We all want what’s best for our elders and especially our own family. We want them to receive the best care and to be comfortable. But sadly, even though it maybe the minority, we must work to rise the standards above minimum requirements.
Most people can name one or two ways their aged care service could improve. Even if they are happy with the service, there is always room for improvement.
But for the places that are in particularly poor condition, those that need a great deal of changes to meet the adequate levels of care – what’s the best way to make them improve? Would naming and shaming aged care providers encourage them to change? Or would it continue to create a culture of blame and instil fear in people to speak up when mistakes are made?
Do Audits Really Work?
Audits are a regular part of aged care accreditation. Every three years aged care facilities are audited, along with at least one annual “unannounced spot check”, to ensure that they have met the accreditation standards.
All aged care audits are conducted by government regulator, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, who have 44 accreditation standards that must be met.
“While we have a strong aged care regulatory framework, it is vital to ensure this continues to respond to growth and change in the sector,” said Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt.
One of the criticisms that consumers often state is that if the facility knows about the audit beforehand, they are able to prepare for it – clean up, make sure enough staff is on hand, look picture perfect for the audits.
And what should happen to the places that fail their audits?
Naming and Shaming
A damning report has revealed almost 600 facilities across the country did not meet industry regulations in the past five years.
And for the very first time, the audit summary was released that has named and shamed these homes.
Though the many of these facilities are still able to operate, improvements must be made for them to meet accreditation standards.
It raises the question, if they were named publicly, would that push them to change out of fear of public retribution?
Or would it seal their fate and completely destroy their business – essentially robbing them of a chance to redeem themselves. Do these homes deserve a second chance?
On the flip side, having poor quality aged care facilities “named and shamed” would be in the public’s best interest. No one wants to send their loved ones into a place that isn’t sufficiently caring for their residents.
And if it’s publicly known that there is poor quality of care, then no family would fall into that trap.
Rae Lamb, the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner earlier in the year suggested that aged care providers should be required to provide information about disputes and complaints. Essentially naming and shaming themselves. And that they should detail the number and types of complaints they receive, as well as how they were resolved.
Feedback is the Key to Change
Receiving feedback is vital to seeing improvements. In any business, an organisation wouldn’t know they needed to change something unless someone pointed out to them that it didn’t work.
The same goes with aged care. If a person has a complaint about the food, the care, the time they go to bed, it’s important to give feedback so that action can be taken.
According to the Care Quality Commission in the UK, one in six people over the age of 65 don’t give feedback because they are afraid that it will negatively impact their care.
Without feedback, the aged care organisation may blissfully, and ignorantly, think that all is well – even though you or a resident may not be satisfied with the service. And what better way to find out if your service is delivering the quality of care it set out to than asking the people you provide it to.
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