Home | Industry+Policy | Know your rights: Aged Care Quality Standards and Charter of Aged Care Rights start this month

Know your rights: Aged Care Quality Standards and Charter of Aged Care Rights start this month

Today, the government ushers in new standards in the aged care sector with the Aged Care Quality Standards and Charter of Aged Care Rights both coming into force.

Minister for aged care, Richard Colbeck, said the “major reform package” will deliver choice and flexibility for older Australians.

“Today is the first upgrade to residential aged care standards in 20 years. The new Standards will improve transparency for senior Australians and their families, as well as making regulation clearer for providers.

“The Standards are centred on the needs of senior Australians and provide a solid foundation for providers’ continuous improvement.”

The charter of rights replaces the existing User Rights Principles 2014, which have four separate charters dealing with the provision of aged care.

The government has sought to address duplication issues within the existing charter and, according to the government website, questions existed as to “why some aged care recipients are not afforded the same rights as others”.

“Senior Australians must be treated with dignity and respect – this is now explicitly set out in our law,” Minister Colbeck said.

The new single charter includes 14 simple rights which were developed in late 2018 during a five-week public consultation period.

Our new rights in aged care are:

  1. safe and high-quality care and services
  2. be treated with dignity and respect
  3. have my identity, culture and diversity valued and supported
  4. live without abuse and neglect
  5. be informed about my care and services in a way I understand
  6. access all information about myself, including information about my rights, care and services
  7. have control over and make choices about my care, personal and social life, including where the choices involve personal risk
  8. have control over, and make decisions about, the personal aspects of my daily life, financial affairs and possessions
  9. my independence
  10. be listened to and understood
  11. have a person of my choice, including an aged care advocate, support me or speak on my behalf
  12. complain free from reprisal, and to have my complaints dealt with fairly and promptly
  13. personal privacy and to have my personal information protected
  14. exercise my rights without it adversely affecting the way I am treated

All consumers of aged care must be given a copy of the charter and the provider must assist them in understanding their rights. They, or an authorised person, must sign a copy.

The new Aged Care Quality Standards create a guide of requirements providers must meet based on key consumer outcomes.

The standards were produced, like the charter, in consultation with the public and replace existing fragmented standards. They will be mandatory from 1 July.

The Quality Standards are made up of eight individual standards:

  1. Consumer dignity and choice
  2. Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers
  3. Personal care and clinical care
  4. Services and supports for daily living
  5. Organisation’s service environment
  6. Feedback and complaints
  7. Human resources
  8. Organisational governance.

COTA Australia chief executive Ian Yates said he looks forward to increased transparency and accountability in the sector, which the new Standards intrinsically require.

“The new Standards and Charter of Rights put consumers at the heart of aged care, just as they should be,” said Yates.

“Older Australians have the right to be treated with dignity and respect in all aspects of their lives in aged care, whether it’s having great meals that are nutritious and enjoyable, having more control and ongoing consultation over their services; and being free from the inappropriate use of physical and chemical restraints.”

LASA CEO Sean Rooney believes that while change will not happen overnight, these improvements and more funding will help provide “world class” care.

“Recognising that there will be a period of learning in coming months for both the sector and the Quality and Safety Commission, it is vital that the Commission be consistent and constructive in its approach to assessing providers,” he said.

“We share the Government’s vision to realise a world-class aged care system, however a world-class system also requires world class funding.”

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