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New Government standards

17 September 2018

The new Aged Care Quality Standards – what do they mean?

In early September, Federal Parliament passed legislation to enact the new Aged Care Quality Standards, which come into effect from 1 July 2019. 

The update to the aged care standards is the first of its kind in 20 years, and is critical to ensure all providers meet the needs of aged care consumers now and into the future. 

What the new standards look like

The new standards reflect the changing nature of the aged care industry and the increasing role individuals will play in directing their aged care, whether in a residential facility or in their own home. 

The new standards ensure consistency across all types of aged care services: residential care, in-home care, transitional care and flexible Indigenous aged care standards. They are made up of eight individual standards:

  1. Consumer dignity and choice

  2. Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers

  3. Personal care and clinical care

  4. Services and supports for daily living

  5. Organisation’s service environment

  6. Feedback and complaints

  7. Human resources

  8. Organisational governance.

How will things change?

The new standards allow for flexibility in how the outcomes are delivered and met, encouraging true person-centred care. This approach is great for our ageing population, but will require significant changes for providers and the workforce. Traditional methods and practices which have worked in the past and have been acceptable under the old standards may no longer be appropriate or effective.

One major change is the increase in visits to facilities from the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA). All government-supported providers are now subject to increased unannounced visits and audits by AACQA Assessors, to ensure providers are complying with Accreditation Standards at all times. This will mean residents and families may be asked more frequently to be involved in interviews with Assessors as part of the audits.

The increased scrutiny on the industry and the changes to standards are designed to improve the lives of those who receive aged care services. Ultimately, the changes are about improving the wellbeing of aged care residents and clients, and ensuring they are made the priority by providers — something St Vincent’s Care Services wholeheartedly supports.

How is St Vincent’s Care Services responding?

St Vincent’s Care Services already employs a philosophy of person-centred care across our facilities and services and this will be reviewed in line with the new Standards. 

We pride ourselves on having a culture of continuous improvement and we are always looking to innovate in order to deliver the very best care and support to our residents and clients. We also recognise we can always do better. When an aspect of our service needs improvement – we look for ways to correct it. When we receive feedback from a resident, client or their family – we listen and work to address it. We also accept when we are not up to standard or expectation, and we work hard to resolve our shortcomings. 

This philosophy of continuous improvement and open communication will be central to our response to the changing nature of the aged care industry, however, what will always be constant is our commitment to ensuring our residents and clients are always the priority in everything we do. 

We encourage transparent and honest dialogue between our residents, clients, their families and our staff and management. We undertake regular meetings and surveys and we welcome feedback at any time. 

We’ll be looking for further opportunities to ensure the care we provide to each of our residents and clients matches their needs, and that they feel welcome, valued and safe at all times at all our facilities and services. St Vincent’s Care Services looks forward to continuing to deliver exceptional and holistic person-centred care.

We welcome the changes to the aged care industry so it can improve the lives and care of seniors across the country. It’s a dynamic time for the industry, and the opportunity to shift the industry into one that is truly revered and celebrated in the community is exciting.