From 1 July 2019, any organisation that provides aged care services subsidised by the Commonwealth Government will be required to comply with the new Aged Care Quality Standards.
The new Quality Standards are designed to bring consistency and simplicity to the entire aged care sector, and they will apply to all aged care services including residential care, home care, and the Commonwealth Home Support Program. They will replace the previous aged care accreditation regime, including the:
- Accreditation Standards;
- Home Care Common Standards;
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program Quality Framework Standards; and
- Transition Care standards.
The new Quality Standards are each expressed in three ways, being:
- a statement of consumer outcome;
- a statement of expectations and obligations for the organisation; and
- specific requirements that the organisation must demonstrate to comply with the standard.
It is hoped that by highlighting the desired consumer outcome as the primary goal of each standard, organisations will focus on providing quality and personal services, with a specific focus on respecting the dignity and independence of their consumers.
The Quality Standards
There are eight new individual standards, being:
- Consumer dignity and choice;
- Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers;
- Personal care and clinical care;
- Services and support for daily living;
- Organisation's service environment;
- Feedback and complaints;
- Human resources; and
- Organisational governance
The consumer outcomes, organisation statements and organisation requirements specific to each Quality Standard are outlined in the Quality of Care Amendment (Single Quality Framework) Principles 2018 under the Aged Care Act 1997.
Ensuring compliance with the Quality Standards
The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency will be tasked with assessing whether organisations are compliant with the new Quality Standards, and whether they will maintain their Commonwealth accreditation.
Importantly, there will be no "one size fits all" approach to compliance with the Quality Standards. It is recognised that organisations within the aged care sector vary hugely in size, structure and available resources, so it will be up to each individual organisation to be aware of each Quality Standard and to decide how they are going to comply.
Aged Care Quality Assessors will consider the size and type of services offered by an organisation, and the specific strategies enacted by that organisation, in deciding whether compliance with the Quality Standards has been met.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
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