New Quality Standards for Aged Care released

Amanda Lyons

28/11/2018 1:24:37 PM

The updated standards are part of reforms designed to improve the way aged care is delivered in Australia, but the RACGP’s Vice President is cautious about the impact they may have on the sector.

Minister Ken Wyatt said the new Quality Standards for Aged Care are designed to provide guidance for improved care across Australia’s aged care sector. (Image: Joel Carrett)
Minister Ken Wyatt said the new Quality Standards for Aged Care are designed to provide guidance for improved care across Australia’s aged care sector. (Image: Joel Carrett)

The Federal Government’s mission to improve aged care in Australia moved further forward with today’s release of the new Quality Standards for Aged Care (the Standards), which represent the most significant changes to standards in the aged care sector for two decades.
‘The new Standards build on our Government’s wide-ranging reforms and highlight our determination to put aged care consumer’s needs at the forefront, at all times,’ Federal Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt said.
However, RACGP Vice President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda is concerned that implementation of the new Standards may lead to a 'culture of compliance rather than commitment'.

‘It would be more appropriate to create a framework that is more balanced between the three elements of improvement, ie quality assurance, quality improvement and innovation,’ he told newsGP.
Associate Professor Shenouda emphasised the complexity of aged care, and the often under-appreciated role of GPs.
‘GPs face significant barriers in the provision of care to residents in RACFs [residential aged care facilities], including inadequate support, clinical complexity, time pressures, workforce issues and lack of infrastructure and support structures.’
The new Standards will replace the four sets of previous standards, and cover the following eight aspects of aged care:

  • Consumer dignity and choice
  • Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers 
  • Personal and clinical care
  • Services and supports for daily living
  • Organisations’ service environment
  • Feedback and complaints
  • Human resources
  • Organisational governance
 Residential aged care providers must provide the following to comply with the Standards:
  • A statement of outcome for the consumer
  • A statement of expectation for the organisation
  • Demonstration that the standard has been met
The Standards will be enforced by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission across all aged care services, and are to be fully implemented across the country from 1 July 2019. The Federal Government is providing $50 million to support residential aged care providers' transition to the new Standards.
‘Implementation of the new Standards is a critical part of our Government’s aged care reforms, which will continue at full pace, while the royal commission undertakes its important and comprehensive inquiry into the aged care sector,’ Minister Wyatt said.
While Associate Professor Shenouda acknowledges that quality assurance is important for the aged care sector, he believes that proper funding and resourcing is vital as well.
‘For example, support for an integrated general practice-led multi-disciplinary approach, allowing for adequate numbers of adequately trained nursing staff and allied health practitioners that focus on residents’ and carers’ needs,’ he said.

In addition to the introduction of the new Standards, an amended Aged Care and Quality Safety Commission Bill 2018 was passed through the Senate this week. One of its amendments enshrines the appointment of a Chief Clinical Advisor to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner as part of the legislation, with confirmation from the Federal Department of Health that the position will filled by a doctor.

Aged care Quality Standards for Aged Care

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