The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is now the single regulator of aged care services and the primary point of contact for aged care providers and consumers for quality and safety matters.

Recently passed aged care legislation amendments, which took effect on 1 January this year, see the following functions transitioned from the Department of Health to the quality and safety commission:

  • approval of all residential and home care providers
  • aged care compliance activity including prudential operations
  • the administration of compulsory reporting of assaults by approved providers.
Janet Anderson

These new roles build on the one-year-old commission’s existing responsibilities for complaints and the accreditation, assessment and monitoring of aged care services.

The quality and safety commission’s additional functions and responsibilities enact recommendations from the Carnell Paterson review of regulatory processes to create a one-stop shop for regulation and strengthen regulatory oversight of the sector.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson said the commission now had a broader range of tools to drive improvements in aged care consumer experience and care outcomes.

“The commission has an important role to play in holding aged care providers to account for the provision of such care, as required under the Aged Care Quality Standards.

“We complement this role through our work in promoting consumer engagement, providing information and education, and seeking to resolve complaints about aged care providers,” Ms Anderson said.

New rule for popular antipsychotic

Restrictions for repeat prescriptions of the antipsychotic drug Risperidone also came into effect on 1 January.

The reform, which is part of the Government’s response to the aged care royal commission’s interim report, aims to reduce the use of chemical restraint in residential aged care.

Under the new rule, doctors need to apply for additional approval if the medication is required for longer than 12 weeks.

Richard Colbeck

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck said the government was also developing education resources for prescribers to support the appropriate use of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines in aged care.

“The royal commission identified an over-reliance on chemical restraint as a priority concern in aged care and the Government has taken this action among other measures to ensure senior Australians receive the care they expect and deserve,” Mr Colbeck said.

He said investment in compliance and preventive actions will be undertaken as and when required.

“But it is important that the key long-term challenges investigated by the royal commission are explored thoroughly to ensure the development of a sturdy response and recommendations for future reform.”

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