The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has commenced nation-wide auditing of aged care facilities that failed to meet infection control quality standards.
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, Janet Anderson PSM, told HelloCare, “The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is taking a proportionate risk-based approach in responding to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation.
“This means focusing our additional effort where it is needed most to ensure that aged care consumers are safe, by concentrating on services where we identify elevated risk to safe, quality care.
“We are also being flexible in considering adjustments to our routine regulatory activities and program so as to avoid putting untimely demands on providers.
“Based on our risk assessment, we are conducting audits, monitoring visits and assessment contacts to services to ensure the delivery of safe, quality care.”
Audit numbers could rise
In previous statements, Ms Anderson said around 100 facilities would be audited, but she told HelloCare that number could change.
“My public comment regarding 100 facilities was in relation to an approximate number of services that may have an elevated risk in relation to provisions for infection control.
“The number of services that we visit and monitor will vary as our regulatory intelligence changes. We apply different regulatory responses to services dependent on assessed risk.”
Ms Anderson is overseeing the Quality Commission’s response.
“As the Commissioner, I am working closely with our operational areas to guide our regulatory response in relation to COVID-19,” she told HelloCare.
“I’m also participating in regular briefings with the Department of Health and with my own leadership group to understand the changing situation and make changes to our approach as needed.”
All providers asked about infection control
The Quality Commission’s assessors will ask all assessed aged care facilities an additional question when they first arrive.
The question is: ‘What action has the service taken to assess and minimise infection-related risks for the care of aged care consumers including the impact of a potential coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?’
“The introduction of a new, additional risk screening question is to assist our assessors to focus their monitoring visit when on site at a residential aged care service or home service,” Ms Anderson said.
“In asking the question, our assessors will want to be satisfied that the service has in place arrangements for:
- assessment and management of risk associated with infectious outbreaks if infection is suspected or identified
- ensuring adequate care of the infected individual
- protection measures for consumers, staff and, for residential aged care services, visitors to the service
- providing notification advice to consumers, families, carers and relevant authorities.”
The Quality Commission’s approach to audits is set out on their website.