There has been a lot of questions about the quality of care of retirement villages, especially in light of stories of elder abuse and poor services.

To hold the retirement villages more accountable, tighter accreditation processes are required to uphold quality standards.

There are currently two accreditation schemes that operate in the retirement living sector: Lifemark (owned by the Property Council of Australia and managed by BSI Australia) and IRCAS (owned by Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and operated by QIP).

Today, The Property Council of Australia and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) announced that they will be partnering to deliver a renewed accreditation scheme for the retirement living industry.

The Property Council and LASA have officially entered a joint Heads-of-Agreement for co-management of a renewed scheme, with both organisations to work over the coming months to merge the existing Lifemark and IRCAS schemes into a single entity.

Ben Myers, Executive Director – Retirement Living at the Property Council, says ensuring retirement living accreditation delivers real outcomes and raises standards for residents is a key priority in 2018 and beyond.

“A robust accreditation scheme for Australian retirement villages will deliver peace of mind to incoming and current residents about the quality of their community and the capability of their village’s staff and procedures. We’re delighted to be working with LASA to ensure our industry delivers a solution that will help to raise standards across the industry.”

Sean Rooney, Chief Executive Officer at LASA, says one national accreditation scheme will help to strengthen the system, assisting both consumers and providers of retirement living.

“A clear, strong, single accreditation scheme will set new benchmarks for community expectations and deliver greater consumer-confidence for the industry.”

“LASA looks forward to working with the Property Council on this important initiative,” he said.

Both the Property Council and LASA believe that a unified scheme, with shared ideas and resources, will be better placed to respond to both operator and resident needs, and provide the peace of mind that current and incoming retirement living residents are seeking.

The intention is that a unified scheme will show a strong demonstration to governments of the retirement village sector’s commitment to higher standards.

All organisations currently accredited under Lifemark and IRCAS will transition to the new scheme when it is operational.

Until the new scheme is officially launched, both Lifemark and IRCAS continue to operate as normal, accepting new clients, conducting audits and fielding client queries.

Retirement villages will remain accredited under their respective scheme until the new scheme is operational, and there will be no ‘gap’ in their accreditation.

Members from the Property Council and LASA will form a joint steering committee to advise on and oversee the changes to retirement living accreditation, with a view to finalising the new scheme over coming months.

A date for launch of the new united scheme is yet to be confirmed.

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