The government has released the final draft of the strengthened aged care quality standards.
Published online Friday by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, the final draft of the strengthened standards includes the intent of each standard, outcome statements – which providers will be assessed against – and a number of actions – which is how providers can demonstrate achievement of the outcome.
Reduced from eight categories to seven, the strengthened quality standards are:
- Standard 1 the person – to reflect concepts about dignity and respect, older person individuality and diversity, independence, choice and control, and culturally safe care
- Standard 2 the organisation – intended to hold the governing body responsible for meeting the requirements of the quality standards and delivering quality care and services
- Standard 3 the care and services – to describe the way providers must deliver care and services for all types of services being delivered
- Standard 4 the environment – to ensure that older people receive care and services in a physical environment that is safe, supportive and meets their needs
- Standard 5 clinical care – describes the responsibilities of providers to deliver safe and quality clinical care to older people
- Standard 6 food and nutrition – to encourage providers to engage with older people about what and how they like to eat and drink, deliver choice and meals that are full of flavour, appetising and nutritious
- Standard 7 the residential community – to ensure older people get services and supports for daily living that optimise their quality of life promote use of their skills and strengths and enable them to do the things they want to do.
Informed through consultation with industry stakeholders last year and piloted by 40 providers earlier this year, the strengthened quality standards have been designed to improve outcomes for older people, particularly in relation to choice, inclusion and quality of life.
Findings from the pilot are currently being evaluated by the commission to test new assessment methodology and to determine how the strengthened standards work in practice.
The commission will share information on the pilot outcomes with the sector early in the new year.
Meanwhile, the regulator is hosting workshops with providers and other stakeholders to develop a first draft of guidance materials to support providers to implement the standards when they come into effect alongside the Aged Care Act from 1 July 2024.
The guidance materials will be released in the new year for broader consultation with people receiving aged care, their carers, providers and peak bodies.
To answer common queries, the commission has also developed a video series Up to Standard. Each episode features answers to questions as well as the latest updates on the strengthened standards.
In episode 1, Tara Pamula – the commission’s executive director education, engagement and communication – discusses when the strengthened aged care standards will commence and the role of the regulator.
Episode 2 explains the standards pilot project.