What is the background to the paper by AHPA?

In the words of AHPA: 

As the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety concluded, allied health is a fundamental element of the aged care system, and is essential for ‘reablement’.  

Reablement is about rehabilitation and restoring (e.g. after a fall), or at least preserving as much as possible, older people’s capacities. The Commissioners said that reablement is critical to older people’s wellbeing and should be a central focus of aged care. 

  1. The Royal Commission therefore recommended that provision of consistently safe and high quality aged care include delivery of allied health services appropriate to each person’s needs.
  2. To achieve this standard of care, the aged care system must address the seven themes and related outcomes…

These themes are detailed in AHPA’s position paper and will be explored in STRIDE magazine over the coming months. 


What is the key issue in regards to the national care assessment and planning tool?

The Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) (AN-ACC) team’s tool recommended the separation of assessment of residents for funding purposes, from the assessment of residents for delivery of appropriate care.  

Further information on this tool is covered in part one of this series in last month’s issue of STRIDE. 


What are some implications for consideration?

The latter (being the assessment of residents for the delivery of appropriate care) requires development and implementation of a nationally consistent, evidence-based, care assessment and planning tool, for both residential and in-home care. This has not happened.  


What is the current reality?

In residential care, the assessor workforce only determines the AN-ACC funding classification level, and it is then up to facility staff to identify any perceived allied health needs. Whether the resident ends up receiving allied health services depends on existing staff skills and breadth of knowledge of different types of allied health, and so may only occur in response to an adverse event − and may vary by provider facility and even among individual staff.  

Currently, in home care, an assessor determines the range of total service needs, including potential allied health services, for each person. It is up to the assessor to decide if the person should be referred on to an appropriate allied health professional for a detailed clinical assessment, which will then recommend the services they should receive.  

Whether the older person proceeds on this pathway again depends upon whether the assessor has the training and knowledge to decide on referral to an appropriate allied health professional. 

Although some work is being done to strengthen the Aged Care Quality Standards, it does not specifically address the need for the tool (more on this in the July issue of STRIDE). In the foreseeable future then, many aged consumers will not receive the allied services best placed to meet their needs. 


Get involved

If you are a member of the APodA, learn how you can join the Podiatry Aged Care special interest group.