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Minister announces review of aged care quality regulation system

Sector peak bodies have welcomed an independent review of the Commonwealth Government’s aged care regulations, announced 1 May 2017 by minister for aged care Ken Wyatt.

The review was prompted by a recent SA government review that uncovered systemic and longstanding failures of care in the Makk and McLeay wards of its Oakden facility.

Wyatt said the review will include looking at the role of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner, and of the Department of Health.

He said: “While the review will primarily examine the Commonwealth Government’s accreditation, monitoring, review, investigation, complaints and compliance processes in relation to the Makk and McLeay wards at the Oakden campus of the South Australian Older Persons Mental Health Service, I want this independent investigation’s recommendations to assure me and the community that the regulatory system in residential aged care works effectively”.

Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) acting chief executive Darren Mathewson said while most aged care facilities in Australia provide quality care and ensure that resident safety and quality of life is paramount, the community needs to be assured that the Commonwealth’s system of regulation works as it should.

COTA chief executive Ian Yates said over the last two decades Australia has had one of the strongest aged care regulatory regimes in the world. However, he added: “COTA has long been concerned that despite the formal accreditation and complaint processes mandated by successive governments, some poor behaviour has continued to ‘fly below the radar’, hidden from the accreditation processes; and with many of those residents and families who are affected not confident enough to complain”.

Yates pointed to the Oakden review finding that the facility, “became better at knowing how to produce documents and records that accrediting bodies and surveyors wanted to and expected to see; and better at ensuring staff knew what to say. However, it became no better at providing safe or better quality care.

“This is a frequent observation from residents and families of residents in some nursing homes; that an accreditation review happens and the nursing home passes but the issues they were concerned about continue,” Yates continued. “COTA Australia looks forward to working with the minister’s review to achieve even higher standards of care and accountability through greater transparency of provider behaviour, better support services to residents and families, and greater consumer choice and control.”

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) chief executive Sean Rooney said older Australians and their families need to feel assured they are receiving the best aged care that meets the most stringent national standards of quality and safety. “LASA continues to work with its members and Government to help build a high performing, respected and sustainable age services industry, delivering accessible, affordable, quality care and services for older Australians.”

The review is expected to be finalised by 31 August 2017.

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  1. Personal care workers need to be registered just like the nursing staff as they are the coal face of more the aged and community sector workforce as well as being responsible for care and complex needs of clients/residents. These duties once undertaken by nursing staff. Valuing residents and clients and giving them more choice is correct but equally the care workers need the same. Just because its cheaper to employ them does not mean they need to be stalled in their areas of choice to work. Not every care worker wants to aspire to nursing.

    • Vincenza Gigliotti

      well put i totally agree that Aged care workers in residential or community should be registered. and as Mary said above they are the one that older people deal with not Nurses. aged care workers may not hold a Bachelor in Nursing, but they need to know just as much as a RN and even more when it comes to community. as an former carer who worked in residential and community. my skill as on par with a RN and when i left working as a carer my hour rate was under $20 but a new RN starts at approximately $25 amd increases. maybe it time aged care workers has a strong union to represent us and fight for our rights. current work as a trainer of age care and my students still do more than an RN and sometime i feel that they are working to please RN. not clients I ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT NURSE TRAINED FOR ACUTE CARE AND SPECIALIST FIELD Age care is not a specialist field it a process of living and aged care workers do the best job of meeting residents needs and demands. so if i have offend anyone in advance

  2. yes, very true in
    victoria too…. REGARDLESS of our comments and complaints……