Aged care providers need to lift their game when it comes to governance, according to the latest sector performance report.
Released Tuesday by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, the report shows that, during 1 July to 30 September 2023, quality standard eight – organisational governance – had the lowest rate of compliance across both the home care and residential aged care sectors.
“Provider governance remains an issue of concern for the commission,” writes Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson in the report’s introduction. “This is worrying because we know that poor governance leads to poor clinical care, more complaints and more serious incidents.”
Meanwhile, home care providers recorded much lower compliance rates than residential aged care providers with only 63 per cent of services being found to be fully compliant with the quality standards – a drop from a high of 71 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2022-23.
As well, while compliance with quality standard three – personal care and clinical care – has increased across the residential sector, it has fallen in home care services. “These concerning trends warrant specific attention and action by home services providers,” say the report’s authors.
Analysing Serious Incident Response Scheme data, the report’s authors find neglect notifications are over-represented in home care settings where they account for the largest volume of incident reports. The second largest number of home care notifications relate to stealing and financial coercion. “While some of this increase may well be related to a heightened awareness of this incident type, it could also point to shortcomings in personal and clinical care in some services,” says Ms Anderson. “Clearly, there is more work to do in this important area at the levels of sector, provider and individual services.”
When it comes to complaints, fees, charges and communication complaints account for one in five complaints about home care services. And while complaints about Home Care Packages increased in the third quarter of 2022–23 these have now stabilised.
Ms Anderson concludes her introductory message by saying: “While data is the core of this report, it is only useful if providers consider it carefully and act on it.”
Providers are encouraged to provide feedback on the latest sector performance report by completing a five-minute survey.
Meanwhile, the regulator is hosting workshops to develop a first draft of guidance materials to support providers to implement the revised quality standards when they come into effect alongside the Aged Care Act from 1 July 2024.