The Aged Care Funding Instrument, known in the industry as ACFI, is the primary mechanism available to fund the core care needs of accredited aged care facilities.
While based on the different resource requirements of individual persons, the ACFI is primarily intended to deliver funding to the financial entity or facility providing the care.
The ACFI consists of 12 questions about assessed care needs, each having four ratings (A, B, C or D) and two diagnostic sections.
It proceeds as a 5-step process for funding approval.
Step 1: Assessment
Step 2: Checklist
Step 3: Rating A to D
Step 4: Submissions
Step 5: Record keeping
A best practice guideline for any nursing home is that they should conduct a sequence of scheduled assessments on a resident that culminates in a formal case conference, which includes the resident and/or their loved ones, where their care is discussed. The case conference ends with a care plan being written, which is then reviewed by the RN in charge of the care with their team every three months. ACFI funding is then the result of consultation and allocation of resources. Good clinical leadership is necessary in order to gather evidence of the resident’s needs, conduct case conferences, write care plans, and maintain the review process.
Recently there have been articles suggesting fraud and incorrect allocations of funds within an ACFI application. Whilst it would be rare that there is a false claim, more often than not facilities are not claiming enough of the funds available. It is essential that facilities apply for the ACFI correctly, because if facilities are not claiming the appropriate funding for clients the whole facility suffers. A domino effect occurs and resources that should be used for wages, services and equipment are not available, leading to further pressure on facility staff.
One question here is should families know about the allocations of funding to which their family member is entitled? The ACFI tools and system are designed for the service providers to validate the resources they use to care for the resident. It is not something that is shared with the representative/family. Many operators are not entirely clear on what’s available for their facility or even how to apply until the full assessments and validation of a resident’s condition takes place.
The ACFI is a complicated and confusing system of resource allocation, even for facility staff, and it only adds further confusion by including the input of families/representatives. It is simply a process that they don’t need to be involved with unless there are unmet needs that will have to be paid for by the resident or family. To avoid this situation, staff that are dealing with ACFI applications must ensure that the application process has been completed correctly to gain all the funding for resources available.
Applying and understanding ACFI can be a challenge for facility managers and ACFI officers, especially as the Federal Government continue to make changes to the funding increments. Frontline Care Solutions we will help you unravel the mystery of the application and help you ensure you claim those much needed extra resources. Our Understanding and Implementing Your ACFI seminar is run in all capital cities throughout the year which is a must for all ACFI Officers, CNCs and Facility Managers.
Drew Dwyer is a Principal Consultant for Frontline Care Solutions, aged care training specialists. Frontline are members of Australian College of Nursing (ACN), are an Approved Provider of Education Courses in Nursing (APEC) and conduct evidenced-based research through the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI). Frontline Care Solutions delivers training for nurses and care workers, and provide training to maximise ACFI funding. Frontline Care Solutions we will unravel the mystery of the application for you and help you allocate the much needed extra resources.