Federal Government opens tender for dementia response teams

Delayed opening of the tender means the clinical teams will start in September rather than the original midyear target, while organisations will have just six weeks to submit their proposals.

budget estimates

Delayed opening of the tender means the clinical teams will start in September rather than the original midyear target, while organisations will have just six weeks to submit their proposals

Residential aged care providers will require a referral from a Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) to trigger a visit from the Federal Government’s new Severe Behaviour Responses Teams, according to tender documents released on Thursday.

The multidisciplinary teams will target residents with very severe and extreme behaviours of dementia and will offer immediate crisis management to facilities, as well as follow-up assistance such as training and up-skilling of staff.

Acting deputy secretary at the Department of Social Services Carolyn Smith told a budget estimates hearing on Thursday night the response teams will be expected to respond to a facility within 24 to 48 hours and demonstrate how they can service diverse parts of the country.

Initial assessments of residents can be conducted using either face-to-face or telehealth to enable a timely response, the department said.

The delayed opening of the competitive tender means the multidisciplinary clinical teams will commence in September rather than the department’s slated midyear target and organisations will have just six weeks to submit their proposals.

An initial funding contract of $12.7 million will be allocated until June 2016, after which the response teams will be integrated with DBMAS to form a single program.

mitch fifield at estimates

CHSP and single community system

In other areas discussed during yesterday’s hearing, Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield told the committee the CHSP fees policy had been revised based on feedback from the sector, particularly in the areas of meals, social support and community transport, where services are often run by volunteers.

He said organisations felt uncomfortable charging fees for volunteer-run services and the final policy, which is due to be released, had addressed these areas of sector concern.

Senator Fifield said the government’s decision to move to a consolidated community care program from July 2018, as announced in the budget, would also influence his approach to the new CHSP, which is set to begin 1 July. He said:

“Given that we’re going to have a fundamental change in home care and community home support in 2018, I’m giving consideration to what is reasonable change to make at this point in time in relation to fees policy…and the CHSP; to what extent do we want to have change now and then change in the middle of 2018.”

Senator Fifield said there were a range of issues to work through to achieve a single community system and a continuum of support for clients, such as differences in the approved provider process for home care packages which does not exist in the CHSP.

Investigation into Capolingua appointment

A review into the appointment of Dr Rosanna Capolingua to the Aged Care Quality Agency’s Advisory Council is also underway following her resignation as chairwoman of Healthway, a government agency under investigation by the WA Public Sector Commission, senate estimates was told.

Senator Fifield said once he became aware of her resignation, he asked the secretary of his department, Fin Pratt, to examine the issue, and in the meantime Dr Capolingua has not attended any meetings of the advisory council.

Mr Pratt said he was “not convinced” there was anything in the public domain about Dr Capolingua and Healthway at the time of her appointment to the council in February, but he would withhold judgement until the process was completed.

Tags: budget, CHSP, dementia, senate-estimates, senator mitch fifield, slider,

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