The Office of the Inspector-General of Aged Care has released its Progress Report on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
AHPA and the Aged Care Working Group made a detailed submission to this process, and we are pleased to see findings in the Progress Report reflecting our concerns.
Almost all submissions expressed uncertainty about the Government’s approach to implementing Support at Home. Submitters said there needs to be a greater focus on and funding for allied health, including more substantial consultations with allied health providers. They also stressed that the redesign of home care should include an emphasis on a needs-based approach as well as preventative, rehabilitative and palliative care – all very relevant to the role of allied health professionals.
In response, the Inspector-General observed that a central priority should be on ensuring Support at Home is sufficiently funded to meet the care needs of all older people assessed as requiring support and care, in line with Royal Commission Recommendation 41, and that planning be based on need, not rationed.
The Inspector-General also endorsed calls from stakeholders for increased engagement by the Department of Health and Aged Care with the sector, so that they are kept informed about policy development and design of Support at Home considers relevant stakeholder insights.
The Progress Report noted that stakeholders were very critical of the implementation of Royal Commission Recommendation 38 (embedding allied health care within residential care). Most stakeholders said allied health is being excluded from sector-wide reforms, such as care minute requirements, and from the provision of direct care in the AN-ACC funding model.
The Inspector-General agreed with stakeholder views that implementation of this recommendation has not been consistent with the Royal Commission’s intent. The Inspector-General observed that increased delivery of allied health care in residential care is central to pursuing a preventative approach for all residents and improving quality of care outcomes, and that greater clarity and assurances should be provided to the sector and the community about how increased access to allied health will be delivered.
The Progress Report also considered that current reporting on allied health assessment and service delivery is more limited than the Royal Commission intended, and that questions remain about the sufficiency of funding for allied health in residential care settings.
AHPA looks forward to Stage 2 of the report, which will involve a more comprehensive assessment informed by more detailed engagement with stakeholders.
The most recent meeting of the Council for Connected Care occurred on the 11 of October. The meeting recognised the need for all Government digital health initiatives to broaden their project scope to include Allied Health data and information for optimal care outcomes for all consumers. A summary of the meeting discussion and outcomes is available here.
AHPA are pleased to have included in its recent member Symposium a session titled ‘Using big-data to drive evidence-based policy’ which explored the links between digital health initiatives, patient reported outcome and experience measures and access to big data at various stakeholder levels. The discussions this session generated have already proved eye-opening and fruitful for many. This positions AHPA and its members well to progress work with all our key stakeholders in these areas as we collaboratively advance allied health data availability, information sharing and consequently, outcomes for consumers.
Follow up discussions have been occurring within the internal pool and digital health working group and those interested can learn more at this upcoming webinar: Demystifying PROMs and PREMs: Kickstarter Webinar: Demystifying PROMs and PREMs (patientexperienceagency.com.au)
AHPA are working with members to identify allied health digital health champions who may be appropriate to participate in future digital health projects and consultations on behalf of their professional discipline. Members have been provided with a general indication of skills and knowledge digital health champions ideally possess to help identify these champions. AHPA plan to include the valuable knowledge of these practicing clinicians as we progress our digital health work, particularly that which will inform Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) initiatives.
Please note: ADHA also have this opportunity available for allied health practitioners with an interest in digital health initiatives the Government are embarking on.
AHPA are finalising a response to the Department of Health and Aged Care’s consultation: Modernising My Health Record – Sharing pathology and diagnostic imaging reports by default and removing consumer access delays – Australian Government Department of Health – Citizen Space and look forward to the follow up discussions which will inevitably need to occur as well as participating in the impending related clinical reference group.
AHPA continue to participate in and encourage all allied health clinicians with relevant knowledge to participate in the CSIRO facilitated working groups related to creating the Australian FHIR standards.
Details regarding the working groups and how to register to participate are here: How to Register – Participant Information – FHIR Accelerator – Confluence (csiro.au)
Initial information focused on will relate to:
More detailed communications directed at allied health clinicians will be shared with member associations for distribution to your members as you see fit.