GP aged care standards launched for the first time

Jolyon Attwooll

29/06/2023 3:35:42 PM

New college standards set out ‘minimum requirements’ to provide high-quality care in residential aged care homes.

Aged care staff with resident.
GPs are at the forefront of healthcare delivery to residential aged care facilities.

The RACGP has released its first ever GP standards for residential aged care facilities (RACFs), describing them as a ‘timely response’ to the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
According to the college, the new standards aim ‘to address the many challenges GPs face when delivering care in RACFs’.
‘The Standards … do not seek to replace existing requirements for accreditation against the Aged Care Quality Standards as set by the Department of Health,’ the authors wrote.
‘They are voluntary and highlight the inextricable link between the GP and the RACF, and demonstrate how the GP and broader RACF care team are connected to RACF systems and its infrastructure.’
They also state that the document is designed to identify gaps between the Aged Care Quality Standards and the RACGP’s own standards.
Dr Anthony Marinucci, Chair of RACGP Specific Interests Aged Care, welcomed their release and said they would help address some of the long-term pressures.
‘We know that over the next decades, as population ageing and increasing complex care needs among older people impact greatly on our aged care system, these standards will serve to enhance the delivery of services and the quality of care provided by GPs within their facilities,’ he told newsGP.
According to the 72-page publication, the work was developed in consultation with GPs, RACFs, practice managers, nurses, consumers, as well as subject matter and technical experts among others.
There are five standards set out, including ones addressing resident care coordination, infrastructure and equipment, information management, medication management, and RACF team qualifications.
According to Dr Marinucci, There are many different ways these could help improve the quality of life for RACF residents, such as the standards’ emphasis on dignity and respect, as well as its reference to older people’s right to autonomy and choice.
He says the standards are also designed to help increase access to equitable, non-discriminatory quality care, and improve clinical outcomes by reducing hospitalisations, decreasing the use of chemical restraint and cutting the number of falls.
RACFs seeking accreditation under the new RACGP standards need to be formally assessed by agencies approved under the National General Practice Accreditation Scheme.
Dr Marinucci said the project underlined the crucial work of general practice in residential aged care.
‘GPs are at the forefront of care delivery to residential aged care facilities across the country,’ he said.
‘In an increasingly complex system I would like to highlight the importance of team-based care, but also the challenges faced in delivering this. 
‘GPs are best placed to be the multidisciplinary team leader and have the critical role of team-care coordination.
‘In this context, they should be aware of these new standards in order to promote and engage facilities to implement this model of best practice care delivery.’
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Dr Naomi Ruth Fraser   30/06/2023 7:41:09 AM

Standard are all well and good but we need to get GP’s working in Aged Care Facilities. Adequate fee for service is the first step. Most of us working in this setting simply don’t have the time to deal with all the ‘red tape’ to claim higher rebates. The RACGP seems to be great at setting lofty standards but makes no effort to support what is really needed, GP’s willing to look after their patients in RACF’s.