. The course is 12 hours and is perfect for personnel that want to build their knowledge and capacity about Mental Health in Aged Care. We have success using real life examples and workshopping outcomes for aged care and Community Clients. The Training can assist Aged Care clinical staff to further develop critical thinking skills. All of these skills will assist in Meeting Aged Care standards, and the courses are Nationally Accredited. Staffed by Mental Health professionals and people with a lived experience of Mental Health issues, MHP have been helping Aged Care providers for years and have over 30 years’ experience as Mental Health and Aged care professionals. MHP can offer the acclaimed Mental Health First Aid (MHFAOP) for the Older person course and/or specifically tailored trainings for your organisation. We help organisations with training of staff at all levels and responsibilities within the organisation. First class references are available from organisations we have previously worked with. Our speciality is in preparing and delivering courses to help staff increase knowledge and skills in areas that are specific to your situations.

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Capacity Washer


Capacity Washer


Capacity Washer

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Need help with claims & billing? It pays to be LASA with LASA Members receive a 20% discount on services.

Managing finances can be a huge burden, especially for small to medium organisations in the age services industry. With LASA Claims & Billing support, you can maximise your revenue and more effectively deliver client care while reducing your overheads. We’ve been providing claims & billing services for aged care organisations for over 20 years. Our expert team offers professional, cost-effective and accurate support, when and how you need it. We regularly achieve increased revenue for our clients, by helping them claim correct funding entitlements, payments and supplements—and we can help you too.

Spend less time on administration, reduce your overheads and make your business the best it can be. Call LASA today to find out how we can help you! 1300 111 636


DARE TO BE NEXT Online LASA Next Gen National Forum The age services industry continues to attract talented individuals like you—the next generation of leaders. Designed by young leaders for young leaders, our online National Forum will help you recharge, re-engage and re-energise. It’s been a tough year. It’s also been a time when we have rallied together to collaborate, connect and focus on the future. With inspiring panel sessions, engaging presenters and networking opportunities,


this half-day event will nurture, guide and inspire, so you can be the best you can be. Don’t miss your chance to be involved in this exclusive event—and do it all from the comfort of your home or office! “I felt very empowered and inspired.” — Alysha “My staff couldn’t stop raving about the Forum.” — Mel “Great speakers and practical knowledge.” — Henry

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DARING TO BE NEXT NURTURING A STRONG WORKFORCE MEANS A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR EVERYONE “The number of direct care workers needed to maintain current staffing levels would be around 316,500 full-time equivalent by 2050, based on demographic trends and rates of use of aged care. This is a 70% increase—more than 130,000 additional workers—compared with the current baseline number of 186,100 full-time equivalent in 2020. The number will be significantly higher if our recommended reforms are implemented.” —Aged Care Royal Commission Final Report


he Aged Care Royal Commission has identified the many failings, cases of neglect and the anger of our community. While identifying these wrongdoings and acknowledging them is important, we must also look to create a better ageing future for us all. There is no better time than today to start this process, and young people are keen to be part of this once-in-a-generation opportunity for change. The months ahead will impact older Australians, it will transform our workplaces, and it will inform how we all age in the years and decades ahead. Our next generation needs to be part of these discussions, across all levels of leadership. They are the individuals who will inherit our workplaces and leadership legacy. We all need tools and strategies to embrace today’s challenges, and ensure the vision for the future of our next generation is included, respected and part of our aged care discussions. Their involvement must not only be visible, but supported with mentoring, a broad network of support, and a remit to ensure the transformation doesn’t just impact on those receiving care today, but also those whose care needs are decades away. Workforce continues to be a key issue, one that we must address immediately. There are issues related to supply, adequate training, support for leaders and retention of talent.

According to the Aged Care Royal Commission’s Final Report, our direct support staff numbers need to increase by at least 70 per cent by 2050, to meet the growing needs of older Australians. While work on this is ongoing, we must move with urgency to attract a high calibre workforce, by highlighting the career pathways available to young people, showcasing the young professionals in these roles, and demonstrating the positive impacts they create in the lives of older adults and people in our community. LASA Next Gen has been working alongside our Ambassadors, young leaders and the wider Leading Age Services Australia organisation to tackle the challenges our sector experiences in recruiting younger workers. While our efforts in 2020 were hampered by a variety of challenges, our Next Gen Ambassadors have led calls for change, been recognised in a variety of industry awards, were invited to join gerontological committees, and are part of important industry feedback processes. They have continued to work diligently to share their experiences and highlight the variety of challenges and also champion age services, far and wide. They continue to shout: “We don’t need easy, we just need possible!” All of us are part of our sector’s future. We are ‘daring to be next’. LASA Next Gen is hosting our National Forum online on 28 May this year. It’s a dedicated platform for all younger age services leaders to learn from inspiring panel sessions, engaging presenters and networking opportunities. The halfday event intends to nurture, guide and inspire young talent, so they can be the best they can be. Don’t miss the chance for your next generation leaders to be involved in this exclusive event—they need experiences like this, and they’re worth the investment. ■ Samantha Bowen is Principal Advisor Next Gen and Principal Advisor LASA Mentoring Program, Leading Age Services Australia.





he Aged Care Royal Commission has confirmed what Health Services Union (HSU) members working in the system have long known.

Australia’s aged care system is broken and runs on an exhausted workforce, who are under-resourced, under‑valued and under stress. For years HSU members have been blowing the whistle about a system that is failing on its promise of dignity and respect in care for older Australians. HSU members finish shifts in tears because they know the system has stretched them to the point where they can’t offer the care the residents deserve. Workers are heartbroken

as they are forced to ration incontinence pads, deliver food on a six-dollar-a-day budget, and limit resident showers. The final report from the Royal Commission has crystallised for all to see that urgent reform is needed. To make Australia a place where we can all age well that reform must begin with proper, meaningful investment in those who will care for us. Over the two years the Royal Commission was conducted, HSU officials and members appeared at four hearings and we contributed dozens of written submissions. With the final report here, the HSU is committed to working closely with the government and industry to deliver change. But we also know that we can’t wait for government to act. That’s why in November the HSU proactively launched a landmark work value case in the Fair Work Commission to lift the wages of the workforce by 25 per cent. Our claim aims to lift the pay of the hardworking carers, activities officers, catering, cleaning and administration workers by an average of five dollars an hour. Currently a personal carer’s starting rate sits at $21.96 per hour, just a fraction above the minimum wage. This isn’t just an issue of pay. It’s also an issue of being able to deliver a sustainable workforce, who feel valued and want to stay in the sector long term.

Aged care workers want to see positive change.


Currently four in ten aged care workers intend to leave the sector within the next five years, because they are at breaking point. The workforce crisis will only worsen unless we see a significant boost to pay. As our population ages, Australia is only going to need more skilled care workers. Recognising the specialised work of carers in areas like dementia or palliative care is vital to making it an attractive career option. The case for a better paid workforce has been well established, both through the Royal Commission and the COVID-19 crisis, but how do we fund it? Recently the HSU sought independent economic modelling which showed a 0.65 per cent rise in the Medicare levy would raise $20.4 billion over four years. This could be used to fund the much needed pay rise but it would also deliver greater sustainability to the sector.

Comfort . Versatility . Aging in Place • Built in expandable King Single sleep deck 89cm, 99cm and 106cm • Intuitive two-pedal locking system

The Medicare levy would also be able to pay for an additional 59,000 aged care jobs and deliver close to 90 minutes of additional resident care per day.

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The system is incredibly complex, but ultimately it comes down to identifying what we want and need, to age well.

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If you want workers to stay in the sector and build up those skills and relationships that will deliver the care older Australians deserve, then value their work and make clear career pathways for people to progress through.

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If you want workers who have pride in their work and the sector they work in, then offer them secure employment which doesn’t leave them overworked. Aged care in this country has relied for too long on the goodwill of an underpaid and insecure workforce. It’s time for change. ■ Gerard Hayes is National President, Health Services Union. For more information visit

Aged Care Supplies Australia Pty Ltd . National: 0418 634 534 John Markarian


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t’s been said in political circles, especially after the last election, that older Australians have an increasingly powerful voice. It would be better to say ‘voices’.

Seniors are not a homogenous group; they are diverse with different views, needs and wants. The challenge for National Seniors is to capture the range of views of older Australians and bring them to the government and industry discussions, including those with Leading Age Services Australia. It’s also our job to keep all older Australians connected to the issues that affect them. We manage to do this by regularly surveying our more than 100,000 members. We’re also becoming increasingly engaged with older Australians of a CALD and LGBTIQ background.

Next it means delivering aged care based on need. The Royal Commission identified that an aged care system based on government rationing has led to neglect and some cruel outcomes for many older Australians. In 2019, it was reported to the Royal Commission that 16,000 people died waiting for a home care package, while more recently the Productivity Commission revealed the average waiting time for a package is over two years. These statistics are simply unacceptable. Counsel assisting the Royal Commission has recommended that the waiting list be eliminated by the end of this year. It has also recommended a new Aged Care Act based on human rights principles and not on rationing, the antitheses of care. The government has its role to play in reform but so too does the industry.

At the height of the COVID-19 crisis last year, National Seniors and others with funding from the Australian Government, established a support line for older Australians needing advice or simply someone to talk to.

While the home care industry does a great job there are organisations which are failing to live up to standards and then all are ‘tarred with the same brush’. This is unfair but industry needs to develop a stronger identity and control.

This was much needed, particularly for isolated and lonely groups and the government has extended its funding to the end of June.

We can reliably expect there will a lot more money coming to the sector in the budget and here’s where providers can make a difference.

One thing all older Australians have in common is the desire for quality care later in life, preferably at home or, if needed, in residential care. Both modes of care are about to change a lot.

As well as through home care reform, we need a streamlined, more efficient and better targeted funding system such as that proposed by Professor Kathy Eagar.

The Australian Government’s response to the Aged Care Royal Commission will be detailed in the upcoming budget with major reform a certainty.

In her submission to the Royal Commission she suggested a single Aged Care Authority, answerable to the Minister and Parliament, to replace the oversight of both the Department of Health and the Aged Care, Quality and Safety Commissioner.

Our job at National Seniors will be to keep older Australians connected through the reform phase and to explain what it means to them. We will work with the service providers too, because you are on the front line of the pivotal changes required. Our research shows consistently that the overwhelming majority of Australians want to be cared for in their home and that’s where the biggest reform effort and growth is needed. Step one is to eliminate the unacceptable waiting time for a home care package for almost 100,000 Australians.

We support a simpler fee system which is affordable, to help more older Australians access home care. We need change that delivers good care not overselling and failing to deliver. The reform process will be a challenge for all of us, but the public expects a system where the emphasis is on care and not rationing. I think we would all willingly add our voice to that. ■ John McCallum is CEO, National Seniors Australia. For more information visit





Leveraging our unique methodologies and industry experience, Rohling International’s Aged Care Experts make your business more agile and responsive to current and emerging challenges, so you can focus on what matters most. Our consultants know what you need to get ahead, thrive and continue to provide top-notch customer care in a landscape brimming with change, whether it’s from legislation updates, ACFI and Home Care funding model changes, COVID-19, or the findings from and outcomes of the Aged Care Royal Commission.


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s an owner and operator of aged care residential services—and a developer of new and innovative accommodation options for older Australians— Australian Unity welcomes the recommendation of the Aged Care Royal Commission for improving the design of aged care accommodation. Recommendation 45 of the final report stated, in part, that the government should develop National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines on accessible and dementia-friendly design for residential aged care that should be capable of application to ‘small household’ models of accommodation. In summary, the Commissioners found that good design in residential aged care, particularly for people living with dementia, usually involved smaller, lower-density congregate living arrangements rather than larger, more institutional settings.

Smaller households are more home-like.

The ‘small household’ model

In general, people move into residential care because of changes in their functional capability that make aspects of living in their own home unsafe. Once in residential care, people expect to continue the habits of their lifetime, and to maintain choice and control over what matters in their daily lives, including being involved in the daily routines of a home, as well as connecting with their families, friends and community. In 2012, Australian Unity began implementing a holistic new model called Better Together® to meet these expectations. The model features a strong focus on health and wellbeing, modular small household floorplates, and greater consistency of staff rostered to each household. Consistent with the Commissioners’ recommendation, the Better Together model is expressed in built-form through the creation of a home-like, domestic environment, where

Small household aged care living is the way of the future. Continued on page 48



This optimises connection to outdoors, natural light and ventilation and provides desirable spaces for customers to occupy for social and other purposes. Household corridors are limited to 12 metres or less from a living space to ensure communal spaces are central and easy to reach, and there is a minimum of two square metres per customer for activity, social and health spaces outside the household, along what we call the ’main street’. Other features include the removal of staff rooms and clinical support spaces from customer areas; ‘domesticating’ the accommodation with soft and comfortable furniture and fixtures; and leaving the kitchen and pantry open during the day so that residents can help themselves to snacks and drinks when they want.

The future

Over recent years, Australian Unity has been modernising its built-form portfolio, with five of our current seven aged care residential homes designed, built and operated to bring to life all four elements of the Better Together model. customers feel connected with staff and other customers, and can engage in the daily living activities they have always enjoyed. Customers live in small households comprising up to 17 people, with each household having its own lounge and fireplace, dining room, kitchen and pantry and outdoor space. They are encouraged to assist in preparing meals with trained staff, and families are invited to visit at mealtimes so they can join in. Many customers also assist with the household laundry, helping to fold and sort clothes as they may have done at home. We design to minimum measurable standards such as linear glazing areas and room depths in household living spaces.


New developments in the company pipeline, including a 15-storey premium seniors’ community to be built near Albert Park Lake in Melbourne, will also be designed so that they can operate under the Better Together household model. It is incumbent on all residential aged care providers to be forward-thinking in their approach when it comes to building design. It is not only beneficial for the health and wellbeing of older Australians, it will also be increasingly part of their expectations when choosing aged care accommodation. ■ Beverly Smith is Executive General Manager - Residential Communities, Australian Unity. For more information visit

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Care Systems and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) deliver an outsourced back office solution to support aged care providers Deliver compliant Payroll and Resident Billing while reducing your operating costs with LASA’s professional, cost effective and accurate outsourced solution.

Concerned about Payroll compliance? Want more time to focus on Resident Billing? We help ensure your staff are paid in line with the relevant EA or Award. On time - every time. Using the latest Care Systems cloud technology and LASA’s industry knowledge and support, Payroll and Resident Billing compliance can be simple and streamlined. LASA’s team confidently manage the complexity of your Payroll, filling empty shifts quickly & easily, managing your roster, matching time and attendance scans to rostered shifts, then swift approval & processing of Payroll.

Want to maximise revenue & ensure effective and compliant Resident Billing? We support providers to maximise your funding entitlements & ensure Residents are billed correctly. LASA can manage your Medicare payment statement reconciliation & analysis to ensure you don’t miss out on funding entitlements, payments and supplements. Client are billed automatically, and end of month reconciliation & reporting is also available. Have peace of mind knowing your residents are billed correctly, and your staff are paid accurately and on time. Governance reporting. Happy personnel. Comforted Residents. Compliant provider. Peace of mind.

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Contact Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) on 1300 111 636 or




ith an estimated half a million Australians living with dementia and around 1.6 million Australians involved in their care, research into dementia is now more urgent than ever.

Scientists are working hard to find ways to prevent dementia, delay the onset of developing the disease, and ultimately find a cure, but there is still much to learn about the disease. Researchers continue to explore the causes and mechanisms of the disease, including the role that genes may have in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. There is much evidence for reducing the risk of developing dementia through lifestyle and behaviour changes and the interaction between lifestyle and genetic factors needs to be better understood.

with dementia is also of great importance. We know from our work and broad consultation with people living with dementia, their families and carers that if we get quality care right for people living with dementia then there will be quality care for all. Available medications may reduce symptoms and improve quality of life in some people for a period of time. Research into dementia treatments and cure is ongoing as currently, there are no medications that can stop or reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or other kinds of dementia. The major barriers to the development of new interventions and treatments in Australia are the lack of research capacity, funding and infrastructure.

On average, a diagnosis takes three years, so developing better and more accurate methods of diagnosis is an important research focus. Currently there is no single test that can accurately diagnose dementia. Early diagnosis of dementia is important to allow time for planning and to maximise the potential for treatment. Research into quality dementia care and the best ways of supporting carers and improving quality of life for people living


Sir Jackie Stewart with his wife Helen, who was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2014.


To give our best and brightest scientists a fighting chance against dementia, we need to maintain a level of funding that allows them to carry out their work. The Dementia Australia Research Foundation is the research arm of Dementia Australia, funding researchers across all stages of their career but maintaining a particular focus on supporting Australia’s talented new and early career dementia researchers. In 2020, $1.7 million in funding was allocated to support Postdoctoral Fellowships and Project Grants. The annual funding initiative supports innovative Australian research to better understand the causes of dementia, develop strategies to reduce dementia risk, provide accurate and timely diagnosis, improve treatment and care options and to find a cure. In January 2021, Sir Jackie Stewart OBE’s Race Against Dementia charity and the Dementia Australia Research Foundation announced the inaugural recipients of the ‘Race Against Dementia—Dementia Australia Research Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship’ programme. Dr Adekunle Bademosi from The University of Queensland and Dr Andrew McKinnon from The University of Sydney will each receive an award valued at $405,000 AUD in total, over three years, which will cover salary and project expenses.

Dr Bademosi’s research will explore how and why frontotemporal dementia begins by using advanced imaging tools that have resolutions up to ten million times that of a standard digital camera. The results obtained will help scientists to produce drugs that target frontotemporal dementia. Dr McKinnon’s research will comprehensively characterise sleep problems in older adults with early dementia or those at risk for dementia. This will include developing tools for clinicians to guide strategies for dementia management and prevention for individual patients. Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians, with an estimated 250 people joining the population with dementia each day. While there is much to be inspired by, with new and exciting breakthroughs on the horizon, research must be prioritised to improve the lives of people impacted by dementia—now and into the future. ■ Maree McCabe is CEO, Dementia Australia

For information about Dementia Australia Research Foundation funding visit grants

For information about Race Against Dementia Fellows visit

AMH Aged Care Companion The AMH Aged Care Companion is a trusted, practical reference for all health professionals and carers who work with older people. It contains the latest evidence-based information on the management of more than 70 conditions common in older people. The current release includes a number of changes. Updated topics including behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), epilepsy, heart failure, immunisation, type 2 diabetes and urinary tract infections to name a few. Available in book or online. For further information or to purchase go to 53




n Australia today, there is a new understanding about the value of intergenerational connection, through dialogue, social interaction and play, between the senior members of our community and preschoolers.

We are now beginning to see purpose-built daycare centres set on the grounds of aged care homes, which provide accessibility for both older and younger generations, with appropriate spaces, age-friendly furniture and planned engagement activities. Part of the solution to building respect for older generations, and made famous through the ABC’s Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds which won an International Emmy, they are transforming the lives of older and younger people alike. One of the latest aged care homes to realise the value of intergenerational connection is Chaffey Aged Care in Merbein, Mildura, a six-hour drive from Melbourne.

Its location in a small community has been part of the ease of its adoption and early success, says Chaffey Chief Executive Officer Darren Midgley. “We have a very strong connection with our community, many of whom have relatives in our aged care home,” he said. “We work hard on community engagement, to demystify what’s behind closed doors, and also to provide our care recipients with positive experiences. “In the past ten years, we’ve opened our doors to children from kindergarten and preschool, for various activities.” In fact, that was how the intergenerational learning centre was born. Two years ago, the Music Generations Program began, with residents coming together in small groups with toddlers from the community and their families, to engage in music under the guidance of a trained Music Therapist. “The results were incredible and powerful,” said Darren. “We had children rest their head on an older person’s arm, high five them at the end of songs, and bring them to life. “We had care recipients with profound dementia singing the lyrics and tapping their finger or foot to the sound of the music. “When adult children saw their elderly parent re-engaged with living for the first time in years, it brought them to tears. “Everyone was moved by the experience.”

Pam Midgley with Rosemary Midgley, aged three, enjoying the new intergenerational child care centre on-site at Chaffey Aged Care in Merbein, Victoria.


Darren says the positive impact of the one-hour session would last the whole day, a palpable buzz in the aged care home.


When Chaffey’s Board was made aware of the positive impacts of the music therapy program as part of the rationale for building an intergenerational childcare centre on-site, they were immediately supportive. It also meant that Chaffey would have an alternate source of income, an important consideration for residential aged care homes. Moving very quickly, the new centre, catering for preschoolers from six weeks to six years, was built in less than 12 months. Located just 15 metres from the aged care home, it features a large intergenerational space, appropriate seating, accessibility toilets, lots of storage for programming resources, and a porch overlooking the playground with seating for residents. The fenced garden next to one of the residential wings allows for social distancing, while residents can see and hear the children in the playground. Despite restrictions due to COVID-19, meaning a soft start and limitations on numbers, the centre has proved itself with significant and noticeable benefits to residents and the local community..

“We had a care recipient in the learning centre with repetitive strain injury. A little girl asked him to draw her a picture and he said he couldn’t possibly do it,” said Darren. “Half an hour later, this gentleman was still drawing. The little girl had pushed him beyond his own self-imposed barriers, she was able to transcend his limitations, and do what no physiotherapist or care staff could do for him.” Chaffey is looking to further develop and extend intergenerational programs at the centre, and has contingency plans based on technology and music streaming, should COVID-19 restrictions re-emerge. Having just embarked on a doctorate of public health through LaTrobe University, Darren will be using the initiative as his research project. “I want to find ways we can support the replication of intergenerational approaches. We know these work exceptionally well, and robust research will likely confirm it,” he said. ■ Linda Baraciolli is Fusion Editor and Communications Advisor, Leading Age Services Australia.

For more information visit

With positive stories too numerous to mention, here is just one more to illustrate the point.


Are your staff paid for all the hours worked? Are they receiving the correct penalty rates, overtime and weekend hours? Do pay rates reflect the latest changes to awards or national minimum rates? It’s important to understand how awards and enterprise agreements apply to your business, and make sure your staff are paid the right amount at the right time. LASA can help lighten your payroll burden ensuring you have more time for client care, while reducing your overheads. We’ve been delivering payroll services for aged care organisations for over 20 years. Our team understands modern and older awards as well as the many varied enterprise agreements. We offer professional, cost-effective and accurate payroll processing and comprehensive reporting for each pay cycle, each month and at end-of-year.

Make payroll fast, efficient and easy. Your staff will love you for it. Call LASA today to find out how we can help you! 1300 111 636



Is It Time to Rely On Humanless Disinfection? As the pandemic shifts the way we do things, 2021 is estimated to spur opportunities for more efficient cleaning and disinfection systems that will be dominated with faster, humanless, and more sustainable technology.

millions of human lives. This year, we should aim for a drastic reduction in human cleaning error. Will Artificial Intelligence (AI) replace humans?

There will be no more chance for human cleaning errors. Outdated healthcare hygiene and infection control practices and procedures need to be evolved in order to fight outbreak and healthcare-acquired infections, including within aged care facilities. Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the drive towards automation across the world, not only reflecting the increasing needs for a more rapid, frequent cleaning and disinfection system, but also to limit human contact. Just on patient discharge or residents’ room for example, we would need to clean the walls, ceilings, every inch of baseboard, and everywhere a pathogen could live. To meet the expected standard and frequency of cleaning, we need a greater system that can help to achieve this. At the end of the day, it is more than just improving experience and quality of care - it is about saving

There is an increasing concern that AI may jeopardise livelihood as there are numerous studies suggesting how it can perform a level playing field or even better than humans at some key tasks. This includes providing vast data sets of potentially life-saving information, or algorithms that outperform radiologists at spotting malignant tumors. But rest assured that AI systems will not replace healthcare workers on a large scale, but rather augmenting our efforts to care for patients. Workers may move toward more meaningful job designs and tasks that focus on utilising human skills like empathy, persuasion, or big-picture integration. It is a crucial thing in the beginning of 2021 to start looking at introducing AI or humanless disinfection systems to your employees, and give them a better understanding on how to adopt this technology. It is just about time we get used to working alongside AI in the attempt to design a better hygiene system.

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hile the recent Aged Care Royal Commission has turned the spotlight on aged care, it has also highlighted the importance of evolution and innovation in the sector—including in the area of socialisation, the importance of face-to-face interaction for residents, and the impacts that loneliness can have on mental wellbeing and physical health. Loneliness already affects a disproportionate number of senior Australians, but for some members of our senior community, social isolation has become a serious public health concern. While it is essential for our industry to be committed to continuous improvement and welcome ongoing reform, it is also important to pause and acknowledge the amazing work being undertaken by quality aged care providers, senior management and frontline aged care workers around the country, who continue to ensure that their residents remain engaged and both physically and mentally well. Aged care staff are at the forefront of our industry, with the vast majority making enormous contributions to the lives of the residents for whom they care. It is this commitment to overall wellbeing that gives families peace of mind, knowing that they are making the right choice for their loved ones. While loneliness is not exclusively a problem for our ageing population, it can certainly be felt by the elderly, many of whom feel a genuine sense of loss at the disintegration of their social lives and reduced interaction with family and friends—whether caused by being widowed, dealing with dementia or an ill partner, poor personal health, immobility, or living away from relatives. Technology such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime and phone calls can play an important role in maintaining contact with loved ones, however there is strong evidence to suggest that

daily face-to-face contact, social interaction, and in-person friendships have significant medical benefits and can vastly improve quality of life of older people. In quality aged care and retirement living, face-to-face contact and social interaction with other residents, care staff and nurses happens every day. The friendly environment and community spirit that prevails in such residences means that they are the perfect place to make new and lasting connections, and a worthwhile option for older Australians who are still living at home who have decreasing social interaction, or who find it increasingly difficult to leave the house. Our experience demonstrates that a healthy frame of mind, positive attitude and strong social connections are critical not just to our residents’ enjoyment of their senior years, but to their physical wellbeing as well. While making the move to aged care can be a difficult decision for many mature Australians and their families, the choice is often rewarded with a wide variety of positive benefits. Gaining access to a wealth of amazing on‑site amenities and specialist care services is obviously important, but eliminating social isolation, participating in engaging activities, forming new friendships and improving physical and mental wellbeing should be also be considered as top priorities. While we as an industry need to address head-on a number of challenges that we are currently facing, we also need to remember why aged care is of real benefit to so many in our community, and the important role that it plays in our society. For many reasons, aged care remains the right choice for many mature Australians and their families. ■ Kerry Mann is Chief Executive Officer, Cranbrook Care

For more information visit




The Volunteering Resource Hub will help you support volunteers in your workplace.



olunteers are a vital part of the aged care workforce, supporting the wellbeing of older people in their homes and in residential settings.

Last year, volunteering was hit hard by COVID-19 and nowhere more than in aged care. During the height of the pandemic, our research showed that two out of three volunteers stopped volunteering, equating to an estimated loss of 12.2 million hours per week. Recent Volunteering Australia data shows volunteering is not ‘snapping back’ even as restrictions lift. Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of respondents to a national survey said their volunteer programs were not fully operational. Overall, 42 per cent of the nearly 600 respondents said they were not confident they will achieve pre-COVID levels of volunteering activity in the next six months. The 2016 National Aged Care Workforce Census and Survey estimated that volunteers are engaged extensively across aged care, with 83 per cent of residential facilities and 51 per cent of home care and home support programs utilising their services. It is not difficult to understand why volunteers are an essential part of the circle of care our older people should be receiving. They provide social support and companionship for older people in their own homes and in residential care settings, particularly for people who may have few visitors. They can provide help with household or daily living activities, shopping and transport. In many cases, volunteers have skills and experience, for example language and cultural skills, which can add significant value to the support older people receive. Volunteering can also play an important role in the lives of older people who volunteer, maintaining social connections and overall wellbeing. Place-based approaches to volunteering, which harness local connections, are important in supporting older people to volunteer for as long as they are able. As we adapt to living with COVID-19, how do we ensure that volunteering recovers and that volunteers are included in the aged care reform agenda?


The Aged Care Royal Commission identified the integral role that volunteers play, with Recommendation 44 stating that aged care providers should increase their support for volunteering and volunteers. This includes assigning the role of volunteer coordination to a designated staff member, where providers operate a volunteer program. The final report also recommended that the Australian Government promote volunteering in aged care and provide more funding to support volunteer management (through the Volunteer Grants program). Further, the Royal Commission advised that the Australian Government provide additional funding to expand the Community Visitors Scheme and to change its name to the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme. This would extend support for older people receiving aged care who are most at risk of social isolation. As the reform process progresses, the role of volunteers must not be sidelined. This means ensuring that the Australian Government directs resources to the volunteering recommendations of the Royal Commission, as Volunteering Australia called for in our submission to the upcoming Federal Budget. To support the reinvigoration of volunteering, Volunteering Australia has launched a new online Volunteering Resource Hub to help anyone who helps manage, lead or coordinate volunteers. It brings together useful, evidence-based and current best-practice material to support effective volunteer management. Everyone in the volunteering ecosystem has a role to play in reinvigorating volunteering in aged care—from Government to aged care providers, and beyond. As National Volunteer Week approaches (17–23 May), let’s plan to celebrate the amazing contribution of volunteers in aged care. ■ Dr Sue Regan is Policy Director, Volunteering Australia

For more information visit





lephants do not belong indoors. If you come across an elephant in a room, it is best to move it outdoors— where it can no longer be a danger to others.

Elephants should definitely not be in rooms associated with the care of our elders. However, in the shadow of the Aged Care Royal Commission’s final report, we have identified some elephants wandering around aged care homes and possibly even strolling the halls of Canberra’s Parliament House. If not removed, they will undermine our efforts to realise world-class aged care, the kind of system envisaged by Commissioners Tracey, Briggs and Pagone. I would like to identify and draw the attention to these elephants and make sure they do not harm the quality and reform of our aged care system.

They sometimes tolerate things that are imperfect or frustrating, and end up enduring things that are not quite right. Many times I have had people explain about key issues impacting on their ability to deliver the care or support that is needed, with regard to regulatory oversight or concerns with the service ‘down the road’. When asked how they would like this matter addressed or escalated, they do not want to be named because of potential retribution from the bureaucracy. They sometimes put up with the situation, even though it is wrong. The Royal Commission stated: “…the role of Government and its need to make decisions between competing governmental priorities is at the heart of the failures and shortfalls in the aged care system we have in Australia today.”

1. Accountability deficit

Could it be that the Government has the same fears? They put up with an inadequate aged care system because they have concerns about engaging in a national discussion on how we support and fund the aged care system to deliver what is really required. We must call it out and speak directly to it—only then will be able to move forward.

At the system level, regulators were telling us for years that up to 98 per cent of aged care providers were meeting their accreditation standards and doing a reasonable job. Nevertheless, following the shameful Oakden scandal, we found that incidents of regulatory non-compliance increased exponentially.

3. Fragmented voices

In my time in the age services industry, I have witnessed an inability to own problems when they arise. At the national level we had the Federal Government arguing last year— notwithstanding they legislate, regulate, administer and fund the aged care system—that they were not responsible for it.

When quality issues began featuring in the media, our Members were telling us that the issue was likely related to not enough staff and funding. We raised this with the Department of Health and were told the problem was with providers ‘upcoding’ Aged Care Funding Instrument assessments.

Over the years, the fragmented voices representing aged care and internal competition for profile and resources have disadvantaged the sector. There is so much that unites us yet the competition among representative groups, and debate over which peak body is better, has helped contribute to the current situation. Fortunately, the Australian Aged Care Collaboration was formed last year and sets an example of how we can work together.

The question is when things go wrong, who is accountable? The answer is—we all are.

LASA has always advocated for a single, unified, aged care peak body, to develop and grow our industry and to represent providers of age services on behalf of the older Australians they care for and support.

Collectively, we need to own things when they go wrong, to realise a better aged care system.

We fervently believe we are stronger together—and we must move the elephants out!

2. Fear of retribution

Sean Rooney is Chief Executive Officer, Leading Age Services Australia.

We often hear about the fear of speaking up—from residents, clients, their families, aged care workers and providers.

For more information about the Australian Aged Care Collaboration visit


It’s time to recognise excellence in your workforce. Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) is pleased to announce nominations for the LASA Excellence in Age Services Awards 2021 are now open. Proudly sponsored by HESTA, the national awards program aims to promote and recognise demonstrated excellence across the diverse and dynamic fields of endeavour in the age services industry. The LASA Excellence in Age Services Awards celebrate the skills, passion and achievements of organisations and people dedicated to providing quality care to older Australians, while enhancing public confidence and community engagement. Recognition offers organisations the opportunity to increase brand awareness and provides a point of difference in a competitive market—at the same time raising the bar for the rest of the industry. Involvement in the awards leads to positive reinforcement for staff—and is a fabulous way to enhance workplace culture and value workforce talent. If you know an outstanding organisation, team, individual or next generation leader, we would love to hear from you! AWARD CATEGORIES will be judged at the State/ Territory level (VIC/TAS, NSW/ACT, SA/NT, QLD and WA) and presented as part of Aged Care Employee Day 7 August 2021. Winners at a state level will proceed as finalists in the National Awards.

ORGANISATION An age services organisation that has demonstrated excellence through a specific initiative or contribution, or their development of workforce culture.

TEAM An age services team that has demonstrated excellence through a specific initiative or contribution that has improved the lives of older people.

INDIVIDUAL An individual with more than five years’ industry experience who exemplifies the values of integrity, care, responsibility and/or ingenuity, who models bestpractice care.

RISING STAR An individual with less than five years’ industry experience who exemplifies the values of integrity, care, responsibility and/or ingenuity.

NEXT GEN YOUNG LEADER An individual under the age of 40 who is using their youthful zeal to make transformative changes in the age services industry.

NOMINATE NOW at Thank you to our LASA Excellence in Age Services Awards sponsors. NATIONAL AWARDS PROUDLY SPONSORED BY





he World Health Organisation’s definition for ageing well mentions an important phrase: ‘the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age’.

Almost surprisingly, being free of disease or infirmity is not necessarily a requirement for healthy ageing. Many older adults have one or more health conditions that, when well controlled, have little influence on their wellbeing. Functional ability is about having the capabilities that enable people to be and do what they have reason to value. This includes a person’s ability to meet their basic needs; learn, grow and make decisions; be mobile; build and maintain relationships; and contribute to society. Functional ability consists of the intrinsic capacity of the individual, relevant environmental characteristics and the interaction between them. Intrinsic capacity comprises all the mental and physical capacities that a person can draw on and includes their ability to walk, think, see, hear, and remember. The level of intrinsic capacity is influenced by several factors such as the presence of diseases, injuries, and age-related changes. The environments in which we live can favour healthy ageing or be harmful to it. Environments are highly influential on our behaviour, our exposure to health risks (for example, air pollution or violence), our access to quality health and social care and the opportunities that ageing brings. Environments include the home, community and broader society, and all the factors within them such as the built environment, people and their relationships, attitudes and values, health and social policies, the systems that support them and the services that they implement.

Being able to live in environments that support and maintain one’s intrinsic capacity and functional ability is key to healthy ageing. Healthy ageing is about creating the environments and opportunities that enable people to be and do what they value throughout their lives. Each year one in five Australians will experience a mental illness, and we all have a role to play in supporting them, not least those who care for them on a daily basis. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) was founded in Australia in 2000 and has now spread around the world, taught in 26 countries. In 2017 MHFA Australia released the Older Persons MHFA course, which teaches caregivers and loved ones how to assist a person aged 65+ who may be experiencing a mental health problem or mental health crisis until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves, using a practical, evidence-based Action Plan. The course is based on guidelines developed through the expert consensus of people with lived experience of mental health problems and professionals. Evaluations consistently show that Older Persons MHFA training is associated with improved knowledge of mental illnesses, their treatments and appropriate first aid strategies, and confidence in providing first aid to older individuals with mental illness. It is also associated with decreased stigma. This kind of training can go a long way—one person at a time— to assisting older Australians to live their best life and age in a way that is as healthy as possible for the individual. Because everyone should be given the chance to experience healthy ageing. ■ Michelle Turner is a Registered Nurse, Older Persons Mental Health First Aid Instructor.

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he implementation of a new residential assessment and funding tool will impact the operations of residential aged care providers across all levels.

After a trial of the proposed new residential aged care assessment and funding model last year, a 12-month ‘shadow assessment’ of Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) will commence in April 2021. “It’s apparent that AN-ACC can meet its goal on a national scale, whereby it’s a more effective and holistic tool for estimating the funding and staffing requirements for residential aged care,” says Andrew Raworth, Senior Consulting Manager at Rohling International. AN-ACC is intended to ensure heightened stability and fairness in residential aged care funding, and improve accuracy and national consistency in assessments. It also aims to reduce time spent on paperwork, enabling providers to increase time spent on safe and effective care, as well as encourage innovation and a culture of restorative care. Assessing all residents with AN-ACC alongside ACFI should allow for a smooth transition to AN-ACC in 2022, if funding reform moves forward—but it will not be without its challenges. While the Australian Government has not confirmed its decision to implement AN-ACC and in particular, the scope of the transition to a new residential assessment and funding model, it is not to be underestimated—especially in conjunction with other expected changes due to the Aged Care Royal Commission, COVID-19, and legislation changes such as Unspent Funds for Home Care Providers. For those managers who experienced ACFI replacing RCS first-hand, the significant challenges and costs associated with transition would not have been forgotten.

However, AN‑ACC will require even more work in terms of preparation and implementation, due to its scope. Unlike ACFI, AN-ACC takes into account a resident’s physical capacity, cognitive capacity, mental health needs and behaviour within assessments and funding. Additionally, it has been determined that AN-ACC assessments can be efficiently completed by an external assessment workforce. “The implementation of AN-ACC will have a macro effect on all aspects of the organisation, not just funding, finance, and assessment teams,” says Andrew. “Providers will need to consider a new operational framework, workforce planning, and maintaining and improving quality of care outcomes, as well as commercial viability, visibility and sustainability.” Workforce planning will require changes and restructures to operational teams. The current staffing models that residential aged care operators have in place—such as ACFI teams and coordinators, and funding teams—will have to be completely pivoted to more effectively align with AN-ACC, and any external assessors. There will also be a need for cohesive organisation learning and development across all levels, from front-line staff through to executive teams. All material, instructions, funding guides and documentation will need to be developed for employees and resident communications, with providers needing to plan for their employees to be re‑trained. People, processes and systems will need to transition to AN‑ACC. Having strong IT and business alignment to support the organisational change management process will be vital to maintaining commercial viability and quality of care.

Continued on page 65



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Retirement Village Manager of the Year


Applications for the LASA Retirement Village Manager of the Year Award are now open.

The award also highlights the important role that retirement communities play in providing affordable, age appropriate housing and vibrant social and community services for senior Australians.

The award, proudly sponsored by Mullins, aims to promote and recognise excellence across the seniors’ housing and retirement living industry.

Nominations for the LASA Retirement Village Manager of the Year 2021 close 9 April 2021 and the presentation will be streamed online 10 June 2021.

It celebrates the passion and achievements of managers who continually maintain high standards in customer service, sales and marketing, complaints and dispute resolution, and robust operational management processes across their retirement community.

Nominate your favourite Retirement Village Manager today!

INSIGHTS FROM INDUSTRY Continued from page 63

Providers’ systems will need to change to support the new assessment and funding model. For most providers, this is not just one or two systems, it will be many systems across their application landscape.

“While the idea of these changes can be overwhelming, and will take a lot of change management across multiple areas to implement, it will be less stressful and more cost-effective to strategically plan for these changes now.”

These can range from Resident Management Systems to Clinical Management Systems, revenue planning and forecasting systems, sales and resident agreement systems, rostering systems, learning and development systems, government systems, and supportive software vendor systems, all of which will need to reflect AN-ACC.

Rohling brings people, processes and systems together to make aged care providers more efficient and effective. Its team of trusted independent advisors specialises in customerfocused solutions, so aged care providers can focus on what’s most important—maintaining the service of top-notch customer care in a changing landscape. ■

“It’s imperative to get ahead of these changes and plan for the commercial and operational challenges that are on the horizon. Otherwise, service providers will fall behind, and it will be a very costly exercise to catch up to industry leaders,” says Andrew.

Ian Gilmour is Chief Operating Officer, Rohling International For more information visit



THE MANAGER’S ROLE IN ACHIEVING AN AMAZING WORKPLACE CULTURE EXPLORING THE LINK BETWEEN LEADERSHIP AND CULTURE Your workplace culture stems from the top Standard 8 of the Aged Care Quality & Safety Standards reminds us that the leadership team is accountable for promoting a safe, inclusive workplace culture and delivering quality care and services. The leadership team includes board members, executives, managers and supervisors.

Leadership is the ability to guide the strategic direction and empower the people of the organisation. The board and your leadership team are ultimately responsible for the culture of your organisation, the way in which it operates, the extent to which it is compliant with legal and industry regulations, and its impact on consumers and the community.

The three key elements of the manager’s role

As part of the leadership team, managers play an integral role in fostering a positive workplace culture and mitigating factors that might damage the culture. This involves role modelling of appropriate actions and behaviours, and addressing issues or concerns straight away. One of the concepts that WorkPlacePLUS teaches in our management training program is the Essential Management Framework, comprised of three key elements: 1. CLARITY

Why is culture important?

A healthy workplace culture allows aged care providers to develop and retain high performing teams; maintain staff engagement; attract talent and clientele; promote the delivery of sustainable, quality services; and provide safe, dignified care. A tense, negative or toxic workplace culture puts you and your staff at risk. It can be the breeding ground for costly mistakes, low productivity, high staff turnover, complaints or grievances, and a compliance notice from the Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission. While there are many ways to lead an organisation, these are some of the ideal leadership actions and attributes for achieving an amazing workplace culture:

Leadership should have their finger on the pulse of the organisation. For managers, having cultural clarity is not only about understanding the organisational values, goals and expectations, but also being tuned in to the atmosphere and engagement level amongst staff.

Reminders: • Be clear about values and expectations • Be tuned into the workplace culture • Review the cultural climate regularly • Seek collaboration and continuous improvement 2. COMMUNICATION

Managers should always make clear, direct communication a priority. It’s important to not only check in regularly with staff and provide feedback, but also to create a safe space for staff to speak up about workplace issues.


• Growth mindset, open to learning and change

• Regular and transparent communication

• Approachable, regularly give and receive feedback

• Give and receive feedback

• Proactive, investigate red flags

• Have courageous conversations

• In touch with the cultural climate, understand what motivates their staff

• Treat complaints seriously and assist in dispute resolution




Managers need to understand the organisation’s policies and any legislative requirements, including those outlined in the Aged Care Quality & Safety Standards, the Fairwork Act 2009, the Workplace Health & Safety Act, and any COVID-Safe workplace requirements in your State or Territory. Managers also need to ensure that all employees are aware of the rules.

3 Elements of the Manager’s Role 2. COMMUNICATION Culture Vision Objectives Values Expectations

Reminders: • Know the industrial rules and guidelines


• Know the organisational policies and procedures • Give and receive training • Keep an eye on people’s actions and behaviour

Regular Direct Transparent Courageous

Policies Procedures Rules Legislation Best Practice


Essential Management Framework

• Lead by example, be a positive role model and encourage this in others Through positive role modelling and proper training, aged care managers can have a direct influence on the workplace culture. No workplace is perfect—there will be challenges. What’s important is how the issues are managed.

Reflecting on and revisiting the three keys—cultural clarity, regular transparent communication and industrial compliance— will help aged care managers continually improve and succeed in their roles. ■ Anna Pannuzzo is Director, WorkPlacePLUS

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New Light on Pathology Screening in Aged Care Anaemia Poor balance, poor memory and fatigue – Inevitable consequences of aging? Or maybe anaemia? Anaemia is a critical issue for patients with chronic diseases. Healthcare professionals need to recognise that anaemia is a frequent companion of cancer and chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and heart failure1. Studies have also found that anaemia is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia2.

Infection Respiratory infections are prevalent in the elderly3 in aged care facilities and should be managed and treated as soon as possible. They need answers quickly. Yet so often the only answer is to wait, transfer the patient to the local hospital, or start taking antibiotics without really knowing if they are necessary.

Diabetes Management Diabetes is common in the elderly population. By the age of 75, approximately 20% of the population are afflicted with this illness. Several lines of evidence suggest that optimal glycemic control and risk factor modification can substantially reduce the risk of complications in elderly patients4.

Fast, Easy and Accurate By providing fast and accurate anaemia, infection and diabetes management solutions, HemoCue is there for you. Our small portable devices provide results when and where they are really needed, with superior support from our local team. Contact us to find out how our solutions can benefit you and your patients.


1. Cavill.I, et al. Iron and the anaemia of chronic disease: a review and strategic recommendations, Current Medical Research and Opinion, 2006, 22:4, 731-737, DOI: 10.1185/030079906X100096. 2. Chang Hyung Hong, et al. Anemia and risk of dementia in older adults. Neurology, 2013, 81. 3. Meydani, et al. Vitamin E and Respiratory Infection in the Elderly. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 2004, 1031: 214–222. 4. Graydon S, et al. Diabetes in Elderly Adults. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 2001 Volume 56, Issue 1, M5–M13.




mong the many elements that contribute to organisational success in aged care, it is the people within the organisation who play the largest role. Fostering the right environment for the workforce has an overflow effect on everything from resident and patient care, to productivity and the bottom line. In modern workplaces, technology’s role in affecting the culture is ever-rising. Studies have shown that productivity will increase by an average of 31 per cent when the employee mindset shifts from moderate to positive, highlighting the correlation between culture and business performance. UKG’s Head of HR for ANZ/SEA, Rebecca Moulynox, speaks to the criticality of strong, positive culture. “It’s two-fold, we know that employees who are highly engaged and happy in the workplace will perform more productively

day-by-day. They tend to have greater attention to detail, are more diligent, and more willing to actively participate,” she says. “The other piece of this is the reflection that culture has on your customers. In aged care, what this looks like is residents feeling positive and safe about the care they receive and the environment they receive it in, because the employees are resourced and empowered to perform at their peak.” It has been suggested that 25 per cent of job success is predicted by IQ, and 75 per cent of success is predicted by optimism levels. With this in mind, it’s fair to say that it’s actually the culture which impacts upon the employees’ mindsets, that is going to have the greatest effect on the care that is delivered. So, how can technology proactively change an employee’s mindset? It begins by empowering that employee to succeed. People will inherently feel more confident, capable, and engaged when their organisation invests in technology that allows for autonomous work in a safe, compliant, and engaging environment. Technology provides employees with greater autonomy and more power over their work-life balance. This happens in everything from communications at work, to managing their entitlements, availability, and capacity. For example, digitally accessing leave accrual data to streamline the process of taking leave and removing disruptive manual approval methods has a cultural Continued on page 70


INSIGHTS FROM INDUSTRY Continued from page 69

impact that influences the trust employees have in their employers. The automation of people-centric processes also frees up the time of managers and people leaders. Placing these individuals back with their teams to support their succession plan, learning and development, and job performance supports a healthy evolving culture. “As a HR practitioner, I’ve seen time and time again the impact of admin-burdened managers and HR teams. It takes those people away from important operations and strategic initiatives,” says Rebecca. Workforce technology doesn’t just impact the end users. At the manager level, this is all about giving them access to real-time data so they can make informed decisions in the moment. A few examples include KPIs around overtime, continuous days of work, staff starting their shift late or even missing from their shifts, and much, much more. This data equips people leaders with the insights to be coaches, mentors, and change advocates. The relationship between an employee and their manager is often considered the greatest variable of team culture and employee experience.


The technology that people leverage every day in their personal lives is advancing at an incredible rate. “Workplaces will need to innovate to keep up with employee’s expectations that their professional resources will match the technology they interact with every day in their personal lives,” shares Moulynox. This is especially important to work culture as the younger generation increases its presence in aged care. In aged care there is so much at stake, because these operations pertain to the health and wellbeing of vulnerable older people. With such high stakes, culture cannot afford to be left up to chance. Leaders need to invest in technology that allows them to be present and active with employees to ensure the right mindset, behaviours and quality driven standards reach the residents. Your people will be your most competitive differentiator in the years ahead, so investing in technology that fosters a positive culture should be a top priority for aged care employers of choice. ■ Darren Kilmartin is Head of Healthcare Services, UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) ANZ/SEA For more information visit




ustralia’s aged care system was in crisis before COVID-19 and the pandemic has highlighted how precarious aged care facilities can be for vulnerable people and the importance of independent living.

It has exposed the need for reliable remote monitoring systems to reduce the health risks and viral transmissions of our elderly population while complementing the human touch, especially when direct contact is inaccessible. Assistive technology can give older Australians independence and provide optimal support for ageing in place. Studies continuously show people who age in place are happier and remain healthier further into old age. Further, the Aged Care Royal Commission’s final report recommended the creation of an assistive technology and home modifications funding category, citing InteliCare as an example of how this can work. AI is more than just iPads and duress pendants. It can enable current and future generations of older adults to remain at home, reducing the residential aged care burden. It also promotes younger people caring for their family, overcoming work and geographic constraints. Plus, it changes the tone of daily ‘check-in’ phone calls, which can start to become overbearing rather than a natural catch up between loved ones. InteliLiving is an award-winning AI-based home monitoring solution that allows people to live at home independently. InteliCare’s artificially intelligent system uses smart sensors to notify family or carers if an older adult’s activities of daily living change. Lack of movement for extended periods, social isolation or significant increases in bathroom visits are just some of the patterns InteliLiving identifies. It can also tell, for example, if the fridge door has not been opened, indicating lack of meal preparation and possible poor nutrition. If any anomalies are detected, family members and carers are alerted via a smartphone app. They can then put in place measures to prevent harmful events, rather than finding out too

late. The home becomes a virtual member of the care team and families become more engaged. Perth-based Dianne Herft said the tech has enabled her 81-year-old wheelchair-bound mother, Ailsa, to remain independent and has given the entire family peace of mind. “I love the InteliCare system as I can see her daily movements without having to make a phone call to ‘check in’ on her every day,” said Dianne, who is also a part-time carer for her mum. “I’m thankful that she is independent and can still cook and do gardening, within her means.” The most common misconception about AI technology is a perceived ‘lack of privacy’—a slightly sinister ‘Big Brother’ oversight. The reality is that with unobtrusive integration into homes (no cameras) and very secure data, our clients tell us we’re more of a guardian angel. Ailsa herself says that, “I feel much more secure knowing that InteliLiving is looking out for me.” ECHO Community Services, a not-for-profit in-home service provider for older Australians, adopted our technology in 2019 to increase the quality of care for its patients. Our work with ECHO was well received and gave ECHO the ability to extend independent living for its clients. “ECHO was able to trial the InteliLiving system with our clients, thanks to a CHSP innovation grant from the Department of Health,” said Jonathan Smith, ECHO Community Service’s CEO. “We are still in the final stages of that trial, and we’ve found clients have been using the InteliLiving system in different ways. “Some elderly clients used InteliLiving to stay connected with their family members and improve the conversation about health and wellbeing. “For people who are feeling isolated, this can be a really important lifeline, especially during COVID-19. Continued on page 72


INSIGHTS FROM INDUSTRY Continued from page 71

“These clients told us the system gave their families peace of mind, knowing they were OK during isolation, especially without being able to meet face-to-face. “Some ECHO clients used the system to track their own activities, and they told us this helped them pay more attention to their health and wellbeing. “The trial showed us how the system worked and generated detailed feedback. We’ve found the InteliCare team, including management and developers, have really engaged with the process. They have been working constantly to make the system more powerful and user-friendly. “Longer term, I see disruptive technologies like InteliLiving have the power to radically improve the way we support our clients.” It’s time we started seriously considering, as a nation, embracing smart technology and the huge opportunity it can provide for a better, more independent future for all of us. ■ Jason Waller is CEO and Managing Director, InteliCare For more information visit

InteliCare took out three 2020 iAwards – the Not-For-Profit and Community Solution of the Year, Technology Platform Solution of the Year, and the prestigious Victorian Government Inspiration Award.


Over the past two decades, successive governments have failed to act on more than 20 independent reports signaling the need for major reform in aged care.

We cannot allow this to continue. Please sign and share our #CareAboutAgedCare petition today:

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 72




echnology and IT support services are enabling aged care providers to deliver operational efficiencies, increase customer service and staff satisfaction levels, and empowering business leaders to make more informed decisions.

Automated, streamlined administration

The age services industry requires extensive paperwork. To stay compliant and secure funding, providers need to complete large amounts of documentation and supply evidence of their performance and care outcomes. With the right technology in place, creating these reports regularly—and sharing them with the right people—can be done quickly and easily. Without the right systems, providers can face an administrative nightmare—especially when it comes to audits and compliance checks. Implementing a robust and agile technology stack will streamline the reporting and compliance process.

Data-led decision making

By putting the right systems in place to capture and analyse data, aged care providers can make sure their people can access data in real-time, enabling them to make accurate and efficient decisions. A Digital Workplace Solution, such as Microsoft Power BI, gives access to a whole raft of information, via real-time visualisations, data models and advanced analytics. Armed with these insights, your people can very quickly determine which areas of the business require attention. Real-time data can also enable a home care provider to track the average time of home visits and build its costing model accordingly. Similarly, they could track the financial outlay associated with consumables, such as bandages or medication, to determine where and how items are being issued.

Supporting remote workers

Managing a team of remote workers can be both costly and difficult at the best of times and has now been made a little more challenging with COVID-19. With an appropriate technology solution in place, field service workers can update status and medical records in real-time, meaning providers can ensure workers are always allocated to the most appropriate or urgent jobs.

A carer who is doing an in-home visit for the first time could simply use their smartphone or tablet to check the address, estimate travel time, and view all medical records and client notes. Once at the home, they can easily update the person’s health records. This means that all healthcare workers associated with the same client can be more efficient and improve the overall level of care provided. Another key element to consider is the type of IT support your people are getting. Given mobile healthcare teams do not typically work a nine-to-five day, it is imperative that they have access to IT support services 24/7, 365 days a year. Ensuring they can access critical data and systems in real‑time is an area that should not be compromised as it can have real implications in patient care.

Backup and disaster recovery

For any organisation, having system downtime can be extremely inconvenient and costly, and for aged care this is no exception. Despite this, the data backup and disaster recovery systems and processes relied upon by many providers have been found to no longer be sufficient. To maintain business continuity and be ready for any situation, thorough planning and strategy are critical. This involves having both a reliable data backup process, a disaster recovery solution, and partnering with an experienced IT support partner, who will implement the solution and continuously monitor your IT systems. With technology changing rapidly, increased security threats, and a need to become more agile and more connected, all while remaining compliant and watching budgets, the importance of technology and IT solutions in aged care has been elevated. Investing in an IT provider to assess your operations in order to review, plan and implement the right technology and IT support services for your business is bound to reap rewards, and providers who fail to do so may find themselves lagging behind. ■ Michelle Primmer is Head of Marketing, Brennan IT For more information visit industries/healthcare/





s the Aged Care Royal Commission has now released its report and recommendations, providers need to ensure they are making the right decisions to help protect and support their organisation. With quality standards now being considered by providers and architects much earlier in the design or redevelopment stages of a project, it is more important than ever to understand and specify considered design solutions. If discussions around available smart technology, safety, intelligent resident monitoring, labour costs and reporting systems are held early, providers can eliminate the risk of missing out on new life-saving and money-saving solutions. Award-winning HLS Healthcare provides whole-of-life equipment solutions to aged care providers. These solutions not only assist in meeting quality standards, but also offer ways to improve methods of care, staff efficiencies and documentation processes. With the Elsi Smart Floor and integrated NurseCare, staff and family have access to more information faster. Carers can increase nurse-to-resident quality care time by reducing paperwork and less efficient documentation requirements. Staff can work more productively under less stress—all while reducing operational costs. This is not too good to be true. It is just about having the right knowledge. So what do the quality standards say? Standard 1 refers to Privacy and dignity for the residents. This is one of the most important standards. Families want to make sure their loved ones are treated with the best possible care in their last stages of life. Elsi Smart Floor is designed to sustain the level of privacy and dignity all residents deserve. Through non-invasive floor sensor based monitoring, Elsi is designed to trigger alarms if a resident falls, or if they wander into the bathroom when they perhaps shouldn’t. Maybe a resident gets out of bed too many times


over a certain period of time, alerting staff to a possible health issue. The vigilance is silent, but the benefits speak loudly. Every resident is different, so every room setup is differently. The Elsi Smart floor gives residents the independence they need whilst being subtly monitored, empowering them to live the best life they can. Standards 2, 3 and 8 have a significant impact on the way providers care for their residents. These standards put bestpractice always at ‘top of mind’. By offering an integrated Elsi Smart Floor and NurseCare system, we provide our clients with a proactive solution. The HLS NurseCare system is designed to improve productiveness of staff. The nurse call system integrates with the clinical documentation system, allowing staff to perform documentation for the resident while in their room, through the touch Tab on the wall. No paperwork. No information gaps. Just accurate and better documenting that equals better reporting and better outcomes for residents, staff and management. This also supports a provider’s ability to meet and exceed the requirements of Standards 2 and 3. Standard 8 relates to monitoring falls and enabling analysis. What if you could generate instant reports on falls? You can. Our solutions provide immediate information, such as when and how many times a resident gets out of bed, when they get up from their chair, and so much more. This gives the accurate information needed to make the right decisions, at the right time. Elsi Smart Floor combined with NurseCare provides staff the essential information they need, when they need it. Critical, quick and customised knowledge about residents— information they would not normally have access to—helps improve the level of care to meet the new standards for aged care. ■ Nicholas Stehr is CEO and Managing Director, HLS Healthcare.

For more information visit

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ARTG 232011 ARTG 232014

Getting to know your Disinfectants There are many types of disinfectants available in the marketplace. It is important to choose products that best meet your needs and check their ARTG listing which verifies claims made. Look at the MSDS to ensure suitability to your environment. Consider the different formats the products come in. Ensure you are minimising cross-over of products as this can reduce their effectiveness.

Keeping it simple Simplify your training as well as your protocols, S-7XTRA provides you with all-round and lasting protection against pathogens and is friendly and easy to use. Proven effective against Bacteria, Viruses including COVID-19, Spores, Mould, Yeast, Fungi and Mycobacteria TB. Tested in clean and dirty conditions, S-7XTRA does not require wet contact times and begins to work in 15 seconds. Kill times are 5 minutes for most pathogens.

What people say I have no hesitation in recommending S-7XTRA as an excellent product. This is our product of choice and the one we trust to meet our high expectations. The support we receive from the staff at Anaeron is second to none. – Daniel from Medclean - cleaning and laundry services to the aged care industry.

Our solutions are proudly made in Australia. 76




he age services industry is evolving, with new technology rapidly changing the way residents and their families expect care. Assistive technology is becoming integrated into the way we approach aged care and is an integral part of the industry’s move into the future. A fundamental system for all aged care providers looking to offer an effective and safe service is a visitor management system (VMS).

What is a VMS?

A VMS is a data-driven system that tracks the visitors who enter your site—contractors, couriers, guests of residents, etc. These systems replace conventional hand-entered visitor records with a real-time tool that is accessible from anywhere, allowing you to monitor and record the visitors that enter your aged care facility.

Automate contactless site access

VMS helps you deal with the challenges associated with COVID-19, including contactless QR code check-in and checkout. Geofencing capability automatically checks out visitors if they forget, which offers a complete overview of the time each visitor has spent on site and assists with contact tracing. The software and hardware allow you to add COVID-19 screening questions and have a thermal sensor which helps reduce the risk of contaminations. This is essential for the care of residents as they are considered high risk in this environment.

Online induction and training

You can save time and pre-register your visitors and contractors before they arrive on site. They can also complete an online induction and training or watch prescribed videos. The many benefits of this feature include decreased operational costs, consistent messaging and reduced risk factors. By choosing to induct online you will be able to train and inform your visitors and contractors about health and safety requirements for your sites in an easy and cost‑effective way. Examples of VMS by TIKS: a contactless kiosk and tablet check-in with integrated thermal sensors; and VMS thermal cameras and integration.

Digital transformation with intelligent analytics

Many visitor and contractor checkin systems are paper recorded. Utilising a higher technology route by digitally managing records reduces the paper trail, creating a more efficient and error-free record history. The basic check-in systems that have been rapidly introduced during COVID-19 are short-term fixes. VMS allows companies to have better control over permissions on site, connects visitors to hosts without physical greets, and allows for visitors to plan through pre‑registrations and transfer of knowledge via online inductions. The system also has the capability to manage contractors more efficiently on the go, including work orders, qualification validation, live permit approvals, access control and wayfinding.

Integrated solutions and hardware

VMS has the ability to be tailored to different needs for aged care providers and can be integrated with existing workplace systems to improve compliance and safety outcomes and reduce costs. Providers can take extra measures to protect their residents and team by integrating with access control system and hardware (e.g. turnstiles and license plate recognition system, breathalysers, thermal sensors and cameras) to detect skin surface temperature readings.

A call to action

For age services providers to remain viable and protect the needs of older people, they must adapt faster to innovation. A VMS is an essential tool for aged care facilities to help them control access, while providing a convenient and streamlined customer experience for visitors and contractors. It has never been more important. ■ Stephanie Stinton is Marketing Manager, TIKS. For more information visit





esidents should be at the centre of every service delivered within an aged care setting, including cleaning.

Conventionally, aged care homes are cleaned according to pre-determined routines. These routines are typically built around staff schedules, such as mealtimes or visiting hours, rather than resident schedules, such as socialising or time in common areas. The result is that residents have little input into how the facility is cleaned—despite it being their home. So, how can we deliver person-centred cleaning?

Making service requests via tablet puts residents in charge.


Service request and feedback technology Tablets and smart wearable technology make it easy for aged care providers to give residents control over cleaning procedures. Placing tablets around the facility and in rooms means residents can request service throughout the day and night. These tablets can also be used to enhance communication between facility staff and cleaning service teams.

Tablets offer large and easy-to-use interfaces and can be preset with common service requests, such as ‘clean spill’, ‘empty bin’ or ‘clean toilet.’ The closest cleaning service team member will be alerted via a smart wearable for fast issue resolution.


Why residents need to be at the centre of cleaning routines

Sound cleaning routines ensure facilities are safe by maintaining cleanliness, without impacting enjoyment of the space. Residents should have the freedom to enjoy the facility without being interrupted by service teams, and should be able to enter into areas when they want, and find them clean. Heatmapping technology identifies high-use areas and assets.

The tablet interface can also include a feedback screen so that residents can rate cleaning performance.

Issue monitoring

The data gathered from service requests and subsequent feedback can be trended over time. This data can then be used to inform cleaning schedules, meaning residents control ad hoc service requests, and their feedback is used to develop future cleaning schedules. The trended data staff gather from service requests can also be used to map frequently occurring issues. The trended data may show a spike of requests for a particular dining room during the afternoon. This could be because residents are taking afternoon tea there, but scheduling means the room has not been cleaned after lunch. With this knowledge, service teams can plan cleaning routines to ensure the dining room is serviced before and after that period, giving residents an improved experience.


They also need to be empowered to make service requests and provide feedback, to improve the system for everyone.

The technology exists to ensure residents are placed at the centre of cleaning routines. When this technology is utilised, service providers achieve the primary goal of aged care—providing a safe and enjoyable environment for residents to live in. These innovations bring the added benefit of making cleaning routines more efficient. Service teams can focus on high-use areas instead of wasting time and resources on never or rarely used areas. This means aged care facilities can deliver safer and more enjoyable spaces without necessarily adding to overall cleaning costs, while the money used on technologies is a drawcard for potential new residents. Switching to an innovative, resident-centric cleaning service ushers in a whole raft of benefits for residents and facility managers. It’s up to facility managers and cleaning service providers to make the switch. ■ Jim Bottomley is General Manager - Precincts and Health Division, BIC Services. For more information visit interactive-customer-experience-platform/

Imagined schedules for residents might differ from how residents interact with a facility. Heatmapping technology can help facility managers and cleaning teams build cleaning schedules around how residents move throughout a facility. For example, a particular common area may be used mostly in the afternoon while a specific entrance is used mostly in the morning. Instead of guessing when residents will use areas, heatmapping can be used to better predict when residents will be using an area, which can provide a more accurate guide for determining cleaning schedules. The tracking technology is also completely anonymous; it doesn’t record faces, so privacy is protected.





ood food and correct nutrition are essential ingredients for the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of our elderly in residential aged care.

Yet, despite the best efforts of providers, the Aged Care Royal Commission has estimated that between 22 and 50 per cent of aged care residents are malnourished. It’s clear that the management of nutrition intake in aged care is a complex task that requires more investment.

Currently, Aged Care Quality Standard 4(f) only goes as far as “where meals are provided, they are varied and of suitable quality and quantity”. The Aged Care Royal Commission outcomes are expected to take food service to a new level, with their statement: “nutrition care, food services and hydration… must include a system to monitor nutrition care and take action when necessary”. In other words, meals must be tailored to meet the resident’s current requirements, in terms of: • meeting their recommended daily nutritional intake; • ensuring that the serving size is tailored to the resident; • on plating up, it contains the correct amounts of the specified food groups; and • alerting the care manager and recording follow up actions should there be any exceptions. Strengthening food and nutrition systems for our elderly is the cornerstone for their health and overall wellbeing. While there are agreed standard ranges for protein, sodium and so on for all age groups including the elderly, it is essential these ranges can be amended for the individual resident depending on their clinical requirements. A recent report by Dieticians Australia into the value of correct nutrition in aged care, estimated a staggering $80 million per year could be saved if providers invested more in catering to the nutrition requirements of the people in their care, rather than dealing with the clinical cost resulting from insufficient nutrition. While your resident’s nutritional needs are assessed by nutritionists, how does your care manager know with absolute certainty that the resident’s nutrition care is being provided for, and how is this being monitored?

Nutrition is everyone’s business. Clinical assessment experts, chefs preparing the daily meal service, the care staff aiding during meal service, all have a responsibility to their residents for the food being prepared, served and consumed. Programs, such as the National Nutrition Policy, are being designed to provide greater levels of access and funding for allied health experts, training to assist other workers in nutrition care, and funding for assistive technology programs. While the policy is worked out, how will this work in practical terms—from the dietician to the dining table? Catering systems must be designed to help aged care operators manage resident’s meal service and their specific nutrition requirements. They must be able to provide kitchen staff the correct recipes and ingredients to ensure consistency for the day’s meal service, quantity required and serving sizes for residents while, at the same time, monitoring nutrition intake. Paperless catering systems are needed now more than ever, to record and report on critical matters such as resident’s meal preferences, nutrition intake, and ensuring that meal selection is precluded when a resident’s allergies are taken into account. A paperless catering system can link nutrition values to each recipe. As the resident selects their meals, the nutritional value is added to their Meal Service Record. Over the course of their weekly meal service, the total nutritional values are recorded, and any exceptions trigger automated alerts to care managers. Follow up actions are monitored until the issues are resolved. Additionally, Resident Nutrition Reports should be fully automated to reduce the monitoring workload of care managers, and to assist them to guarantee that remedial actions are met when required. Nobody should ever fall between the cracks. A system such as Aged Care Genie has been designed to do all of the above. It assists care managers and catering staff to manage the daily meal service, monitor nutrition intake and react when necessary—supporting you to provide quality care. ■ Kate Habkouk is CEO, Aged Care Genie

For more information email support@hospitalitygenie





OVID-19 and the long-awaited findings of the Aged Care Royal Commission have prompted us to dream bigger and smarter when it comes to designing and delivering the best services and living environments for older Australians. With a new horizon and changes to the industry upon us, we have observed an industry-wide pause where providers are taking a moment to rethink their approach to development. Greenfield site development is down, and refurbishment of existing stock is the new priority. Shared bedrooms and bathrooms are fast becoming a thing of the past, and five‑star facilities are becoming common inclusions. But how do we take the models of yesterday and mould them into warm, homely and innovative (as well as efficient and profitable) spaces for aged care residents today? Design is critical to the reimagination of these spaces but so often design is beholden to the outcome of ‘project feasibility’. What if we were to not only reimagine the way we use spaces within aged care, but also how we approach the process of feasibility, design and project delivery? What if, instead of individual stages, we considered this an integrated process? An amalgamation of services, information, finance, innovation and realisation into a streamlined, allinclusive process that considers all aspects in cooperation to achieve an efficient, smooth transition from start to finish? As a practicing Architect and Design Manager working in a company that specialises in aged care developments, I hope to see the design and aged care industries working together on projects to raise the bar for our ageing Australians. To facilitate this partnership, we need to understand each other’s needs and aspirations for each project. Architects and designers are well versed in obtaining and understanding a client brief—but what do we need from our clients in order to make the process as smooth as possible? Top tips for a seamless redesign process 1. Get your designers, builders and estimators involved as early as possible. The earlier you are able to garner good information and advice, the earlier you will be able to make well informed decisions around the feasibility of a potential project.


2. Investigate various options relating to the feasibility of a project, but make sure that your study does not just look at one aspect of the project. A cost only or design only feasibility study will give you only one side of the story. Look at the whole picture so you can have a clear vision as you move forward. 3. Always communicate clearly and comprehensively. Speak in detail with designers, builders and estimators who specialise in the field of aged care—even better if they are all part of the one team. An integrated team can provide services far more efficiently than several separate consultants. Specialist consultants will always be required and provide absolutely essential services; however, the grouping of services can save you both time and money in the long run. Ultimately, we are all looking at a change in the way we work together as we move into this new decade. Thanks to COVID-19 and the Aged Care Royal Commission, the age services industry will pushed to improve outcomes for our ageing population. It does not have to be daunting. I am excited to see where this will lead us, and look forward to the innovations in design and process that we will see in aged care moving into 2021. ■ Rebekah Martin is Design Manager and Registered Architect (NSW/QLD/VIC), Coverite Projects. For more information visit Aurrum Aged Care on the NSW Central Coast NSW, one of Coverite’s projects from 2020.




Indoor mapping made easy, working together to save lives. ohn Hummelstad, CEO of Locatrix, says when he joined the fire safety industry, he was surprised to find a disconnect in processes between building owner, building certifier and emergency services.

“PlanStudio unites us together and enables us to save more lives by supplying data when it is most needed, in a crisis,” says John.

Coronial inquiries into the Quakers Hill aged care home fire (with 11 fatalities), the Lindt Café siege and the Grenfell disaster all had one recommendation in common: that emergency services should have up-to-date access to digital building floor plans.

The content that contractors and certifiers collect through PlanStudio can be transferred to a learning outcome called PlanSafe, which provides site-specific online emergency training and warden instructions—ensuring your staff are trained only in precisely what they need, in accordance to their Emergency Control Organisation position and their specific site.

The scale of these disasters was largely due to a lack of plan and broken process.

Many reputable aged care providers are already using this online training method, including Wesley Mission Queensland.

In the case of the deadly Quakers Hill Nursing Home fire, staff failed to follow basic training procedures. Another problem was that the fire brigade could not locate the site’s hydrant.

Gordon Cunningham, Wesley’s Manager Work Health and Safety, says, “Having an online option for training provides reassurance that site-specific emergency requirements are understood. This means that training is delivered efficiently and conveniently. Time and resources are not wasted on booking facilities and rounding up staff, and operational costs are kept down.

With a background in technology, it became John’s mission to create an application and a business model that would help avert such disasters in the future. The result of his work is called PlanStudio. The PlanStudio software is an easy-to-use indoor mapping tool that automates the creation of digital floor plans. It also provides specific training and then assesses the learner on knowledge retained providing the administrator with the results from the assessment, forcing accountability. Since PlanStudio’s launch in May 2019, it has been embraced by over 80 per cent of Australia’s fire industry, and Locatrix has obtained over 23m sqm of digital floor plans. All plans are saved in a central repository called the Emergency Services Platform (ESP). These plans include critical building information which is not just for the safety of the occupants but for the first responders who are sent into danger risking their lives. The initial build of ESP was funded by the Australian Government for the purpose of improving public safety. The ESP stores the data secure to Australian security standard ISO27001 and is maintained by Locatrix certified partners, with access is only made available to emergency services. Locatrix does not charge for this service and views it as the combined purpose of all stakeholders involved.


“PlanSafe also relieves administration burden on managers as response plans, training records and compliance documentation are readily available on demand during accreditation assessments. “PlanSafe has also enabled fire an emergency training and compliance measures were maintained during COVID‑19, which meant that that the risk of not having staff prepared for an emergency evacuation could be eliminated.” For the creator John, this is satisfaction in itself. “I’m pleased there has been such incredible uptake among emergency services and now aged care homes. “My goal with PlanStudio, PlanSafe and ESP was to support emergency efforts and reduce deaths in emergency situations, and I’m glad to be able to offer the platform to Australia’s age services industry.” If your building plan is not already stored and shared with PlanStudio, talk to your building certifier. ■ Helen Hall is Executive Manager - Marketing Strategy, Locatrix. For more information visit




estern Australia’s Maurice Zeffert aged care home in Dianella is one of Australia’s most innovative, having clinched a Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) national Team Award for its cutting-edge collaborative leadership model, the first of its kind in the sector in Australia. A Jewish faith-based facility with 120+ staff, beds for 90 residents across low, high and dementia specific care, and with a retirement village of 50 units, Maurice Zeffert enjoys very high occupancy. However, what makes it exceptional is its decentralised management model where the business is run by a threemember executive team rather than by a centralised single chief executive officer. Those three are Director of Corporate Services Amanda Macnamara, a Chartered Accountant with a mining, oil and gas background, Director of Care Services Eileen Johnstone, a Registered Nurse who previously worked in Saudi Arabia, and Director of Operations Yvonne Goldman who worked as a Registered Nurse in South Africa before joining the Maurice Zeffert team. The decentralised model was implemented in 2018 when the then sitting CEO left the business—but it did take some convincing to put the idea into action. “The three of us, operated under this model whilst the CEO was absent” Ms Macnamara says. “We knew we had to take a business proposal to the Board, so we did a lot of research around not-for-profits, especially in Europe, which had this decentralised management model,” says Ms Macnamara. “We were quite nervous pitching this idea—we thought the Board would reject the proposal, keeping in mind they were very traditionalist.”

The Board did indeed reject the proposal, and instead they put in place a recruitment committee to find a new CEO, until a change of Board President just weeks later. To their surprise, the women’s decentralised management model was resurrected by the new Board President Irwin Tollman, who went into bat hard for the proposal and the team behind it. Irwin Toillman noted “They were very traditional, this had never been done before, and somehow I had to convince them about this proposal and the issues that would arise if we didn’t go for it” “It received almost unanimous support in the end.” The women were equally shocked and thrilled when they finally got the ‘yes’ from the board. They were placed on a 12-month trial from January 2018 and it went really well, so the Board extended it for another two years until December 2020, and it’s now been extended another two years. Ms Johnstone explains the greatest advantage of the decentralised model is leadership continuity. In a sector renowned for staff burnout at executive levels, a three person team also helps enormously to circumvent overwork, overwhelm, fatigue and stress. “We also have a really great rapport with the residents; a big part of the care and service we deliver is person-centric and it’s about community,” she says. “We’re visible and the residents feel valued and cared for and we have that kind of relationship with them.” The Board and the three executives themselves appreciate that their mix of professional skills and personalities is a big factor in their success. Continued on page 86


MEMBER STORIES Continued from page 85

Ms Goldman says the team has always said the model is not for everyone, but it works for them. “It’s not smooth sailing all the time—it’s like a marriage; if you strongly believe in something you’ve got to state your case and often there’s differences of opinion. “But that’s the beauty of the model—every decision is thoroughly tested with robust scrutiny because we challenge each other’s ideas and points of view. Increasingly the model is being adopted by other organisations, and the management team encourage others to consider it.

“In an industry with many small and independent operators we urge Boards to give their staff a chance to think outside the box, let them be dynamic and creative, and they might see their executives achieve some really cool things,” said Ms Macnamara. ■ Director of Corporate Services Amanda Macnamara, Director of Care Services Eileen Johnstone and Director of Operations Yvonne Goldman, Maurice Zeffert. For more information contact Amanda Macnamara 08 9375 4600.

Top L-R: Eileen Johnstone, Yvonne Goldman and Amanda Macnamara. Bottom L-R: Residents Sylvia Gordon and Marlene Glaizner with Board President Irwin Tollman.


IRT Home Care customer David Robson enjoying the view from his balcony with his son, using the telehealth robot.



HOW TELEPRESENCE ROBOTS ARE CHANGING HOME CARE 2020 was a year full of the unexpected, with the advent of mask wearing, social distancing and strict lockdown rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For one of our home care customers, David Robson, having a robot in his home to keep in touch with his son and home care workers may have been the biggest surprise of all. The Ohmni telepresence robot was loaned to IRT by Canberrabased Robots 4 Good in the midst of the pandemic lockdowns last year to test how the technology could help overcome social isolation and uninterrupted access to care for our home care customers. David was thrilled to participate. The telepresence robot is operated remotely using a secure web link on a computer or mobile. Once logged into the robot, it can be moved around a room using a mouse. Driving it feels almost like playing a video game and David doesn’t have to do or touch anything on the robot for it to work. David nominated his son Peter and his IRT Home Care Customer Relationship Manager to have access to the robot, and it is completely operated by them. The robot has a wide angle tilting camera which gives a truly immersive view into David’s home, far more than any handheld device that might be used for a video call. It also has a secondary camera to see around the base of the robot while driving it around the home. After calls, the robot auto-docks onto a charging station. The robot has helped keep David socially connected with his family during COVID lockdowns, and his annual home care review was conducted via the robot.

It can also be used to conduct home care budget reviews remotely, daily wellness checks to detect falls and could even be used in the future to monitor vitals and wound care. However, IRT has not applied it in these scenarios yet. The best part of this experience has been giving David and his son Peter the ability to spend time together in a way that they otherwise would not have been able to due to COVID restrictions. At IRT we are dedicated to improving the lives of older people. Part of that is breaking down the barriers of social isolation that poses a real risk to seniors’ wellbeing and happiness, even before COVID-19. We are very excited to test different technologies, such as the telepresence robot, that can help improve the lives of our residents and customers, and we are considering options to potentially make it available under our home care service offering. The pandemic has forced us to consider new ways of doing all sorts of things, especially how we stay connected when we’re required to stay physically distant. If you want to see what the future of ageing in place looks like, telepresence robots could well be part of it. ■ Ross Gallagher is Executive General Manager – Home Care, IRT Group. For more information visit





DK Senior Living’s journey started over 20 years ago when founder Paul Browne established his first seniors’ living community after experiencing the stark difference between a retirement village’s vibrant lifestyle and a nursing home’s institutionalised environment. Paul founded LDK on 1 March 2018 and appointed Byron Cannon as LDK’s inaugural Chief Executive Officer. The two of them have been at the helm ever since, with an innovative growth strategy and a clear vision: to ensure every senior Australian is treated with Love, Decency and Kindness (LDK). The business has a strong mid-term growth strategy to reach 3,000 apartments throughout Australia. Byron explains how they’ve set themselves apart. “The LDK difference is something we challenged ourselves with at the start of our business, by asking what differentiates us, we came to four foundational cornerstones.”

Greenway Views resident Jim enjoying a cuppa with a staff member.


“We conducted research to gauge what consumers are looking for. Not only do they want certainty and transparency when downsizing, they also don’t want to go to a nursing home. “They want to stay at home for as long as possible and when they move, they only want to move once.” LDK’s goal is to reshape seniors’ living in Australia by introducing a model based on four foundational pillars: 1. One Move Promise® 2. Lifestyle for Life 3. A transparent and clear membership-based financial model 4. A culture of Love, Decency and Kindness across every aspect of the company “Our model differs from the traditional Deferred Management Fee (DMF) model,” says Byron.


“From our research, we found that the consumer couldn’t understand how someone with a million-dollar apartment will end up paying twice the amount of DMF as someone with a half a million-dollar apartment, but both receive the same level of service. “We couldn’t reconcile that within our own minds either. “Taking that a step further, we developed our membership model to deliver transparency and provide certainty.” The model is designed to be simple to understand, based on three different costs: The cost to buy an apartment—people get 100 per cent of what they paid within six months of moving out The cost of LDK Village Membership—fixed amount irrespective of the value of the apartment capped for life Ongoing living expenses—general services charge capped for life The core of LDK Senior’s Living model is its One Move Promise®. When residents call LDK home, they never need to move to a nursing home, even if their care needs change. Residents can access all levels of care onsite 24/7, in the comfort of their own home. Couples can stay together, even if they require different levels of care. If residents wish to downsize from the LDK apartment as their needs change, they can do so at no cost. The strong message from the Aged Care Royal Commission is to deliver a product that meets the demands of the consumer,

and to have them at the forefront of your business model. Byron strongly believes that the LDK model is a good fit. “The consumer has changed significantly in the last few decades, so what might have been acceptable for the consumer before might not be suitable for the baby boomers and their families today,” he says. “There is a demand for a higher quality of living, for services, for care. There is an opportunity for the whole industry to come together and meet that demand, following the findings of the Aged Care Royal Commission.” LDK Seniors’ Living adopts a values-based approach to recruitment as well. “Our staff must align to the company’s culture of Love, Decency and Kindness,” says Byron. “We focus very heavily on culture. We model ourselves on being a genuine people-first business. We care for people, and our people care for people, so we need to invest a lot of time and resources into developing our workforce and have their values align to the values of the business, our purpose and our vision. “If we have an engaged workforce, we can deliver the best resident outcomes.” ■ Ashlee Robertson is Marketing Specialist, Greenway Views, LDK. For more information visit

Greenway Views resident David having fun with his grandson.





ario Mozetic has always had a passion for planes, ever since he became a fighter pilot at just 20 years of age. Thanks to Best Week, part of Whiddon’s relationship-based care culture, 87-year-old Mario was able to take to the skies once again. By really getting to know Mario, the team at Whiddon Redhead, an aged care home in the Lake Macquarie region of New South Wales, could identify just how important being a pilot was in his life. To help Mario relive the experience of flying in a plane, something he is incredibly passionate about, the team worked with his family to deliver a Best Week that reached new heights.

Whiddon’s Best Week and MyLife care model

Best Week is part of Whiddon’s award-winning model of care, MyLife, which is underpinned by relationship-based care. MyLife promotes holistic wellbeing and supports residents and clients across a total of eight emotional, social and physical outcomes. A resident’s Best Week is full of activities and events that are tailored to, and have personal meaning for, the resident. This can be a mix of smaller and bigger activities, such as eating their favourite meal or finding ways to visit the places that they love. It can also involve helping them to do the things they used to love to do, such as fishing, visiting friends, going to the theatre or watching a football game. MyLife enables and empowers staff to develop strong relationships with residents and clients, and partnerships with their families. It is an evidence-based approach to supporting older people through personal connection, meaningful activities and tailored care. Each resident has a MyLife buddy who is an employee who knows them best.

Mario’s MyLife buddy

It was Mario’s MyLife buddy, Lachlan Martin who came up with the idea of Mario’s Best Week joy flight.


As Mario’s MyLife buddy, Lachlan was able to discover a lot about Mario’s life experiences, his passions and what makes him smile. Lachlan knew that bringing his idea to life would be incredibly special for Mario and his family. Mario describes Lachlan as a ‘great mate’. The pair enjoy a very meaningful relationship and have come to know each other well. Mario’s Best Week has further cemented their relationship and they now have a very special shared experience that bonds them.

Mario’s special day

After months of planning, the day finally came for Mario to enjoy his Best Week. Lachlan joined Mario on the trip to Lake Macquarie Airport where he was greeted by 2019 Red Bull Air Race World Champion, Matt Hall, who made the experience even more memorable for Mario. Mario was excited to have his daughter Jo and grandson Kaile join him and Matt on the 30 minute flight. As they soared over the picturesque landscape below them, which included Lake Macquarie and Whiddon Redhead (where the staff waved to him as they flew by) on a beautiful sunny day, Mario and Matt spoke about their experiences as pilots. You couldn’t take the smile away from Mario. Jo said he was so full of life and enjoyed every minute of the flight. Lachlan looks forward to continuing to support Mario’s love for flying by finding ways to help Mario connect with his passion and working with his family to achieve them. ■ Belinda Ackermann is 87-year-old Mario’s Best Week Marketing & Communications sees him flying again. You couldn’t Manager, Whiddon. wipe the smile from Mario’s face For more information visit on his special day.




n a year filled with adversity and challenges, integratedliving looked to connect virtually with Australians wanting to learn more about a career in aged care and services on offer.

The move, a first for the not-for-profit, was to ensure that new, existing and prospective clients—from rural, regional and remote areas—received the same level of detailed information they would normally have access to in a COVID-19 free world. The virtual forums saw integratedliving’s senior staff and members of the executive leadership team engage with audiences across the months of February and March this year. The forums focused on careers in aged care, and the services and information available for individuals and their families. CEO of integratedliving Australia, Catherine Daley, said she wanted Australians to understand there was help at hand when getting started with in-home aged care services, even during the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We recognise the difficulties that older Australians and those living with a disability face in such uncertain times,” she said. “The virtual forums were our innovative approach to reach Australians needing access to information regarding aged and disability care. “Executive leadership team members and senior staff did a tremendous job adapting to change and speaking to members of the public in a new, online setting.” Head of Service Delivery, Nicole Hudson, was one team member who took to the online virtual forums to talk aged care support and services. “Our virtual forums were a great chance for us to connect with people from around Australia looking at aged care services for the first time,” she said. “We wanted to present information in simple, easy to understand language so that people know a little more about the potential services available to them, realising it might not be as daunting as they once thought.”

While all of integratedliving’s virtual forums attracted significant interest, members of the public were particularly keen to learn more about careers in the aged care sector. The career-focused forums included information about the many allied health and clinical opportunities at integratedliving, including an overview of the organisation’s individualised exercise and gym programs, nursing services, telehealth, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, as well as more traditional aged care support roles. With increasing funding support for home-based aged care from the Australian Government, integratedliving and other aged care providers are swiftly recruiting to respond to a surge in both allied health and non-clinical support roles. The need for qualified professional staff will also grow exponentially as the government responds to the recently tabled recommendations in the Aged Care Royal Commission’s Final Report. The aged care sector is expected to grow by 25.4 per cent over the next five years, with the Australian Government predicting this will be equivalent to about 179,000 job openings. Many integratedliving staff say the personal joy they experience working in the aged care sector helps to sustain them professionally and personally, feeling valued and observing wellbeing improvements in the lives of ageing Australians. When it comes to exploring career pathways in aged care, integratedliving Personal Trainer, Alicia Parker, said she found her work varied and rewarding. “The clients I train inspire me as much as I motivate them,” she said. “I assist clients in training for improved strength and mobility. Many of our clients are now doing things they thought they’d never do again. Knowing I played a role in their wellness journey is very special.” ■ Mark Acheson is Communications Partner, Integrated Living. For more information visit To watch integratedliving’s virtual forums, visit integratedliving’s YouTube channel.



FRESH IDEAS The Breeze Point Lonsdale is an active retirement community for independent people, located in one of the most desirable addresses on the Bellarine Peninsula. Surrounded by waterways, The Breeze is the perfect location for active living in a relaxed coastal community. The emphasis of the site is on vitality, health, and happiness, with a heated indoor pool, and a gym fitted with HUR Fitness Equipment, specifically designed to cater to seniors and all different abilities, providing a safe and effective workout. With five kilometres of waterways, including both walking and bike tracks right on the doorstep, and the beach just a kilometre away, this is the perfect location for active retirement years. With many exercise and activity groups led by residents, everyone can join in. One of the most popular groups is the very active Cycling Group who enjoy keeping fit with multiple bike rides a week. “I really enjoy the active lifestyle at The Breeze”, Joy says. “The Cycling Group has been a great way for me to improve my fitness as well as form new friendships”.

Other fitness groups at The Breeze include dog walking around the surrounding waterways, as well as yoga, kayaking, bowls and water aerobics.


Creating community – transformative care model + innovative education The Eden Alternative® model of care provides a flexible framework to build staff and organisational capacity, deepen relationships and grow community. This ensures effective change and compliance outcomes across the care continuum enabling people to grow. Our Education Products • Certified Eden Associate Training • Reframing Dementia • Dementia Beyond Drugs • Introduction to the Eden Alternative Our Services • Eden Registry • Eden Consulting Services We offer flexible online and face to face education sessions Our education provides synergy with the new Aged Care Quality Standards. We are a global member of the Eden Alternative worldwide For the latest education offerings, contact us to learn more about Eden Alternative’s education programs

P: +61437739779 E: W:



Can you re-roster quickly in an emergency? When it comes to in-home care, life is often unpredictable. Client Service Co-ordinators can spend a lot of time changing rotas and matching carers to clients. Home care software can help an in-home care provider manage unforeseen changes more easily and enable them to work faster.

Ultimately home care software that includes rostering can help streamline processes and save time, important in an emergency.

To find out more please visit

“CareLineLive has saved me loads of time as far as scheduling goes” Deputy Care Manager, CI Home Care Rostering software can benefit all stakeholders within an aged care business. Software such as CareLineLive has useful features such as a drag and drop functionality that allows for quick roster changes. You can also select multiple bookings for a single carer using a click and drag option; allowing you to make multiple actions on visits for a carer simultaneously. And with all updates communicated in real-time via their carer app, carers are instantly notified of changes in their rotas. To ensure all client visits/bookings are scheduled correctly, unallocated bookings stick to the top of the roster. Plus, Client Service Co-ordinators can assign a red-amber-green priority to clients; useful when there are staff shortages. Systems, like CareLineLive, also offer travel time estimates between consecutive visits to help maximise productivity and ensure the correct allocation of travel time.

Dementia goes hand in hand with anaemia

An elderly person with good cognitive function but with anaemia, has twice the risk as a non-anaemic person of developing dementia within three years. Since haemoglobin is easy to measure and anaemia can be treated, anaemia is thus a modifiable risk factor for dementia.

Drag and drop can improve the speed of rostering

The good news is, point-of-care testing provides fast, easy and accurate anaemia results. For more details see Atti, A.R. et al. Anaemia increases the risk of dementia in cognitively intact elderly. Neurobiol of Aging, 2006, 27; 278-284

This was found in a longitudinal study on people aged 75 and above. It was also seen that the lower the haemoglobin concentration the higher the risk for developing dementia. The researchers suggest that a chronic hypo-oxygenation of the brain due to a decreased oxygen carrying capacity of the blood could be the biological mechanism behind their findings. It was only in persons with an initially good cognitive function that anaemia increased the risk of dementia. This suggests that anaemia plays a role in the initial stages of the disease. It also supports the idea that anaemia is a cause of dementia and not an effect of it. The relationship between anaemia and dementia seems to be independent of other chronic conditions potentially related to anaemia and dementia since this was adjusted for in the study.

Do you work in a rural or remote aged care facility as a nurse or allied health professional? Is it difficult to go on leave due to a shortage of team members? Take a break on us! You may be eligible for Australian Government-funded support to help alleviate the pressure of finding a temporary replacement when you go on leave. Our unique program is subsidised by the Australian Government, meaning that there are no hidden fees. Your aged care facility only pays for the cost of hiring a locum for the duration of your leave period, that is, their wage, superannuation and any applicable taxes. Our program officers will recruit, screen and place highly experienced locums that can hit the ground running from the moment they arrive.

We help alleviate the pressure even further by arranging and paying for the locum’s travel and accommodation. All you need to worry about is ensuring your community receives ongoing healthcare during your absence. Are you interested in becoming a locum? For every rural and remote placement, you not only receive complimentary travel and accommodation, but you also receive an incentive allowance of $150 per working day and a $100 per day meals allowance.

For more information, please visit or free call 1800 Rural LAP (1800 18725 527).



Making active ageing easy in aged care facilities In the year ending 30 June 2019, the number of people aged 65 years and over increased by 125,400 people (or 3.2%); an increase that was seen in all Australian states and territories. The proportion of Australians aged 65 years and over is predicted to increase to between 26% and 28% in 2051, and to between 27% and 31% in 21011.

Traditionally, the notion of ageing has been associated with sedentary and inactive lifestyles; but thanks to science and its continuous confirmation of how exercise keeps the mind and body healthier for longer2 by delaying, and in some instances even defying the ageing process, this association is slowly weakening. For example, in older adults, exercise has been seen to improve mental health and wellbeing, increase happiness, prevent disease, boost social engagement, enhance cognition and balance, and reduce falls. The key to active ageing lies in the uptake of opportunities to move more, move better and reduce pain so our seniors can live happier, healthier and longer lives. By ensuring your residents have access to opportunities that support a positive and active ageing experience, you’ll be broadening your appeal in the marketplace by attracting families who share those same values of active ageing. As an Aged Care Facility, it may be easier than you think to provide residents with access to medical-grade aged care fitness equipment that is specifically designed for use by older adults. Life Fitness has a global reputation for its consistent development and delivery of innovative solutions that cater to the unique needs of this valuable demographic. As the distributor of industry-leading brands such

JD Healthcare Group – Manual Handling of People

Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries. These include work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as pain and injuries to arms, legs and joints, and repetitive strain injuries of various sorts. The term manual handling covers a wide variety of activities including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying. If any of these tasks are not carried out appropriately there is a risk of injury.

as Life Fitness, SCIFIT, Circuit Series Strength, Keiser Strength, Life Fitness specialises in the design, fit out and servicing of aged care fitness and wellness facilities of all sizes and budgets. These industry-leading brands specialise in the manufacturing of equipment that is backed by scientific research, and designs that ensure that your residents feel safe and confident at all times during their use. The result? Results that will earn your facility a favourable reputation among residents and the wider community. Life Fitness is a market leader in the global fitness industry whose unwavering commitment to health started when it created the world’s first electronic exercise bike 50+ years ago! Today, much of Life Fitness’ ever-growing portfolio of highly innovative products and equipment lines are specifically designed for preventative health and the successful rehabilitation of our ageing population. To find out more about how we can help make active ageing easy for your residents, while simultaneously broadening your market appeal, contact Life Fitness on freecall 1800 689 622, email enquiry@ or visit References 1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population projects, Australia, 2004 to 2101, cat. no. 3222.0, ABS, Canberra, 2006 2. University of Birmingham. “A lifetime of regular exercise slows down aging, study finds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2018. 3. Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 2019

Manual handling injuries can have serious implications for the employer and the person who has been injured. They can occur almost anywhere in the workplace and heavy manual labour, awkward postures, repetitive movements of arms, legs and back or previous/ existing injury can increase the risk. At JD Healthcare Group we provide solutions for the dignified and safe handling of people. Contact our Customer Service department today to find out how we can best assist you with your manual handling issues.

For more information visit

Health Security and Outbreak Management for COVID-19 and Beyond The world today is a different place due to COVID -19 impacting us all in some way. It is widely recognised that the elderly, especially those residing in residential facilities, have suffered the most and experienced the largest number of deaths resulting from the virus. Now more than ever, we need to keep elderly residents safe. An aged care provider’s duty of care includes making every effort to minimise the risk of infection. Providers need to ensure that all visitors, contractors and staff members comply with screening requirements before entering their care environment. e-Tools Visitor Management (eVM) is an affordable tablet-based solution to help you manage visitor access safely and efficiently. Key eVM features include: • Pre-register visitors for secure, fast sign-in • Customise visitor groups and declarations/messages by group • Record temperature checks and vaccination details • Automated notification to workplace host upon visitor arrival


• Print visitor ID labels instantly • QR code sign-out option

eVM is developed by e-Tools Software, an Australian company with 17 years’ experience providing aged care specific software and unrivalled local client support. What makes eVM superior to other systems is its ability to link to other e-Tools modules to share databases. eVM links to eSA (Supplier), eMR (Maintenance) and eSRM (Staff Records) modules to reduce double handling of data and make it easier to track supplier/contractor and staff attendance. On offer is a convenient add-on package, which includes a tablet, stand, label printer and ID labels to get you started immediately. Learn more about this purpose-built solution that can help you comply with current and future requirements.

Contact e-Tools Software on 03 9573 3277 or visit