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Risk In Context

What does the new Aged Care Quality Standards mean for your organisation?

Posted by Lyle Steffensen 04 September 2019

A new set of Aged Care Quality Standards (AQS) came into effect on July 1, 2019. The standards provide the core quality and safety requirements aged care providers must meet. All organisations providing subsidised aged care services must comply with the quality standards. It is crucial that accredited aged care providers understand the new provisions to ensure the quality of care they provide is satisfactory.

The AQS focus on ensuring quality of care, which is also a key focus of the ongoing Royal Commission into the industry. The first standard, consumer dignity and choice, lays the foundation for aged care providers to foster social inclusion, health and well-being.

The wording of the new Standards reflects the progress towards a customer-centric aged care services model, where individuals have greater choice about how they enhance their health and well-being. While the terms “compliance” and “regulatory” appear in the modified standards once each, phrases such as “dignity”, “choice”, “respectful” and “safe” collectively appear 28 times. Importantly, the term “consumer” appears 48 times.

Compliance is no longer the sole indicator of the quality of the services that aged care providers offer. This is not to say that compliance and regulations should be ignored. Rather, compliance is just one component that ensures safe, quality care for consumers, and supports the ongoing viability of an organisation.

Insurance and legal professionals can provide support to ensure regulatory requirements are met. This is especially important in such a complicated environment, where efforts to balance duty of dignity and compliance are intensifying.

At our recent seminars in Sydney and Melbourne, in partnership with Ansvar, we had the privilege of showcasing Dr Joe Ibrahim’s international award winning movie “Dignity of Risk”, which explores these ideas. We challenged aged care providers to focus on changing the culture within their organisations and encourage the transition towards a Duty of Dignity. While the Duty of Dignity is not yet legal doctrine, the requirement to provide aged care services that meet the consumer’s right to safety, respect, choice and dignity is clearly encapsulated in the Australian Quality Standards.

Please note: Unfortunately due to the privacy rights of the movie, we were unable to record the session, livestream or webcast.

For more information on the new standards, please access the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission's website.

Alternatively, should you wish to discuss the standards and what this means for your organisation, please contact Lyle Steffensen.

Lyle Steffensen