The number of ‘serious risk’ notices that have been issued so far this year by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency is already more than twice the number issued last year.

A ‘serious risk’ notice is issued if an aged care home fails to meet one of the industry’s 44 standards, and the chief executive of the AACQA believes there is evidence the failure puts, or may put, the safety, health or wellbeing of a resident at risk.

From July last year until the end of May, there were 48 ‘serious risk’ notices issued to aged care providers, up from only 22 for the whole of the previous financial year, according to Channel 10 News.

These notices have been issued before the 1 July introduction of unannounced audits, and are likely to rise further once they are introduced.

So far this financial year, 14 aged care providers have also been sanctioned for failing to meet a timetable for improvement, and nine have had their accreditation revoked, according to Channel 10 News.

When aged care facilities lose their accreditation they lose significant government funding.

Unannounced re-accreditation visits: cracking down on standards

The government is introducing tougher measures to monitor aged care quality with the introduction of unannounced re-accreditation checks from 1 July this year.

Currently, aged care audit visits are usually conducted by appointment, although unannounced visits do sometimes occur.

AACQA Chief Executive Nick Ryan told The Australian that the regulator has channeled more resources into regulation and monitoring of risks, which has contributed to the increase of non-compliance findings.

“Over recent years the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency has strengthened its risk based regulatory approach to ensure the aged care sector meets standards for safety and quality care,” he said.

“A risk-based approach means directing more regulatory resources to areas of greatest risk based on information and intelligence. Our focus in compliance monitoring has been on areas of known risk and previous noncompliance.

“These factors have contributed to an increase in findings of noncompliance as reflected in our performance data.”

HelloCare’s request for a comment from the AACQA was not answered at the time of publishing.

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