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​Unannounced visits to aged care facilities postponed indefinitely

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, responsible for assessing and monitoring the quality of Australian aged care services, has postponed all unannounced visits to aged care facilities in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has made it clear to all aged care providers that they need to adhere strictly to infection control requirements. [Source: Shutterstock]
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has made it clear to all aged care providers that they need to adhere strictly to infection control requirements. [Source: Shutterstock]

While the unannounced visits will stop, other site visits will continue for particular circumstances and based on the level of assessed risk by the Commission.

If a residential aged care service is coming up for reaccreditation, there are special provisions in place which will prevent the expiry of accreditation and will ensure the continuity of accreditation of that service.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, Janet Anderson PSM, says, "The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is taking action to ensure that aged care providers are supported in providing safe, quality care during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

"With the COVID-19 situation changing rapidly, we are continuing to review and update our response in line with the latest Government advice.

"Our broad range of regulatory functions equips us well to maintain oversight and to monitor and support providers and consumers at this time. We are deploying a range of contacts with providers to monitor and support them to provide quality care and services to their consumers."

If the Commission deems a site visit necessary, the Commission will organise the site visit ahead of the visit date so that the aged care facility can prepare to meet the health authority's advice, the onsite infection control requirements are in place, and staff are briefed and ready to adhere to those requirements.

The Commission has made it clear to all aged care providers that they need to adhere strictly to infection control requirements while continuing to provide quality aged care services.

Additionally, the Commission will be keeping close contact with aged care providers and monitoring their performance in other ways.

Commissioner Anderson said to providers in a statement, "For all of us, putting consumers at the centre of our decision making, treating them with dignity and respect, and exercising careful judgement in determining how we navigate through these challenging times is paramount. 

"We want all aged care providers to be successful in your vital work, and we stand ready to support your efforts."

For more information, head to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website, or visit the Aged Care Guide's COVID-19 update page. 

Do you have any questions about the coronavirus that you want answered? Tell us in the comments below or email journalist@dps.com.au.

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