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Aged Care Quality Standards

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As of 1 July 2019, eight new Aged Care Quality Standards have come into effect. All Australian Government-funded aged care providers need to meet these quality standards, regardless of what type of aged care service they are (My Aged Care 2019).

The Aged Care Quality Standards help clients to know what ‘good care’ looks and feels like, and helps providers understand how to achieve it.

The Aged Care Quality Standards Guidelines refer to clients and residents as ‘consumers’. This article adopts the terminology employed by these guidelines.

1. Consumer Dignity and Choice

A consumer is to be treated with dignity and respect, and is able to maintain their identity. They are able to make informed choices about their care and services, and live the life they choose.

To meet this Standard, an organisation must pledge to cultivate and maintain a culture of inclusion and respect for consumers and create a space in which consumers can exercise choice and independence. The organisation also pledges to respect the consumer’s privacy.

This Standard acknowledges the importance of an individual’s ability to maintain their sense of self in the healthcare system. This means that they believe that their identity, culture and diversity is valued by the facility and staff.

Standard One also encompasses:

  • The importance of culturally safe care and services;
  • Facilitating a consumer’s ability to make and maintain relationships of their choice (including intimate relationships); and
  • Allowing consumers to feel supported to take risks which enable them to live their best life.

(My Aged Care 2019; Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission 2018)

2. Ongoing Assessment and Planning with Consumers

A consumer is a partner in ongoing assessment and planning that helps them get the care and services they need for their own health and wellbeing.

In this standard, an organisation pledges to undertake initial and continuous assessment and planning for care and services in close collaboration with the consumer. The customer’s needs, goals and preferences are the cornerstone of care provision, assessment and planning.

This Standard outlines what organisations need to do to plan care and services with consumers, which in essence, is to listen to what the consumer wants and work out a way to achieve that (within reason).

This Standard also includes:

  • Engaging with other organisations, individuals and providers of care/services as a way of providing comprehensive care; and
  • Ensuring that the outcome of health assessments are communicated and documented in a way that allows a consumer to access it readily.

(My Aged Care 2019; Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission 2018)

3. Personal Care and Clinical Care

A consumer receives personal care, clinical care, or both, that is safe and right for them.

To meet this Standard, the organisation promises to provide safe and effective personal care, clinical care, or both, in accordance with a consumer’s needs, goals and preferences.

The purpose of this Standard is to ensure that consumers and the community receive the safe, effective and quality provision of personal and clinical care aligned with their values.

This care is:

  • Best practice, tailored to the needs of the consumer, and optimises their health and wellbeing; and
  • Any deterioration or change witnessed in the consumer health, function, capacity or condition is recognised and responded to promptly.

(My Aged Care 2019; Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission 2018)

4. Services and Supports for Daily Living

A consumer gets the services and supports for daily living that are important for their health and wellbeing, and that enable them to do the things they want to do.

The organisation promises to provide safe and effective services and supports for daily living that facilitates a consumer’s independence, health, wellbeing and overall quality of life.

This Standard recognises that a consumer is entitled to services and supports for daily living covering a wide range of options that aim to support consumers to live as independently as possible and enjoy life. This includes but is not limited to food services, domestic assistance and recreational and social activities.

This Standard encompasses:

  • The need for an organisation to address the emotional, spiritual and psychological needs of a consumer; and
  • Enables the consumer to participate in their community, have and maintain social relationships, and engage with activities that are of interest to them.

(My Aged Care 2019; Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission 2018)

5. Organisation’s Service Environment

A consumer feels they belong and are safe and comfortable in the organisation’s service environment.

The organisation commits to providing a safe and comfortable service environment that facilitates the consumer’s independence, function and enjoyment.

This Standard is designed to ensure that the service environment of an organisation is clean, comfortable, welcoming and well-maintained.

This also requires the service environment to be:

  • Easy to navigate and understand; ignite feelings of belonging, independence, interaction and function;
  • The environment is safe, clean, well-maintained, comfortable and allows consumers to be able to move freely; and
  • The furniture, fittings and equipment are safe, clean, well-maintained and suitable.

(My Aged Care 2019; Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission 2018)

6. Feedback and Complaints

A consumer feels safe, encouraged and supported to give feedback and make complaints. They are engaged in processes to address their feedback and complaints, and appropriate action is taken as a result.

The organisation is committed to not only listening to, but seeking input and feedback from parties including consumers, carers and the workforce, among others. This feedback then is integral to future improvement on a organisation-wide scale.

This Standard is in place to ensure that an organisation has a system in place to resolve complaints. This system must be fair, accessible, prompt and confidential.

This Standard also incorporates:

  • The ability for friends, family and carers of the consumer to make complaints and provide feedback;
  • Ensuring access to advocates and language services are brought to the attention of the consumer; and
  • An open disclosure process is used when things go awry.

(My Aged Care 2019; Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission 2018)

7. Human Resources

A consumer receives quality care and services when they need them from people who are knowledgeable, capable, and caring.

An organisation is committed to a workforce that is sufficient, skilled and qualified to provide effective, safe, respectful and quality care.

This standard also analyses the following:

  • The sufficiency of the workforce;
  • The attributes, attitudes and performance of the workforce;
  • Organisational support for the workforce; and
  • Assessment, monitoring and review.

(My Aged Care 2019; Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission 2018)

8. Organisational Governance

A consumer is confident the organisation is well run. They feel it is possible to partner in improving the provision of care and services.

The governing body of the organisation is held accountable for the provision of safe and quality care and services.

The governing body, which outlines the strategic aims of the organisation, should encourage a culture of safety and quality. Government systems such as the following are in place: information management, continuous management, financial governance, workforce governance, regulatory compliance and feedback and complaints.

An organisation must also be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Consumers are engaged in the provision of care;
  • A culture of safe, inclusive and quality care is promoted; and
  • Effective risk-management systems are in place.

(My Aged Care 2019; Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission 2018)

How are These Standards Assessed?

The following material is supplied by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to provide a clear explanation about the accreditation evaluation process: https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/consumers/about-accreditation

Additional Resources

Find out more about the Aged Care Quality Standards on the Department of Health website:https://agedcare.health.gov.au/quality/aged-care-quality-standards

Quality of Care Amendment (Single Quality Framework) Principles 2018: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2018L01412

Guidance and Resources for Providers to support the Aged Care Quality Standards: https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/sites/default/files/media/Guidance%20and%20Resources%20for%20Providers%20to%20support%20the%20Aged%20Care%20Quality%20Standards.pdf

Multiple Choice questions

Q1. Which of the following is a guiding principle of Standard 6?

  1. Appropriate action is taken in response to complaints.
  2. The service environment is well-maintained and comfortable.
  3. The needs, goals and preferences of a consumer nearing the end of life are addressed.
  4. Care and services are culturally safe.

Q2. True or false: Best practice care tailored to the specific needs of a consumer is integral to Standard 3?

  1. True
  2. False

Q3. Which of the following is NOT a guiding principle of Standard 2?

  1. A consumer is encouraged to be a partner in the healthcare process.
  2. A welcoming service environment.
  3. Care and services are reviewed regularly.
  4. The inclusion of other organisations is facilitated by the organisation.
References

(Answers: a, a, b.)

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Vidya Vikram
06 Sep 2019

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