New aged care funding and care minutes model neglects allied health professions

5_10_22 aged care minutes

Advocates are calling for “social and emotional” services to be covered under the future care minutes model and new funding model, as, currently, these new aged care reform changes do “not count” allied health services part of this new system.  

Providers must be delivering an average of 200 care minutes a day per resident – an extra 20 minutes for each person – by October 2023. And this rises to 215 care minutes per resident per day by 2024.

Additionally, on the first of October, the new Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model kicked in, where Government funding per resident rose from about $192 to $225.

As recommended by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the AN-ACC funding model classifies residents by their level of need and they can retain a higher level of funding if their health and mobility improves.

But this funding only covers the time a resident spends with a personal care worker or nurse and does not cover allied health services, like social workers and psychologists, as well as some leisure activities and social outings often organised by a residential aged care lifestyle coordinator.

Bronwyn Morris-Donovan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of peak body Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) said allied health services, including occupational therapy, speech therapy and art therapies, are disappointed that these valuable services do not count towards aged care minutes. 

“Since the Aged Care Royal Commission, AHPA has been calling for a multidisciplinary allied health team approach built into the provision of allied health services so that people are assessed for their actual needs,” she said.

“Residents could have a clinical assessment by a multidisciplinary allied health team – which can consider issues like speech therapy, occupational therapy, and psychology in addition to physiotherapy – after receiving their AN-ACC funding allocation.” 

However, allied health services have been neglected from these funding and care minute changes, which may result in less of a focus on wellbeing services in aged care.

A spokesperson for Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the funding increase meant that “social care, such as social activities and lifestyle, will still be funded and are still required to be delivered by residential aged care providers”.

However, “More care minutes means more time for checking in with residents, meals, showers, dressing and wound management,” said the spokesperson.

Australian Health Services Research Institute Director, Professor Kathy Eagar, recommended in her evidence to the Royal Commission that an extra 22 minutes a day of allied healthcare – from clinicians including psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists – should be directly funded.

But the Commission declined to recommend this, instead indicating the Government should separately pay for these services through the health system.

Ms Morris-Donovan added that while there was no universally accepted definition of “allied health professions”, Government departments, health service providers, health insurers and education providers include different professions under the heading ‘allied health’. 

AHPA submitted proposals to the recent Aged Care Workforce Roundtable, held on August 18, convened by the Minister for Aged Care where the Minister called for solutions from stakeholders. 

The proposals AHPA provided include the development of a cross-sector National Allied Health Workforce Strategy and the integration of allied health into the broader health and care systems.

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  1. Sorry, I am missing something. Extra Care Minutes are needed to assist residents with Every Day Living and Clinical Needs. Hence the “minutes” Care Staff and Nursing staff give to residents. (which they need and don’t get enough of now) Yes, extra help is needed and again is missing in Residential Care Facilities. Allied Health; Physios etc does not exist. Extra Care minutes should be be provided and be available by other staff and registered as such to each group. No direct Care Minutes should be reduced from Clinical Care and Every Day Living i.e. Carers and Nurses.

  2. Allied Health professionals chose their careers. They earn alot more than the AINs Maybe the same as RNs atm. It annoys me that now everyone wants a slice of the pie. This will end any decent pay rise for AINs and Nurses if we end up having too many others that see an opportunity to jump on the bandwagon. These people would hate to be in the position of cleaning up faeces or urine or being attacked by aggressive residents on a daily basis. This is more about the AINs or PCs who do all the hard physical, emotional and often dangerous work that so many others in society turn their noses up at. Don’t whinge if carers may get a pay rise. We are so much better than people understand. The cert 111 when done with reputable companies is not that easy. Incredibly long and so many assignments. Then there is all the computer notes and charting etc etc to do. Medication to hand out that AINs are trained in. We are also trained in Disability Care but without the entitlements of a fairer rate of pay that Disability workers get. Incredibly unfair and discriminative. All Aged Care is Disability work! Pay us the same rate if pay. We deserve it!!

  3. This is the height of foolishness. This artificial division between Nursing and Allied health clearly shows that the health dept and other decision makers simply do not get the concepts of Holistic or Person Centered. As an RN we absolutely need greater input from Allied Health colleagues.

    1. Not including Leisure & health staff in the 200 minutes will result in sicker & sadder older people, who look forward to the distraction that a leisure activity can offer, not providing both clinical & recreational services to the aged care community is Not in any way a holistic approach or person centred.
      This care minute reform is narrow minded, sure the older person needs more & better care delivered by qualified & passionate people who love caring!! The sad truth is more PCW will not result in better care ! Only a holistic approach which includes RN,ENs PCW,AHP,AHA & leisure & health staff who are trained,passionate & respected will result in better care.
      We all need to work collaboratively for the person living in care ,as though they were our parents.
      This Government so call reform is demeaning some people who do care very much about the well-being of our older people in care.
      Care minute(Funding) needs to include a holistic mix of staff Not just Clinical.

  4. If cleaners had a union they would go on strike and then all age cares would not be cleaned and then have to be shut down

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