From today, unannounced quality and safety audits will come into force across all Australian residential aged care homes, as the Turnbull Government builds on its aged care reforms.
Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said aged care homes will no longer be given notice of the date of their re-accreditation audit, which means where there are issues there will be no time to cover up the problem.
“Our commitment to safe, high-quality care is non-negotiable and I am sure is shared by all Australians,” said Minister Wyatt.
The Minister believes “These changes will strengthen the oversight of aged care services to provide greater assurance that standards of care are consistently maintained, not just at re-accreditation times”.
Minister Wyatt signalled the Government’s intention to introduce unannounced re-accreditation audits by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency when he released the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes last October. This enhancement to the audit system was a key recommendation.
“The introduction of unannounced accreditation audits builds on existing unannounced compliance monitoring by the Quality Agency,” Minister Wyatt said.
“Since October, the Agency has conducted over 1,500 unannounced assessment visits on homes, targeting specific quality standard requirements.
“The Quality Agency has also increased its focus on broader areas of risk, conducting unannounced review audits of all 44 required quality outcomes at 22 homes. Since July 2017, five homes have had their accreditation revoked.”
“While the vast majority of Aged Care homes provide excellent service all year, this reform is designed to give residents and their families’ greater confidence in care delivery.”
To maintain their approval to receive Commonwealth funding, aged care homes must comply with four standards comprising 44 required outcomes, ranging from clinical care, nutrition and hygiene to dignity, privacy and security.
The new reforms to re-accreditation audits also include:
- Improved avenues for resident and family feedback
- Tighter profiling of homes to identify potential care and safety risks
- Self- assessment of performance prior to the audit
“Every senior Australian deserves to be treated with dignity and to receive the best care and I am committed to working with providers and everyone involved in this vital sector to ensure Australia continues to provide world-class aged care,” Minister Wyatt said.
The audit reform amendments relate to functions established under the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency Act 2013.
More information on unannounced re-accreditation audits can be found on the Department of Health website.
Information can also be found at the Quality Agency website.
The Quality Agency publishes accreditation and compliance decisions and resident feedback results on its website www.aacqa.gov.au.
The report on the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes will also provide more information.