“Today is the first upgrade to residential aged-care standards in 20 years,” Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck said on announcing the reforms this month.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has officially commenced assessment and monitoring against the Aged Care Quality Standards.
As of July 1 the Standards apply to all aged care services.
The new standards are designed “to improve transparency for senior Australians and their families, as well as making regulation clearer for providers”, Colbeck said.
Key changes include:
- Update of the Application for Accreditation form to reflect the Quality Standards. This includes a self-assessment tool which measures planning and performance against the Standards.
- To apply for re-accreditation providers must submit self-assessment information in compliance with the Standards. Providers must have a written plan for continuous improvement that explains how they will assess, monitor and improve their services.
- Assessment contacts will be measured against the Standards.
- For residential aged care services, the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program dictates they must provide quality indicator data on pressure injuries, use of physical restraints and unplanned weight loss in residents.
Designed in response to alarming reports of misconduct, neglect and mistreatment, Colbeck said the government is focused on strengthening regulation.
“Aged-care providers must now satisfy a number of conditions before physical and chemical restraints can be used. Senior Australians must be treated with dignity and respect — this is now explicitly set out in our law.”
The changes have been summarised in the ACQS fact sheet available here.
The Standards, which are now disclosed fully on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website, are as follows:
- Consumer dignity and choice – highlights the importance of the consumer sense of self, to make decisions about their care and take part in their community.
- Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers – Describes what organisations need to do to plan care and services with consumers to ensure their needs, goals and preferences are met.
- Personal care and clinical care – The delivery of treatment and services is safe, effective and of the highest quality.
- Services and supports for daily living – Support should be give to consumers to live as independently as possible and enable them to meet personal goals.
- Organisation’s service environment – The consumer should feel safe and comfortable in their service environment. This includes the space being clean, well maintained and free of obstructions for consumers to move freely.
- Feedback and complaints – All organisations must have an accessible, confidential, prompt and fair system to receive and resolve complaints.
- Human resources – Services must have a sufficiently skilled and qualified workforce to deliver and manage safe, respectful and quality care.
- Organisational Governance – Overall accountability falls on the organisation’s governing body for adherence to and engulfment of the Standards.
“The Standards are centred on the needs of senior Australians and provide a solid foundation for providers’ continuous improvement,” Minister Colbeck said.