New Aged Care Quality Standards take effect

Standard 5 requires aged care providers to demonstrate service environment, furniture, fittings and equipment are clean and well maintained.

The new national Aged Care Quality Standards, which apply to all aged care settings including residential and in-home aged care services, have launched today (1 July).

The new standards complement the single Charter of Aged Care Rights, which also comes into effect from today to support the rights of all people receiving aged care services.

The new standards and single charter cover all aged care services including residential services, home care, short-term restorative care, the Commonwealth Home Support Program and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson PSM said the new standards raise the bar by strengthening the focus on consumer-centred care which respects the dignity and identity of the individual and seeks to improve their experiences and outcomes of care.

“The new standards require aged care providers to work with each of their consumers to ensure that they receive safe, quality care that is shaped by the consumer’s needs, goals and preferences,” she said.

“The new standards are an important step in aged care reform which will help providers to clarify their responsibilities and help consumers to know what they can expect from aged care services.

“The new standards were developed following extensive consultation with consumers, service providers, experts and the wider community.”

Anderson said she was impressed by the commitment shown by aged care providers in their preparation for the introduction of the new standards, and that support from the Commission will continue after 1 July.

“Over the last year, we have seen more than 30,000 people across Australia access the face-to-face education sessions and online training videos regarding the new standards.

“Recently, the Commission distributed a provider education pack to over 5,000 aged care services to support their preparations, and all material is available for download on the Commission website.”

The new aged care quality standards include the following:

  1. Consumer dignity and choice
  2. Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers
  3. Personal care and clinical care
  4. Services and supports for daily living
  5. Organisation’s service environment
  6. Feedback and complaints
  7. Human resources
  8. Organisational governance

Industry welcomes reforms 

Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) has welcomed the release of the new standards. ACSA CEO Patricia Sparrow said: “Standards which focus more on the individual is an important step forward in how we deliver quality care to older Australians. Aged care providers have engaged fully in the consultation process to develop the standards and have been working hard to be ready for their implementation.”

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) CEO Sean Rooney said the new standards focus on outcomes for older Australians and reflect the level of care and quality of services the community expects.

“Rather than just focusing on processes, the structure of the standards allows assessment and monitoring to focus on consumer outcomes and consider evidence of the consumer’s experience and the systems and processes that the organisation has in place to support safe, high quality care and services.

“The new standards, which replace the four previous sets of aged care standards, will apply to all service settings, whilst also protecting the rights of older Australians and ensuring responsibility and accountability for their care.”

He said while the new standards will improve accountability and help drive continuous improvement, there was still an immediate need to address critical funding issues to ensure providers are adequately resourced to meet the needs and expectations of those they care for.

Cleaning relevant to standards 

LASA’s general manager policy and advocacy Tim Hicks said cleaning and infection prevention is particularly relevant to standards on organisational governance (8), the organisation’s service environment (5), services and supports for daily living (4) and personal care and clinical care (3).

“Standard 5 specifically requires aged care providers to demonstrate that their service environment is safe, clean, well maintained and comfortable; and enables consumers to move freely, both indoors and outdoors; and that furniture, fittings and equipment are safe, clean, well maintained and suitable for the consumer,” Hicks said.

“A provider’s service environment means the physical environment through which care and services are delivered, but does not include an individual’s privately owned or occupied home at which in-home services are provided.

“The safety and quality of care provided for older Australians is not negotiable and clearly a clean and well maintained service environment forms a significant part of that commitment.”

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission also began monitoring and assessing provider performance against the Aged Care Quality Standards from 1 July 2019.

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