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New aged care quality standards pass through parliament

Aged care bodies have today welcomed the passage through parliament of a new set of quality standards.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt said the standards would intensify quality compliance across residential, home and remote care.

“Under the draft new regulations, aged care providers’ governing bodies and boards will be legally accountable for safety and quality,” Wyatt said. “There will be mandatory clinical frameworks for each home, including disease control, open disclosure, and minimising the use of restraint.”

LASA chief executive Sean Rooney said the new standards deliver a single approach to quality assessment across the different aged care settings.

“The single framework will both streamline assessment of the performance of providers against these new standards as well as improve the information about quality and safety that is available to consumers,” Rooney said.

“LASA supports the new Aged Care Quality Standards on the basis that these standards reflect current evidence on how best to deliver quality care, support, services and accommodation for our older Australians.”

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation thanked the federal senators who supported the Aged Care (Single Quality Framework) Reform Bill 2018.

ANMF also commended Senator Derryn Hinch for calling for mandated staffing ratios for aged care through a proposed amendment. That amendment was voted down. Hinch took to Twitter to apologise to the union and urge people to remember who voted against it.

The Aged Care Quality Standards replace the Accreditation Standards, Home Care Standards, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program Quality Framework Standards, and Transition Care Standards.

Here are the eight standards covered:

  • Client dignity and choice
  • Ongoing assessment and planning of client personal and clinical care
  • Services and supports for daily living
  • The provider’s service environment
  • Feedback and complaints
  • Human resources
  • Governance

Each includes a statement of outcome for the client and one of expectation for the organisation, as well as requirements to demonstrate that the standard has been met.

Wyatt said while the majority of Australia’s aged care providers and staff deliver exceptional care, the new standards are about “ensuring there are no exceptions”.

The Aged Care Quality Standards will take effect from 1 July 2018 but assessment against the Standards will begin from 1 July next year.

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  1. This is all a lot of political speak. These standards go no where near encompassing what is really necessary for a true ethical and comprehensive system for aged care. At some point the Government is going to have to accept the responsibility for not ensuring funding is going where it should which is directly to quality care of residents. The simple fact that aged care is now allowing organisations to make enormous profits is in itself ethically reprehensible.

    • Hi Jill, I agree that improvements are required to the aged care system and that Government needs to not only accept more responsibility but also needs to improve the funding levels. 43% of aged care facilities are making a loss each year, so the enormous profits you mention are simply not there. Not for the Not-for-profit providers and not even for the majority of the For-Profit providers. I take this information from the excellent and exhaustive Stewart Brown benchmarking survey which is publicly available.
      Funding has in no way kept pace with rising staff, utilities and other costs over the last few years, and hasn’t accounted for the increased acuity of people going into Aged Care.
      Funding is incredibly carefully monitored already by the government agencies – resulting in staff spending up to 30% pf their time completing paperwork rather than spending more time with residents.
      I wish you were right about the profits – then we could afford to spend more time chatting to our vulnerable elders.