The first part of our “How to Manage Aged Care Assessment Contacts” provided an overview of Assessment Contacts and focused on practical tips to help you prepare for the entry meeting. If you haven’t read that article already, or think you might need a refresher on the process or terminology, Part 1 is available here.
This article focuses on how you can use your human resources to manage Assessment Contacts. We’ll outline the roles and responsibilities of the different teams that operate in an aged care home and provide some practical tips on how these teams can work independently and together to ace Assessment Contacts and ensure quality care for consumers.
Teams that Operate in an Aged Care Home
- Governing Body – sets and monitors the strategic priorities for the home, keeping an eye on the big picture to make sure all systems and staff are working together to deliver the best quality care to consumers.
- Management Team – runs the daily operations of the home, maintaining records, organising and overseeing frontline staff, and often performing frontline tasks themselves.
- Frontline Staff – often referred to just as “staff” or “the workforce”, this team includes everyone else who works at the home, from nurses and carers to cleaners and cooks.
Governing Body: Your Role in Managing Assessment Contacts
The Governing Body have specific responsibilities under the Aged Care Quality Standards (Quality Standards). In particular, Standard 8 requires the Governing Body to engage with consumers, promote a safe and inclusive culture and put governance systems in place. The Governing Body is also where “the buck stops”, so they have an overarching responsibility to ensure that systems are in place to meet all the Quality Standards.
What is the role of the Governing Body when it comes to Assessment Contacts? We covered this in detail in our article How to Meet Your Aged Care Governance Obligations Part 1: Organisational Governance. For now it’s worth noting that:
- Governing Body members are not required to participate in Assessment Contacts but, according to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC), Assessors would be happy to hear from them.
- As part of the Assessment Contact, Assessors can attend Board meetings and management meetings to obtain information or discuss requirements or key issues.
- Assessors may want to examine documents produced by the Governing Body, such as reports and strategic plans.
- Assessors may also want to know what documents the Governing Body has looked at (or not looked at) and how they’ve responded. Has the Governing Body seen an adverse incident report recently? If so, what did they do about it? If not, why not?
- Governing Bodies set the organisation-wide strategy for managing Assessment Contacts and provide support to staff who deal with Assessment Contacts on the ground.
Managing Assessment Contacts: Practical Tips for the Governing Body
Management Team: Your Role in Managing Assessment Contacts
While the Governing Body are keeping an eye on the big picture, the Management Team must do the detailed preparation for Assessment Contacts. This includes:
- completing and updating Self-Assessments
- updating the PCI
- training frontline staff.
The Management Team also plays the key role in dealing with Assessment Contacts on the day, particularly in regard to the entry meeting. For tips on dealing with the entry meeting, see part 1 of this series.
Managing Assessment Contacts: Practical Tips for the Management Team
Frontline Staff: Your Role in Managing Assessment Contacts
When Assessors arrive at a home, frontline staff may be involved in:
- guiding Assessors around the home
- informing consumers and their representatives of the Assessment Contact
- introducing Assessors to consumers and facilitating Assessors’ interviews with consumers
- providing documents and other evidence to Assessors
- answering questions from Assessors.
Although it’s the frontline staff who will carry out many of these tasks, it’s the Management Team who are responsible for training and supervising staff, so these practical tips are pitched at the Management Team.
Managing Assessment Contacts: Practical Tips for the Management Team Regarding Frontline Staff
Conclusion: Organisational Cohesion is the Key to Managing Assessment Contacts
If there’s a single theme running through all the practical tips above, it’s this: managing Assessment Contacts is a team effort. And in an organisation as big and complex as an aged care home, effective teamwork can’t happen ad hoc. Platitudes about “working together” aren’t enough – to really prepare your people for an Assessment Contact you need regular meetings, document control, consistent training, easy-to-use feedback systems and a clear, pro-active strategy implemented at every level of the organisation.
About the Authors
Jennifer is a content development assistant in our Sydney Office. She recently graduated from the Juris Doctor, from the University of Sydney and completed her final semester at the University of Vienna. After completing an undergraduate degree in the field of medical sciences at Sydney University, and commencing an honours in neuroscience, she decided that path wasn’t for her. She is now convinced about her passion for the law, and has experience assisting in a variety of legal matters from commercial law, including litigation, to family law.
Mark is a Legal Research Consultant at CompliSpace. Mark has worked as a Legal Policy Officer for the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department and the NSW Department of Justice. He also spent three years as lead editor for the private sessions narratives team at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Arts/Law from the Australian National University with First Class Honours in Law, a Graduate Diploma in Writing from UTS and a Graduate Certificate in Film Directing from the Australian Film Television and Radio School.