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Industry peak bodies highlight quality not negotiable in aged care

Quality, complaints and staffing have been hot topics in the aged care industry of late and in a joint statement, two peak bodies have come together to address the issues and offer a reminder that quality in aged care is non-negotiable.

Quality is a 'must' for the aged care industry (Source: Shutterstock)
Quality is a 'must' for the aged care industry (Source: Shutterstock)

The joint statement from Chief Executive Officers Sean Rooney, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and Pat Sparrow, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), has been spurred by recent reports within Queensland's aged care industry, with the duo aiming to address the many issues that have and are in the spotlight.

In their statement, they not only offer representation for the industry, but also state that it is the role of “all within the industry” to be continuously improving and maintaining high standards in quality care and service, further highlighting the important role staff play and how they are “intrinsically linked” with the sectors quality and standards.

“The aged care system we have is one that is overwhelmingly delivering the care that older Australians need and deserve. But it is also a system that recognised there are challenges and is committed to continuous improvement,” they say.

“We recognise the challenges faced by providers striving every day to deliver care that consistently meets the standards and expectations of residents and the community.

“Age services providers, government and the wider community all share a desire for a high-performing aged care sector.”

When it comes to the failures within the industry, both CEO’s say that those identified must be addressed to retain the confidence across older australians, their families and the communities concerned, adding that through both peak bodies, they work closely with members to provide support to facilities seeking this “continuous improvement”.

They add that the industry is also currently working closely with the Government to respond more broadly to quality concerns including the rollout of single aged care quality framework and progression towards a new independent aged care commission.

“Collectively we need to translate these developments into appropriate actions and outcomes that will address identified shortcomings and contribute to continuous improvement and community confidence,” Ms Sparrow says.

“Our commitment to ensuring this outcome is emphatic - our country needs an aged care system, including accreditation, that assures both the community and providers, of the safety, wellbeing and quality of life for older Australians living in residential aged care.”

Both Ms Sparrow and Mr Rooney also share the belief that the ongoing debate around staffing in aged care facilities would be “better served” by focusing on the quality of outcomes via optimising models of care for older Australians, rather than mandating staffing ratios, saying the basis for deciding on staffing levels and their skill mix needs to be driven by the “actual care needs” of individual residents.

“A focus on clear, quality outcomes and innovation to drive new models of care, along with adequate and stable funding, and workforce development strategies, are among the highest priorities,” they say.

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