- The Aged Care Quality Standards play an important part in making sure consumers have access to person-centred care
- They ensure that aged care providers are providing quality care to older Australians
- Older people can use these Standards to gauge if their provider is meeting their care requirements
The latest Aged Care Quality Standards came into effect on 1 July 2019, and all Government funded providers, whether they're providing home care services or operate a nursing home, have to adhere to them.
There are eight standards, each with a specific focus, but the overall aim is to ensure providers deliver more consumer-focused services and quality care to the people they care for and their families.
All organisations that provide aged care services have to apply and meet these eight Standards when delivering care to older Australians.
In this article, we're explaining each of the standards in more detail.
Standard 1 - Consumer dignity and choice
This is a foundation Standard that recognises that all consumers deserve the right to dignity and choice, and encourages the importance of maintaining your sense of self.
You and your family can feel assured that you can act independently, make any decision about your care, and still be part of your community if you wish.
For instance, when developing your care plan with a new provider, you may want to include specific likes and dislikes, such as not liking fish or your love of cheese, as well as important things in your life that you want to maintain, like going for bike rides or catching up with friends regularly.
This Standard ensures that you have independence and power over how you live your life.
Standard 2 - Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers
Organisations are required to continuously monitor the services they deliver and update care plans and services for consumers if required. Care plans should encompass your needs, goals and preferences and have supports and services in place that optimise your health and wellbeing.
As time goes on your needs or goals may change so it's important your provider works with you make proactive changes to suit.
For example, if at first you were fine preparing your own meals but are now starting to have difficulty chopping vegetables, your provider should flag this and adjust services to meet you needs. You may be able to get extra assistance from a carer when making food in your own kitchen or have meals delivered to your home.
Standard 3 - Personal care and clinical care
Consumers will receive safe and effective personal and clinical care while accessing Government funded aged care services.
This includes care and support that is in line with your own personal needs and preferences so that your health and wellbeing is improved.
All providers need to provide staff to you that are trained and can handle the care you require. Whether it is assistance with getting dressed or help to manage your medication or wound management, this care will be provided to you in an appropriate and safe manner.
If you have a cultural background, then all personal and clinical care should be provided to you in a way that is culturally safe. For example, if your culture doesn't discuss health issues with the opposite gender, then culturally sensitive clinical care would be a carer of the same gender providing you support.
Standard 4 - Services and supports for daily living
This Standard provides you with the right to receive services that will give you the opportunity to achieve your desired lifestyle goals, like independence, health and wellbeing.
Standard 4 encourages organisations to put in place all the services and supports necessary to improve your daily life and meet your goals.
For instance, your garden may be your pride and joy, but if unkept can become unruly and dangerous. If you aren't able to maintain your garden, this is a service that can be organised through your provider, even if they don't provide that service.
Standard 5 - Organisation’s service environment
Physical service environments in residential care, respite care and Day Therapy Centres, should be welcoming and well-designed environments for their residents or clients to help give them a sense of belonging. This would not include home care services or community settings like libraries.
This can also be through comfortable, clean and accessible furniture and equipment, which supports your quality of life. It also includes a place that is easy to navigate and makes all people feel welcome.
For example, if you are wheelchair bound and are coming across areas at your nursing home that aren't accessible, your provider should be making adjustments to make sure the environment you live in is safe and accessible to you.
This could include moving objects that are blocking your path or getting contractors in to fix your garden to make areas around your home easier to access.
In aged care homes, this Standard can also refer to making areas more bright and friendly to their residents, like a welcoming and homely lounge area, access to natural light and adjustable heating and cooling.
Standard 6 - Feedback and complaints
Organisations are required to have an appropriate system in place to adequately handle and resolve complaints from consumers.
The system has to be accessible, confidential, fair and efficient, and should give you peace of mind that you are being heard when addressing issues or concerns about the services you receive or the aged care home you live in.
When receiving care at home, you may dislike the housework being done in a particular way or find that the carer you have isn't doing all the tasks they are meant to. You, or your family, should be able to approach your service provider about your complaint and have the issue resolved effectively.
Additionally, you should always have easy access to providing complaints to your provider anonymously if you are concerned about people, including staff, knowing who made the complaint.
Standard 7 - Human resources
This standard requires organisations to provide skilled and qualified staff to deliver care safely and respectfully to all recipients.
Organisations have to make sure they have enough staff, with a range of skills, to meet the needs of all their consumers receiving care. This Standard covers all workers in aged care, including the carers, nurses, kitchen staff, or people driving transport buses.
You can be assured that your facility or provider goes through the process of finding an adequately trained worker who has had all the appropriate background checks. This means you will always have qualified carers to assist you when you need it.
This Standard also means that your provider will regularly performance review their workforce and will be proactive in having a range of different skilled workers to deliver care at all times.
Standard 8 - Organisational governance
Governing bodies of organisations are held responsible for the safety and quality care delivered to consumers.
The governing bodies are expected to promote a safe working culture of safety and quality to their staff and ensure this is included in the governance system of the organisation.
The aim of this Standard is to make sure that the quality of care is not only on the workforce, but the responsibility and accountability of care provided are embedded on every level of a business.
So the governing bodies of a business should be supporting and developing models and systems that promote and deliver quality aged care services throughout the organisation.
All aged care providers are regularly reviewed against these standards by the Aged Care Quality Commission to ensure that all facilities and services are providing quality aged care services to older Australians.
Assessors from the Commission will see if the organisation understands what is required of them and how they apply these standards, and regularly monitor the provider implementing these standards through the business.
If a provider falls short, they will be held accountable and be put on an improvement plan to fix the Standards that aren't being met.
Do you think the Aged Care Quality Standards protects older Australians in aged care or receiving aged care? Tell us in the comments below.