With Christmas fast approaching, and 2019 not far away, it’s understandable that some Australian aged-care providers might be getting a little nervous about what the new-year holds in store.
Following a series of high profile compliance failures and reports of elder abuse, the aged-care sector’s new-year will kick-off with a Royal Commission. Its objective, among others, is to investigate the quality of care provided by aged-care providers, and the extent of substandard care.
In addition to the Royal Commission, the government is scheduled to introduce a series of regulatory reforms, including the establishment of a new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, the rollout of a new Single Aged Care Quality Framework and Standards, the introduction of more transparent performance benchmarking, and more a thorough complaint-investigations framework.
The new year will also see a significant increase in the number of unannounced accreditation audits; up from 263 in 2018 to 900 in 2019. This includes a greater focus on the quality of care being provided to residents, and less on systems and process compliance.
This fundamental shift in compliance focus is likely to catch a lot of aged-care providers out; especially those that haven’t taken adequate steps to identify and fix compliance gaps in their systems and processes before the new Standards come into effect on the 1st July 2019.
To avoid failing an accreditation audit the government has urged aged-care providers to undertake regular compliance assessments on their systems and performance. This is a simple process: assess how your systems and processes comply and perform against the new standards, then correct any identified gaps.
I’s also important that aged-care providers record the details of the documents, records and data (evidence) they use to assess their compliance, and this information is stored in readily assessable location.
By undertaking regular compliance self-assessments in this way, Australian aged-care providers will be much better prepared to prove their compliance pudding is in the eating, and not just how it might look.
This Christmas please show our senior Australians we care and value them with a visit.