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The Aged Care Quality Standards are being reviewed, what you need to know

The Government is currently “urgently” reviewing the Aged Care Quality Standards from 2019 after identifying it as a key area to fix.

<p>The Aged Care Quality Standards are getting a new look and should result in better quality care and service delivery. [Source: iStock]</p>

The Aged Care Quality Standards are getting a new look and should result in better quality care and service delivery. [Source: iStock]

At the moment, the Government is seeking feedback from stakeholders, providers, advocates and older Australians on their thoughts for the Quality Standards.

In May 2021, the first independent evaluation of the Standards took place, and now the consultation has been opened to the public.

Below we outline why the Quality Standards are being reviewed, what changes are expected to be made, and how it will impact you and your care.

Why the review?

In the Final Report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, it highlighted the need for immediate action to be taken on the current Quality Standards.

The Commissioners identified a big flaw with the existing Standards, that they “do not define quality, or high quality, aged care. By their nature, they set out the minimum acceptable standards for accreditation”.

So instead, the Commissioner wanted the Quality Standards to better reflect the standards seen in the health care sector, as well as adding some other areas the Commission wanted to see included in the Quality Standards.

The Department of Health is leading this review, alongside the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC).

What are the Quality Standards?

The Aged Care Quality Standards are an important framework that ensures all older Australians accessing aged care receive adequate services and care.

There are currently eight Standards under this framework that assist in the delivery of care to older Australians, these include:

  • Standard 1: Consumer dignity and choice

Ensures consumers have the right to dignity and choice, and encourages you to maintain your sense of self.

  • Standard 2: Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers

Organisations are required to monitor the services you receive and update your care plans and services when necessary.

  • Standard 3: Personal care and clinical care

You will receive safe personal and clinical care from your care providers.

  • Standard 4: Services and supports for daily living

You have the right to receive services that align with your lifestyle goals and health and wellbeing.

  • Standard 5: Organisation’s service environment

Care and service environments are welcoming and well-designed for residents and clients.

  • Standard 6: Feedback and complaints

You can provide feedback and complaints to organisations through adequate complaint resolving systems that are fair and efficient, without worry of reprisal.

  • Standard 7: Human resources

Staff that provide you care and services are adequately skilled and qualified to do so.

  • Standard 8: Organisational governance

The organisations that deliver your care and services are held responsible for your safety and quality care.

Aged care providers are regularly reviewed against these eight standards by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to make sure all care and support you receive is of quality.

You can learn more about the current Quality Standards in our article, ‘Aged Care Quality Standards explained‘.

What changes are being suggested?

In the Royal Commission Final Report, there were five main areas of focus that needed urgent review, including food and nutrition, clinical care, dementia, diversity, and governance.

Some of the new additions that would “strengthen” the Quality Standards would incorporate:

  • Oral care and medication management
  • Pressure injury prevention
  • Wound management
  • Continence care
  • Falls prevention and mobility
  • Infection control

The former eight Standards have been changed and have been revised to a seven Standard system:

  • Standard 1: The people

You have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and be free from experiencing discrimination. You are able to make decisions about your care and services and the support when you want it. You can also be assured that your identity, culture, and diversity will be valued by your service provider and won’t impact your right to live how you wish. Your provider will also be aware of who you are as a person and understands what is important to you.

  • Standard 2: The organisation

You can be assured that your service provider’s organisation is well run and that they will listen and respond to your feedback and concerns, including improvements to care and services. Additionally, workers will be knowledgeable, capable and caring.

  • Standard 3: The care and services

You should receive care that is safe, effective, optimises your wellbeing and quality of life, is planned and coordinated efficiently, and meets your goals, needs and preferences.

  • Standard 4: The environment

You will receive care and services in a clean, safe, and comfortable environment, which allows you to move freely. Additionally, precautions will be made to prevent the spread of infections.

  • Standard 5: The clinical care

You will receive person-centred clinical care that is safe, effective and meets your care needs.

  • Standard 6: Food and nutrition

You will receive food and drink to your enjoyment and satisfaction, which will include food and drink that is tasty, safe, nutritious, and appetising, as well as meets your needs and preferences. Additionally, you can expect your dining experience to be enjoyable.

  • Standard 7: The residential community

You will be supported to do as you wish and maintain your current relationships and connections within your community.

You can view the in-depth revised Aged Care Quality Standards on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

How does this impact me?

Largely, the review of the Aged Care Quality Standards will ensure you receive better quality care in new, and important, areas.

You can be assured that all aspects of your care will be catered to and you will have access to the best care for your needs.

This is why it is important that you also get involved in the feedback process for the Quality Standards.

This public consultation will run for six weeks, from 17 October – 25 November 2022, through a range of different avenues, such as focus groups, webinars, and surveys.

You can view the Consultation Paper for new Standards and the revised Quality Standards on the Health and Aged Care Department website. Or have your say by providing feedback through the Aged Care Engagement Hub.

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