Latest posts by Pam Savage (see all)

New Aged Care Standards

Considerable media coverage and notification from the Commonwealth Department of Aging has informed us of about the implementation of a Single Aged Care Quality Framework.

While no one working in Aged care environments would argue against a coherent and unified set of standards for the sector it occurred to me when I looked at the goals for the (I think) heavily monitored environment functioning under the Aged Care Act there was one area not actually addressed.  Staffing.

Anyone working in this area knows the pressure and demands that exist and nurses routinely cite limited staffing as one of the greatest burdens.   Standards that protect and give clear direction for best care options, safe and efficient practice and ensure all, not just Commonwealth funded facilities comply with meeting the needs of the aged is a good thing.

This is to be achieved through a single set of quality standards for all aged care services. The single quality framework will:

  • increase the focus on quality outcomes for consumers
  • recognise the diversity of service providers and consumers
  • better target assessment activities based on risk
  • reflect best practice regulation (Australian Government Department of Health September 2028).

Nothing to argue with there as long as the system can fund and provide adequate resources to meet these goals.   There have been some failures in the past if I remember correctly.

There will be:

  • improved quality assessment arrangements for assessing provider performance against quality standards
  • a single charter of rights for all aged care recipients
  • publication of improved information about quality to help consumers choose aged care and services.

I wonder if I am being cynical though when I consider the facilities I have worked at and the long history of nurses begging, demanding, and pleading for better staffing levels in order to meet the needs of their residents.

I certainly see the intentions of this move will provide consumers with very clear guides for their decision making.  Data about packages and services will be published and actions against providers will be available.  Great, those services that have fallen below standards will be named but given failure to comply can be documented against a large number of criteria, not all of which directly relate to care and client safety will the consumer have enough information to make judgements?  What if the service has resolved these documented problems?

I feel I am carping a bit.  The need for improved protection and prevention of exploitation of aged people is imperative and anything that can achieve that is to be applauded.  Yet deep down I have this nagging worry about the need for adequate staffing, resources and training for carers to actually meet the standards they want to meet every day, every shift, let alone those proposed by politicians.

There are some fabulous webinar recordings by Pam Savage regarding Nurses and the Law on the Nurses for Nurses Network. The  Nurses for Nurses Network provides good information and CPD  on an array of nursing topics in a range of easy learning ways including webinars and quizzes on the latest information that Nurses need to know – remember the Nurses for Nurses Network was created by Australian Nurses for Nurses!