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New Risk-Based Questions for Residential Aged Care Providers

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When Quality Assessors from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) conduct a performance assessment of a residential aged care provider, they begin by asking a set of standard risk-based questions. These questions were updated in mid-October 2021. This means that the ACQSC has changed the way it conducts assessments and the information that it requires you to provide.

Today, we explain the changes and give you some tips to help you prepare for a performance assessment. (For more information on the key documents that the Quality Assessors will require, see the ACQSC’s Initial documents requested during performance assessments in residential services.)

 

Overview of the Changes

 

 

Original Questions

Updated Oct 2021

1

Have there been any adverse findings by another regulatory agency or oversight body in the last 12 months? (e.g. Healthcare complaints commission or similar, Food safety authority, Workcover, etc).

 

No changes. This question still applies.

2

What trends do your complaints data show you?

 

No changes. This question still applies.

3

How many consumers are receiving pressure area care?

 

No changes. This question still applies.

4

Have there been any medication incidents in the past 6 months where a consumer required hospitalisation or attention by a medical officer?

 

No changes. This question still applies.

5

How many consumers have had falls and required medical attention in the past 3 months?

 

No changes. This question still applies.

6

How many consumers at the service are currently receiving psychotropic medications? (To be captured as a rate or percent of total consumers at the service.) How many consumers are restrained in order to manage risks to themselves or others at the service? (To be captured as a rate or percent of total consumers at the service.)

 

How many consumers at the service are currently subject to restrictive practices? (Prompt for a separate answer for chemical restraints, mechanical restraints, environmental restraints, physical restraints and seclusion)

 

7

Can you tell me about incidents in the past 6 months where a consumer or staff member has required medical attention as a result of challenging behaviour from a consumer?

 

Describe incidents (past 6 months) where a consumer or staff member required medical attention and/or psychological treatment as a result of challenging behaviour from another consumer; was a behaviour management plan implemented?

 

8

What action has the service taken to assess and minimise infection-related risks for the care of aged care consumers including the impact of a potential coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?

 

No changes. This question still applies.

 

Key changes

 

Question 6: Restrictive Practices

This question has been updated to bring it into line with the recent changes to restrictive practices terminology and requirements. For more information on the new restrictive practices requirements, see our previous article.

 

Question 7: Incidents Resulting from Challenging Behaviour

In the past, the Quality Assessors would only ask about incidents that led to a consumer or staff member requiring medical attention. Now they will ask you about incidents that led to a consumer or staff member requiring medical attention and/or psychological treatment. They will also ask if a behaviour management plan was implemented.

 

Next Steps for Residential Aged Care Providers

Preparation is the key to a successful performance assessment. But how do you prepare for something that could happen at any moment without warning? The simple, but difficult answer is that you always need to be prepared.

This involves a shift in mindset. To sustainably manage assessments, you need to change your thinking from reactive to proactive; from the panicked “compliance scramble” done every now and then to the steady “compliance system” maintained every day.

In practice, you can do this by using the standard questions as part of your own management operational review and monitoring processes. By discussing and using the questions and the list of evidence that needs to be made available, you can ensure that key personnel have a general familiarity with the key issues and can easily access more detailed information when they need it. This will also ensure that, as a team, you use this information to identify areas for improvement in your operational systems.

With regard to the latest changes, ensure that you are prepared by asking:

  • Have staff been trained and systems updated to meet the latest restrictive practices terminology and requirements?
  • Do incident management systems record incidents resulting in psychological treatment? Do these records note the existence and implementation of behaviour management plans?

More information about the risk-based questions is available on the ACQSC’s risk-based questions webpage.

 

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