Governance is a recurrent theme throughout the Aged Care Royal Commission Interim Report, touching all elements of care including the medical, clinical, social, emotional and behavioural elements of client needs.
The onus for ensuring organisational governance is embedded, executed and effective falls on the Board of Directors.
While Boards have a long journey ahead and anxiously await the release of the final Royal Commission’s report, there are four key messages they should focus on:
- Service quality and safety
Reports on organisational performance in the areas of service quality and safety should be completed regularly, analysed and understood. Instances of non-compliance or client neglect, harm or abuse must be identified and acted upon. Boards should also investigate the organisational culture which has resulted in the non-compliance and resulting substandard service delivery.
- Complaints and incident reporting
Boards should review how complaints and incidents have been handled in the past, assess and improve upon the current framework. Processes of reporting and remediation should be as proactive and responsive as possible to ensure the needs of clients and their families are met and their concerns are heard.
- Accreditation and quality standards
Reporting and investigating misconduct systems and processes should be independently reviewed by Boards. Boards need to evaluate the existing practices and processes and what is required in the new Aged Care Quality Standard. Where required, they should seek the counsel of qualified experts and consultants to assist.
- Being honest with stakeholders
The Boards of aged care providers should have a communications strategy in place – both to ensure the concerns of all stakeholders are heard and to share the Boards’ messages with stakeholders. This improves trust and accountability in the immediate community.
Now only a matter of months until the Royal Commission’s Final Report is released, organisations need to have effective governance and strong leadership at the heart of their journey.
The 2nd Governance in Aged Care conference, being held in Sydney from 20 – 21 May 2020, has been developed in partnership with COTA Australia and ACSA to support you in effectively leading and governing your Aged Care service into the future. You will gain strategies to embed good governance structures into your own organisation, optimise the relationship between your board and executive functions and drive continuous improvement.