In this edition: Trachoma prevention in our communities, letters from school kids to our Elders, going live with AlayaCare, the launch of NATSIAACC.
Message from the CEO
Welcome to our Spring edition of our ACS Newsletter. It has certainly been a very cold winter and we are all looking forward to the warmer weather.
Over the past 12 months, ACS has continued to welcome new Elders to our community, and are currently supporting over 900 Elders across South Australia. Our services are delivered in a range of forms, from low level care, to high level residential care. ACS services are provided to Elders living in urban, regional, and remote locations.
The aged care reforms continue with the Government changing the Aged Care Act. aged care services, and aged care regulation. We will provide further updates on these matters, especially changes to aged care services where the Government aims to combine the Commonwealth Home Support Programme and Home Care Packages. The date for this change has now been deferred until July 2025.
It has been over 2 years since the recommendations from the Aged Care Royal Comission were released, and progress by the Federal Government and Department of Health and Aged Care to implement all the recommendations has been slow. Of particular concern is the slow implementation of the Aged Care Royal Commission’s Chapter 7 that relates specially to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged care.
As one of the largest aged care providers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, the uncertainty about the aged care changes, and what our future model of service might look like is a concern. I repeat comments from many previous newsletters, that we will keep Elders informed of the aged care reforms. I have repeated some of the above information in our previous newsletters as it seems the aged care sector is still working in a period of uncertainty with many changes.
I have informed all Elders in our services that ACS currently has some non-compliances, especially relating to clinical governance and clinical care. As a result, ACS is employing our own registered nurses and changing some of our contracted nursing arrangements. Elders who receive clinical care have been prioritised for a new clinical assessment.
Many Elders will remember when our community services started back in 1995 at Nunkuwarrin Yunti as Aboriginal Home Care funded under the Home and Community Care (HACC) program. The community never intended for Aboriginal Home Care to dublicate or replace clinical/health services that were and still are being provided by Nunkuwarrin Yunti or SA Health through their Watto Purunna Aboriginal Health Services. Despite the significant investment in Aboriginal health by the Commonwealth and state governments, the aged care reforms now hold ACS responsible for clinical care outcomes of our Elders in our services.
I have also advised all Elders on Home Care Package of changes to purchasing exclusions arrangements. Whilst the changes were made by the government in January 2023, we tried to reduce the impact of these changes by using our discretion on items purchased using our existing purchasing framework, the alignment of purchases to Elders goals, purchases that are related to the ageing process and reports from specialists. We have always tried to find a way to support the choices of Elders who are needing to purchase items under their Home Care Package, however, government rules have impacted our decision making. Please also read the article in this newsletter that related to our organisation’s social Impact Statement, our vision and Cultural Integrity statement.
The new Support at Home program is scheduled to start in July 2025 and merges the existing Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care Packages. The new program will contain a number of service categories which mean older people can choose the service category they need and service providers will need to demonstrate their capability to deliver the various service categories. Please also see the article in this newsletter relating to the new Support at Home program.
I trust you enjoy reading this newsletter and as always, we are happy to receive your feedback,
– Graham Aitken