Changes to Aged Care Regulation

10 July 2019

 From 1 July 2019 the Australian Government introduced a new single set of regulatory standards that apply to all aged care services including residential care, home care, flexible care and services under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. You can read these here.

The new Standards focus on quality outcomes for consumers and are intended to make it easier for consumers, their families, care workers, and representatives to understand what to expect from a service and make regulation simpler for providers working across multiple aged care services.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has published Guidance and Resources for Providers to assist aged care services to implement and maintain compliance with the new Quality Standards, including:

  • the Commission’s expectations
  • Suggested practices
  • Examples and evidence required to ensure compliance

New obligations have also been imposed on providers in relation to the use of restrictive practices through the introduction of the Quality of Care Amendment (Minimising the Use of Restraints) Principles 2019.

For example, in circumstances where physical or chemical restraints are deemed necessary providers must ensure:

  • an assessment is carried out by a health practitioner
  • The reasons for the restraint and any alternatives to restraint that have been used are documented in the resident’s care and services plan
  • If restraint is used, providers are required to regularly monitor the consumer and record information in the consumer’s care and services plan

From 1 July 2019 it is also mandatory for Residential Aged Care providers to collect and provide quality indicator data to the Commonwealth Department of Health in relation to:

  • Pressure injuries
  • Use of physical restraint
  • Unplanned weight loss

The data will be published on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website as a resource for providers to compare their results against national standards and for consumers and their families and carers to refer to when making decisions regarding care.

The ANMF will be publishing further details on the new Quality Standards in our October – December edition of Infusion magazine, however in the meantime you can find further information here.