With the passing of legislation in Parliament comes new dawn for the Australian Aged Care industry and Aged Care Quality and Safety.
The nation’s first independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has been established and this means change.
As a collective industry, down to individual centres and individual service personnel, many of us have grieved at the stories of neglect and substandard care.
What the new commission brings, in addition to increased funding, enforcement officers and tighter policy, is what our vulnerable seniors need and will always need, excellence in care, excellence in protection and a championing of their humanity.
It is to this end that we all strive and in partnering with the ethos and standards of the new Commission, we do so in collective strength.
It is important to note that senior Australians and those who care for them are at the heart of this new Commission.
The government has stated that the role of the Commission is “to implement a strong but fair regulatory framework that will protect and enhance senior Australians’ quality of life, safety, health and wellbeing.”
With the change, there is understandably a sense of vulnerability and being overwhelmed.
Yet every facility and care worker should know and be encouraged by the fact that the Commission is to “target aged care homes that provide substandard care and will be a single, trusted point of contact for aged care recipients, their families and loved ones, and aged care providers.”
The new Commission is a new partner for aged care residents, their families and facilities alike, joined in the effort to secure excellence in care and protection.
The New Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has been operational as of January 1 this year.
The Commission has been allotted a budget of almost $300 million to be used over four years.
An additional $48.2 million is to be utilised in monitoring, securing aged care quality standards and employing a base of senior compliance officers.
Powerfully the Commission is to be strengthened by a new aged care Charter of Rights, as well as enforcing a single set of Quality Standards, which is to be the first enhancement of standards in over two decades.
The new Commission will see the integration and streamlining of aged care governance channels.
The Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency will be united to create a direct point of reference and contact. Go to https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/making-complaint
As of January 2020, the Commission will also be able to enforce the Department of Health’s aged care licensing responsibilities.
Throughout 2019, the Commission will oversee the tripling of unannounced re-accreditation audits in residential aged care facilities and the number of unannounced inspections is set to rise to over 3,000.
In partnership with the aged care sector, the Commission is to formulate a Serious Incident Response Scheme.
This Scheme is to improve risk management and efficiency of handling and resolving care challenges.
For both resident and care worker alike, as well as the industry at large, the new Commission with its efforts to unify and strengthen are likely to build trust and consistency.
For all of us in the aged care industry, standing together means a surer footing, better care and unified progress.
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