innovAGEING Governance Webinar with our CPO and NovaCare

In April 2020, our Chief Product Officer, Vinnie D’Alessandro was invited to write a blog post for innovAGING about the “Remote Governance during the age of COVID-19”.

The result of his effort was that they thought he had done such a good job that they invited him back this month to be part their incredibly popular innovAGEING Insights Webinar Series: Innovating Through COVID-19.  The topic of the Webinar was “Modern Governance: Using Technology to take control of the Aged Care Quality Standards”. It was hosted by Merlin Kong, Head of innovAGEING, one of our customers, Joseph McCarthy, CEO of NovaCare and of course, Vinnie.

The webinar was recorded and can be accessed on YouTube via this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB-CMP4pGZA&t=14s

NovaCare is an award-winning aged care provider, based in Newcastle. They are all about supporting people’s choices to lead their own life the way they want, living in their own home, making their own decisions and doing the things they love.

NovaCare’s approach to governance and the Aged Care Quality Standards is about commitment, ownership and visibility and Joseph is bringing a modern approach to this facet of the organisation.

The webinar is a great way to see how Umbrella Solutions loves to work with our customers and to collaborate on improving the product for all. A great example of this is how NovaCare has allowed us to understand how providers view the interrelation of the Standards and this has given us a lot of ideas for future features for the product.

I hope you have the time to watch the webinar as there are some great insights from Joseph as to their experiences with the Standards and how Umbrella Coverage has assisted the NovaCare team, including the quality manager all the way to the Board, to get visibility of where they are at regarding their compliance.

Once again, thank you to Merlin for facilitating this webinar, Joseph for his fantastic insights and Vinnie for the candid and detailed responses regarding the use of technology to manage the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Unannounced audits to recommence – get ready with Coverage

On the 26th of May 2020 during the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson stated that unannounced audits of aged care providers would recommence in June.

We are also continuing to do onsite visits on a risk basis. So, where we have regulatory intelligence that indicates that there is a risk to residents’ wellbeing, we will continue to undertake a visit to that site. Currently we provide short notice for those visits, which is less than 24 hours, because the site has to give us advice on their infection standing, and we have to give them assurance that our staff coming in are well versed in infection control practice. So, we’re giving short notice of those visits at the moment.

We’re looking to move back to and recommence unannounced visits sometime in June—literally just around the corner. In the next two or three weeks we will be recommencing unannounced assessment contacts on a risk basis to services where we have advice that there may be a risk to residents.

Janet Anderson  – Original Transcript

With Coverage, our Aged Care Quality Standard platform, you can take control of your assessment responses and be ready for audits in minutes.

Umbrella Solutions has developed a simple to use system that helps providers transition from a reactive approach to proactive management of the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Our customers can produce a current audit report, self-assessment or Plan for Continuous Improvement in seconds for all of their Home Care or Residential Services, not matter where they are.

So, if you are worried about how quickly you can respond an unannounced audit, we’ve got you covered.

You can order Coverage online in seconds, and we are offering two months free until June 30th 2020. Simply go to  https://umbrella.solutions/store/ or get in touch with our helpful crew at hello@umbrella.solutions

Our CPO pens governance article for innovAGEING

Vinnie D’Alessandro, Umbrella Solutions Chief Product Officer, has written an article for innovAGEING – Australia’s national age services innovation network.

The article titled Remote Governance during the age of COVID-19, explores the ways in which governance practices and systems should adapt in this challenging environment.

Led by Merlin Kong, innovAGEING is the national innovation network for the age services industry.  It aims to bring together the brightest minds and ideas to help transform the aged care industry.

Home Office

Stay on top of the Standards remotely with 2 months free access to Coverage

This offer has expired, however we do have 1 month free available here.

Negotiating social distancing and infection control during this time can be challenging, particularly when it comes to our most vulnerable Australians. We are hearing from our customers and other providers that due to the recent guidelines from the government, many non-frontline staff are now working remotely.

During this time, it’s more important than ever to ensure visibility over your services and their adherence to the new Standards, and an excellent opportunity for non-frontline staff working from home to catch up on tasks that, although essential, can fall by the wayside. But ensuring collaboration and minimising error in a remote workforce can be tricky.

That’s why we are offering all residential and home care services free access to Coverage by Umbrella Solutions for 2 months to allow your administration staff to access our unique solution which enables collaboration whilst working from home.

In case you’re not familiar, Coverage is an online system that helps aged care providers manage the new Aged Care Quality Standards.

Coverage Overview

Coverage Overview

With Coverage, you can quickly collect evidence and responses for each Standard and instantly produce reports for Self-Assessments, Audit and Plans for Continuous Improvements.

You can also report across multiple facilities and home care services, as well as keeping tabs on any sanctions or notices of non-compliance.

There is absolutely no obligation to continue with Coverage after the free two-month period and we will package up and return your data should you wish to stop using Coverage.

If you’re an Australian Aged Care provider or know of one who could benefit from using Coverage, you can order online here or please get in touch with us so we can help.  Our team is ready to get you your environment deployed, and you’ll be up and running in a matter of hours. Be quick because the offer ends 30th of June 2020.

Good luck and stay safe!

For more information on Coverage, COVID-19 and Aged Care and the new Standards, visit our blog.

COVID-19: Reliable sources of information

With the recommendations around stopping the spread of COVID-19 changing almost daily, it can be hard to know which information is factual and current.

Keeping up to date with reliable sources will help you ensure a safe environment for your people and residents.  Knowing the current advice from government departments is critical so we’ve compiled a handy list of sites you can trust to keep you up-to-date:

Federal Government, Aged Care, Health and Media

State Governments

Printable Resources & Information

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-campaign-resources

Visit our blog for further information and resources on what COVID-19 means for aged care.

COVID-19: The latest information for Aged Care and Older Australians

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented health event, and it’s up to us to try and stop the spread of infection, particularly to vulnerable groups like those in aged care services. It’s crucial we stay up-to-date with information from reliable sources to ensure we are doing the best by our people and residents.

 In case you missed the announcement on the 18th of March 2020, here’s the latest advice for Aged Care from the Australian Government:

Restrictions on entry into aged care facilities

The following visitors and staff (including visiting workers) should not be permitted to enter the facility:

  • Those who have returned from overseas in the last 14 days;
  • Those who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days;
  • Those with fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath); and
  • Those who have not been vaccinated against influenza (after 1 May 2020)

Visitors

Aged care facilities should implement the following measures for restricting visits and visitors to reduce the risk of transmission to residents, including:

  • Limiting visits to a short duration;
  • Limiting visits to a maximum of two immediate social supports (family members, close friends) or professional service or advocacy at one time, per day;
  • Visits should be conducted in a resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific area designated by the aged care facility, rather than communal areas where the risk of transmission to residents is greater;
  • No large group visits or gatherings, including social activities or entertainment, should be permitted at this time;
  • No school groups of any size should be allowed to visit aged care facilities.
  • Visitors should also be encouraged to practice social distancing practices where possible, including maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres.
  • Children aged 16 years or less must be permitted only by exception, as they are generally unable to comply with hygiene measures. Exemptions can be assessed on a case-by-case basis, for example, where the resident is in a palliative care scenario.
  • Measures such as phone or video calls must be accessible to all residents to enable more regular communication with family members. Family and friends should be encouraged to maintain contact with residents by phone and other social communication apps, as appropriate.

Managing illness in visitors and staff

Aged care facilities should advise all regular visitors and staff to be vigilant for illness and use hygiene measures including social distancing, and to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, specifically fever and acute respiratory illness.  They should be instructed to stay away when unwell, for their own and residents’ protection.

The full media statement is available at pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures.

For more information on COVID-19 measures, visit the health.gov.au website and visit the Umbrella Solutions blog for updates.

Alarm Clock

Worried about the Standards? Sort your PCI by COB with Coverage.

At Umbrella Solutions, we’ve designed Coverage to be so simple to purchase and use that we reckon you could have a live Plan for Continuous dashboard up and running in with only a few minutes of effort!

Subscribe to Coverage: Effort – 2 minutes

We’ve made it super simple to get started with Coverage and the first month is free.

Jump on our website https://umbrella.solutions/coverage grab the monthly subscription product, enter your details and credit card and you’re off.  In a few seconds you’ll receive an email about your order.

Dont worry we wont charge your credit card until next month, and you have the freedom to cancel any time via our website. We won’t make you write a letter or talk to a high pressure call centre sales person to cancel your subscription. Just go to https://Umbrella.Solutions/my-account find your order and cancel it.

Relax while we get your environment ready: Effort – 0 minutes

Grab a cuppa while our team gets to work building your secure environment in the cloud.

It’s doesn’t take us to long, usually a couple of business hours. But at really busy times it may take longer, so if we’re flat out we’ll give you a heads up.

Were working on automating this process so soon it will be completed in minutes, any time of the day!

Configuration information via email: Effort – 1 minutes

We’ll send you a welcome email once everything is ready, then we’ll need one last thing: the email address of the person who will be administering Coverage.  Don’t worry, they don’t have to be technical – Coverage is super simple to manage.

You’ll also receive a completed order email with your invoice, which will be $0 for the first month.

Login and setup your service: Effort – 3 minutes

Shortly you’ll receive an email, click on the Complete Registration button.           

You’ll  be taken to our Coverage service, were you enter your details and pick a password.

Now you’re logged into Coverage!

Next you have to setup your first Residential our Home Care Service in the ‘Manage’ section.

Enter the details and select the Standards that apply to this service. If you’re not sure we’ve got some useful information in ‘Help’ section in the top menu

Now you’re ready to get going on to the Aged Care Quality Standards!

Create your first responses to the Aged Care Quality Standards: Effort – 4 minutes

Let’s enter our first responses. We’re not entering sample data here, this is real Evidence and Area for Improvement items that enhance your compliance with the Quality Standards!

Select your ‘Service’ at the top menu

Select number 8 for Standards 8 – Organisational Governance on the left menu

Select ‘Requirements 3c’ and then click the ‘+ Add new item button’ and select the ‘Area for Improvement’ item

Enter the details for the implementation of Coverage and then click save.

You’ve first completed Plan for Continuous Improvement action!

Now let’s create a piece of Evidence for Coverage to describe the system and value to the business. Click the ‘+ Add new item button’ and select the ‘Evidence’ item.

Enter the details and click save.

Finally, let’s create an active action for rolling out Coverage to your other team members.  Click the ‘+ Add new item button’ and select ‘Area for Improvement’.

Looking good, you’ve already completed two responses to Standard 8!

Check out the PCI dashboard: Effort – 1 minute

Click on ‘PCI’ on the left menu to see your Plan for Continuous improvement.

There’s your live PCI action.  But what about the completed one?  Just Click the ‘Include Completed’ filter and it will appear.

Spread the word! Effort – 1 minute

Let’s get started on the roll out and add more people to Coverage.  Go to ‘Manage’ and select the ‘User’ tabs and press the ‘Add User’ button.

Add their email, select a role and make sure you pick at least one Service

10 minutes and you’ve got your Aged Care Quality Standards moving

There you have it, your first use of Coverage with real world responses.  And it’s all done with just 10 minutes of effort.

So what’s holding you back?  Take control of the Quality Standards with Umbrella Coverage today.

Click here to get Coverage up and running or get in touch with us at hello@umbrella.solutions for more information.

Bringing your Plan for Continuous Improvement to life

When it comes to the self-assessment process for the new Aged Care Quality Standards, it’s a relatively consistent process to other compliance exercises.

  • understand requirements
  • formulate responses
  • self-rate each requirement
  • provide evidence and information to support the rating

Sure, there’s a lot of effort to collate the evidence and information but most organisations have it … somewhere.  So, whether you’re using spreadsheets or Coverage to manage your self-assessment and audit responses, it’s just a matter of time and effort to get your assessment completed. But, and we might be a little biased here, Coverage does make it much easier 😊

So why is the Plan for Continuous Improvement causing headaches for providers?

At Umbrella Solutions, we spent a lot of time researching the new Standards reporting expectations and we understand why it’s difficult and also how to make it easier to manage.

As the name suggests, Plan for Continuous improvement (PCI) is meant to highlight the efforts and actions of providers to enhance the quality of their services.  On the surface it seems quite aligned to the evidence required by the Standards.

However there’s a subtle difference; evidence is static, continuous improvements are alive.

If you have a resident service policy, you’re well on the way to meeting the Requirements of Standard 1.  Grab the document. Attach it as evidence. Done.

But how do you show you’re improving your service offering? And better still; how do you track it?

You need some key pieces of information to track PCI activities

  • What you’re improving
  • Who’s responsible for it
  • When is it due
  • What’s the outcome

Some initiatives are large enough to be run as a project, so you can probably track that in a project management tool.

But what about the smaller operational tasks that your staff are working on like training, policy and procedure updates, preventative maintenance and process improvements?  There may be 20, 30 or even hundreds of improvements aged care providers are making over a year.

The Government and assessors want to see all the things you’re working on now and since the last assessment. You need one place to see it together and to bring it to life.

We’ve got you covered

Coverage provides a unified location for all your responses to the Standards as well as Plans for Continuous improvement.  With our prebuilt, live dashboard and reporting we give you visibility over your PCI activities

The Government has a separate PCI reporting template for providers to fill in. However, we believe you’re better off to keep all your responses and actions for the Standards in one place so you cut down on data entry.

In Coverage, PCI activities are recorded as Area for Improvement records against each Standard and Requirement.  We also have a simple copy feature that allows you to duplicate an Area for Improvement to multiple Standards and Requirements in just a few clicks.  You can even copy them across multiple residential or home care services!

Plan for Continuous Improvement - Area for Improvement

To give you a full view of your activities, we have a live PCI dashboard and mini dashboards on the Overview pages.

Plan for Continuous Improvement Dashboard

We also have built in email notifications so staff receive an email when an Area for Improvement is assigned to them.  They’ll also receive a reminder 2 days before the response is due and on the day that it’s due.

Oh, and let’s not forget you can export a PCI report anytime you want.  And PCI activities are even included in the Self-Assessment and Audit reports.

We can get you up and running in Coverage with no technology support required.

So take control and bring your Plan for Continuous Improvement to life with Coverage.

Aged Care Quality Standards, Self Assessments, Audits & PCI

Aged Care Quality Standards, Self Assessments, Audits & PCI

From July 2019, the new Aged Care Quality Standards mean that providers need to adapt the way they respond to self assessments, audits and plans for continuous improvement.  Although the transition may seem overwhelming, with the help of Coverage, we can simplify your administration and reporting.

We all want improved quality of care for our customers, but that doesn’t mean that reporting on our capabilities should be difficult.

The new Standards bring consistency across all aged care providers, but unfortunately the the reporting requirements are a little disjointed.

Umbrella Solutions designed Coverage to simplify the efforts required to produce reports for:

  • self assessment
  • audits, both announced and unannounced
  • plan for continuous improvements (PCI)

Documents for self assessment, audit and PCI

Providers understand that if self assessment or audits aren’t managed correctly, they can lead to notices of non-compliance, or worse, sanctions.

Plans for continuous improvement add an additional viewpoint for the Government which may also have an impact on service status. Risk management is key to improving services, so the better visibility you have on your PCI activities, the more prepared you’ll be for the audits.

Aligning self assessments, audits and plans for continuous improvement

At first glance, these three activities seem quite distinct, however that are all share fundamental elements:

  • record evidence of compliance
  • record and status of improvement actions
  • self rating for each Standard’s Requirements.
  • ability to put forward other information

Armed with important understanding, Umbrella Solutions developed Coverage to have a central data store of rating, evidence, actions and other information.

This allows you enter the data once, but have it appear in self assessment, audits and PCI reports.

Record your information against the Standards and Requirements, Coverage then uses it for self assessments, audits and PCI

With Coverage, you’ll has less data entry and can instantly produce reports for internal use or reporting back to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

Coverage also brings your PCI to life. Now you can monitor changes as they happen so you can track your improvements across your facility, home care services or even your whole Provider service portfolio.

Coverage Plan for continuous improvement screenshot

To see Coverage, our aged care standards software, in action, check out our product page.

Umbrella Solutions isn’t stopping at Coverage.  We are developing a broad suite of aged care software and solutions.  We’d love to hear about your ideas, so we can develop solutions that simplify your job.  Reach out to us via our contact us page.

The new Aged Care Quality Standards

Time for change: The new Standards

The Australian Government has implemented the new Aged Care Quality Standards on the 1st of July 2019.

Umbrella Solutions has been following the development and release of the Standards and believes they will help providers better manage the services and give their clients a improved quality of life.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has some excellent resources for providers. Here are some of the ones we’ve found most helpful.

Aged Care Quality Standards Consumer Outcomes

Aged Care Quality Standards

Aged Care Quality Standards Fact Sheet

Aged Care Quality Standards Performance Assessment Methodology

The government have even more resources available here.