On July 1st, 2019 the new Aged Care Quality Standards came into effect.
Their purpose? To make it simpler for providers to offer quality care, and keep correct records, with a more streamlined set of standards. So, how can providers get ready to manage their services in this new climate, and how do consumers access and manage the care of themselves or their loved ones?
The new Aged Care Quality Standards replace older standards (that hadn’t been updated for many years) and will apply to all aged care services.
The new standards are based mainly on the finding of the aged care royal commission and include not just more streamlined standards, but also the introduction of an Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, who will oversee the management of these standards within approved residential aged care providers.
Providers who take a proactive and strategic approach will find the transition into the new standard framework is a lot easier.
Why are the new standards important and who will they affect?
The new standards aim to encourage providers to focus on improving their level of care, including the personal, medical and emotional care provided to aged care residents across the country, as well as ensure staff are adequately trained and resourced. This is a vital step forward as we wrangle the consequences of an ageing population and the challenges that come with it.
The proportion of over-65s will jump from 15 per cent of Australians in 2017, to “between 21–23 per cent” by 2066. Of 1.3 million people using aged care services, about 200,000 live in residential aged care by their early to mid-80s.*
* Source: Department of Health, ABS, Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, Aged Care Financing Authority
It is easy to see that as we move towards a growing ageing population, these new standards are relevant to every person in Australia.
How can aged-care providers get ready for the new aged care standards?
There are 8 sub-topics included in the new standards, and workplaces will need to self-assess whether they are meeting the current standards and find ways to improve their care systems.
The key areas we have identified are as follows:
- Induction, training and compliance
Aged care providers must manage the induction of staff and their training in order to provide the best quality care possible. Training for staff can be varied and include many areas such as occupational health and safety, lifestyle programs, palliative care, and activity programs.
Catering to all these training needs – and showing records under the new standards – becomes much easier if you have the correct infrastructure.
This is why it is so important for providers to have a reliable and flexible induction system in place that can ensure staff are competent and have the qualifications and knowledge to perform their roles well.
- Liability management and incident reporting
Under the new standards, more focus is being put on liability management and reporting of incidents, with providers needing to be ready to provide more information if requested.
Providers need a framework for recording and assessing incidents, such as Rapid Incident Reporting system which lets you manage the whole process, from investigation to corrective actions, and reporting on statistics, good incident reporting software ensures the lifecycle of the incident is handled and tracked efficiently.
- Complaints and feedback
There is also a focus on complaints procedures in an effort to ensure that all complaints are assessed and acted upon if necessary. All feedback and complaints will be reviewed under the new standards to help improve the quality of care across the industry.
- Dignity and privacy
Privacy and personal information are expected to be respected and kept confidential. This means aged care providers will, even more than ever, need to have efficient and trusted data software in place.
Providers focussing on quality outcomes for consumers
All of this amounts to providers needing to get up to speed, fast! Organisational culture, communication between staff and consumers as well as improving standards must be a real focus for all providers.
Good and strong leadership, a true desire to do good, plus genuine care for the aged care industry will put providers in a strong position. However, all the best will in the world is not enough to provide the best. Successful and happy aged care facilities are only possible if correct and efficient systems and policies are in place. This is where an Aged Care Audit System can come in very handy.
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