The Federal Government has launched its new Quality Standards for Aged Care, the first upgrade to residential aged care standards in 20 years.

The new standards will apply to all residential aged care, home care, flexible care, and Commonwealth Home Support Programme services starting from 1 July 2019.

“Culture of compliance rather than commitment”: RACGP

But the Vice President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda, said he is concerned 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 said.

Aged care needs proper resourcing, funding: RACGP

He said the GPs play an important role in aged care, and yet they face “significant barriers” working in the sector.

“GPs face significant barriers in the provision of care to residents in Residential Aged Care Facilities, including inadequate support, clinical complexity, time pressures, workforce issues and lack of infrastructure and support structures,” he said.

Associate Professor Shenouda also said that adequate resourcing and funding is also critical.

He said what is needed is “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.”

The new standards focus on the aged care consumer

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt, said, “The Government is steadfast in its commitment to improve the quality of aged care provided to our senior Australians.

“The implementation of the new Standards is a key element of transforming this commitment into a reality,” he said.

The Government will provide $50 million to help aged care operators transition to the new framework.

The new standards have been developed with the aim of placing the consumer at the centre of the aged care quality framework.

“The new Standards place consumers at the centre of their care and focus on giving people greater choice and flexibility,” said Minister Wyatt.

“The new Standards protect the right for consumers to be treated with dignity and respect, and maintain their identity. They support consumers to make informed choices about their care and services, and to live the life they choose.”

The new standards

The new standards will replace the previous standards, and will focus on 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, and
  • Organisational governance.

Aged care operators must provide the following under the new standards:

  • A statement of outcome for the consumer,
  • A statement of expectation for the organisation, and
  • Demonstration that the standard has been met.

Has your home started preparing for the new standards?

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