Report on the review of the National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Process – what does it recommend and what may it mean for aged care providers?

21 November 2017

The National Aged Care Quality Regulatory process underwent a review which examined Australia’s current aged care regulatory system against best practice regulatory principles and included an international comparison of how Australia’s aged care regulatory system is performing.

The Report concluded that the Australian system, whilst complex, it aligned well with some of the best practice regulatory principles. However, the Report also found that Australia’s aged care regulatory system required strengthening in specific areas.

A full copy of the Report on the Review of the National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes (Report) can be accessed via the following link: click here

The purpose of the review was to examine why the existing age care regulatory processes failed to adequately detect the issues which arose at the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service (Oakden) prior to sanctions being imposed in March 2017.

Following the feedback received through the 400 submissions, consultations with various stakeholders within the aged care industry and numerous consumer forums, the Report proposes measures facilitating a transition to a new model of regulation.

The Report made the following ten recommendations to avoid a repeat of the failings at Oakden and to improve the current aged care regulatory environment:

  1. Establish an independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to centralise accreditation, compliance and complaints handling.
  2. The Aged Care Commission will develop and manage a centralised database for real-time information sharing.
  3. All residential aged care services in receipt of Commonwealth funding must participate in the National Quality Indicators Program.
  4. The Aged Care Commission will implement a star-rated system for public reporting of provider performance.
  5. The Aged Care Commission will support consumers and their representatives to exercise their rights.
  6. Enact a serious incident response scheme (SIRS) for aged care.
  7. Aged care standards will limit the use of restrictive practices in residential aged care.
  8. Ongoing accreditation, with unannounced visits, to assure safety and quality of residential aged care.
  9. Ensure that assessment against Standards is consistent, objective and reflective of current expectations of care.
  10. Enhance complaints handling.

If all the recommendations are implemented in their current form what might this mean for providers of aged care services?

  • The database would provide the Commission with a single source of information on providers relating to accreditation, compliance, complaints, consumer experience reports, reportable assaults, mandatory reports and intelligence from state and territory agencies.
  • Re-accreditation visits will be unannounced and higher risk providers will receive more frequent and closer attention from the Agency though more frequent unannounced visits and assessment against all standards.
  • Increased opportunities for the Commission to obtain feedback from staff, care recipients and their representatives:
    • during site assessments;
    • through an online consumer experience report questionnaire allowing consumers and their families can provide feedback year round; and
    • through the development of an online survey for staff to provide feedback on how a provider is performing.
  • Ability to see how you are performing compared to your competitors through the development of a star rated performance system which will score providers against each accreditation standard and provide an overall score for each facility.
  • The development of an online register and an increase in the power of the Complaint Commissioner to publish the outcomes of complaints referred to other bodies may impact on your reputation as a provider of quality care or as an employer of choice.
  • Increased recording and reporting obligations through:
    • the expansion of and mandatory participation in the National Quality Indicator Program;
    • the expansion of the definition of a ‘serious incident’ and mandatory reporting obligations to include all types of aggressive incidents regardless of the cognitive status of the care recipients involved; and
    • increased requirements regarding the recording and reporting of the use of restrictive practices including the recommendation that Residential Medication Managing Reviews be conducted on admission, after hospitalisation or following any deterioration in behaviour or changes in medication regime.
  • Increased requirements to provide training to consumers, their representatives about consumer rights, and be required to ensure that all staff undertake regular training on consumer rights through the Older Persons Advocacy Network.
This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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