Review Findings from the COVID-19 Outbreak at Newmarch House

The government has released the findings of a review into the COVID-19 outbreak that occurred at Newmarch House in Kingswood, which lost 19 of its residents. The review explored many key areas including emergency response, leadership and management, communication, staffing, and Infectious Prevention and Control (IPAC). Issues that the report highlighted included lack of clarity around procedures and leadership. Poor communication was also identified as a significant issue. Key learnings were then drawn in response to each of these areas.

The final review can be found here, as well as NSW Health’s response to the review.


Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) Advisory Group

A time-limited AHPPC Aged Care Advisory Group will be established to support the aged care emergency response to COVID-19. It will gather expertise about a range of things relating to aged care and emergency preparedness.

Due to the early identification of the particular risk and vulnerability for residential aged care facilities (RACFs) as a result of COVID-19, the AHPPC has endorsed a list of key statements and guidelines relating to aged care. These documents include the AHPPC statement on COVID-19, ICEG guidelines for infection prevention and control in RACFs, and AHPPC advice on minimising the impact of COVID-19.

A number of actions have also accompanied this, such as:

• National Cabinet’s agreement to the development of joint Commonwealth–state/territory plans to boost aged care preparedness and rapid response
• The development of a guide to establishment of an aged care health emergency response operations centre.

These documents can be accessed here.


Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) Guidelines and Manual

There have been some changes to the CHSP guidelines which have been outlined below:

• Residents voluntarily leaving their nursing home can access CHSP services such as Meals on Wheels, transport, nursing, allied health, and accompanied shopping.

• Costs will be discussed with the family members when accessing CHSP services, and these costs can be recorded the same way as per other CHSP clients in DEX.

Voluntary leave:

• Residents do not need to go to My Aged Care if they have already been assessed by ACAT and can only access the services they have been assessed for.

• Residents can access CHSP services such as personal care and nursing free of cost. With involuntary leave you are referred to OPAN for assistance.
Clients also typically receive services up to 6 weeks without an assessment, however due to COVID-19 this has been extended to 8 weeks.

You can also access comparison list between the 2018 and 2020 CHSP Manuals which has been kindly put together by NESST. This summarised document can serve as a guide for all CHSP providers.

Download here


Emergency Leave Provision for Residential Aged Care

On 14 May 2020, the Australian Government announced the emergency leave provision for aged care residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The article outlines the amendments that will mean senior Australians are not penalised or disadvantaged for taking leave and will not affect their 52 days of social leave entitlements. Eligibility for emergency leave will be backdated to 1 April 2020 to account for the social leave that may have already been taken by residents.

More information can be found here.


NSW Community Aged Care Forum (CACF) Submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

A submission was made to the Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety, which Western Sydney Community Forum was part of. The submission addresses a number of areas for the Royal Commission to consider, including the benefits of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme as a form of early intervention.

You can access the full submission here


Australian Healthcare Associates Seeking Consumer Experiences of Restraint in Residential Aged Care

The Australian Healthcare Associates (AHA) is conducting a legislated review of the Restraints Principles and is seeking the stories of current or previous aged care residents and their families and loved ones about experiences of restraint since 1 July 2019.

The participants will be deidentified and views will be shared confidentially.

If you or someone you know are interested in sharing your story, call AHA on 1300 119 564 (9am-5pm AEST) for more information or to complete the phone interview (interpreter service available on request), visit the AHA website or email


Survey on Food and Nutrition in Aged Care Homes

In an interim report conducted by Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, nutrition as well as the dining experience was identified as a significant issue that required reviewing. Improving both the food and the social aspects of eating led to a decrease in the need for other aged care services.
The department is partnering with the Maggie Beer Foundation to deliver a National Congress on food, nutrition and the dining experience in aged care. In preparation for the Congress, the Maggie Beer Foundation is conducting a Survey of Food, Nutrition and the Dining Experience in Australian Aged Care Homes which will inform their discussions on the matter.

Closing date for the survey is 11 September 2020.


Training Programs Delivered by Flexible Training Solutions

Flexible Training Solutions recently delivered a training program to employees from one of the local community transport providers with funding by State Training Services (STS) and support from Training Services NSW. The program, delivered over two weeks, expanded on the passenger transport skill set of the employees. Subjects included transporting passengers with disabilities, following work health and safety procedures, applying fatigue management strategies and working in a socially diverse environment.

If you would like more information about how your organisation can be supported, contact Pat Sincock on (03) 9852 1100 or go to the website .