Infection Control Spot Checks in Residential Aged Care: What Providers Need to Know

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) is stepping up its program of infection control spot checks of residential aged care homes.

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What ACE Readers had to Say: The Aged Care Quality Standards One Year On

Last week CompliSpace released the Aged Care Impact Report – One Year On. The Report revealed that the burden of adjusting to the new Aged Care Quality Standards and also coping with a once in 100-year pandemic are straining the aged care sector, putting staff retention at risk and pointing to reduced capacity to care for residents.

In today’s article we summarise the findings and recommendations of the Report, and link to some of the media coverage that it’s received. We also include a short survey at the end of the article.

Request the Impact Report

 

About the Aged Care Impact Report – One Year On

The Report sets out the findings of the Aged Care Quality Standards 1 Year On: Have Your Say (Anonymously) survey. This survey was distributed to Aged Care Essentials (ACE) subscribers on 30 June 2020 and closed on 10 July 2020.

  • There were 154 responses to the survey from respondents representing over 250 services (or approximately 10% of the 2,717 services provided in Australia as at 30 June 2019).
  • Survey responses were anonymous, but provided demographic information that indicated that most respondents were managers of small residential aged care homes across Australia.
  • The survey asked about the impact of the Aged Care Quality Standards and COVID-19.

 

Key Findings of the Report

Residential aged care providers’ systems and processes have been significantly impacted by COVID-19

  • 82% of aged care homes have had to change their policies and procedures because of COVID-19.
  • 85% have had to change their systems and processes for managing staff training.
  • 59% have had to change their systems and processes for collecting and reporting on data.

 

Impact of the new Aged Care Quality Standards on workloads and stress

  • 92% of aged care managers have endured an increased workload since the introduction of the Aged Care Quality Standards.
  • 78% of aged care managers have endured an increase in stress levels.Aged Care Impact Report - One Year On_ Infographic_Page_133-2

 

Impact of the new Aged Care Quality Standards on systems and processes

  • 88% of aged care homes have had to change their “policies and procedures” systems.
  • 83% have had to change their systems and processes for collecting and reporting on data.
  • 76% have had to change their systems and processes for managing staff training.

Aged Care Impact Report - One Year On_ Infographic_Page_1555

 

Outcomes and enforcement

  • 58% of aged care homes had experienced a visit from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) ’s assessors since the new system was introduced on 1 July 2019.
  • 51% of assessments resulted in a finding of “All Standards met” and fewer than 4% resulted in sanctions.
  • 41% of homes who had experienced reaccreditation under the new Aged Care Quality Standards said it was harder than in the past.

Aged Care Impact Report - One Year On_ Infographic_Page_211-1

Conclusions

The Report concluded that:Recommendations

  • staff retention is at risk
  • there’s inadequate funding
  • the administrative burden imposed by the Aged Care Quality Standards may be undermining the quality of care
  • the impact of the Aged Care Quality Standards has not been fully assessed.

 

Recommendations

The Report made a number of key recommendations.

  • Due to the immediate and serious threat to staff retention in the residential aged care industry and the limited information available about the impact of the Aged Care Quality Standards, the Report recommends that a comprehensive, independent review of the impact of the Aged Care Quality Standards on residential aged care homes and consumers be conducted as soon as possible.
  • The review should be done in consultation with aged care providers, peak industry bodies, consumers and other key stakeholders.
  • The review should make recommendations about how the Aged Care Quality Standards can be improved and how aged care homes can be supported (including financially supported) to manage the impacts of the Aged Care Quality Standards.

 

Media Coverage of the Report

*This article is behind a paywall.

 

Aged Care Providers and the ACQSC are on the Same Side!

As some of the headlines above show, some articles focused on the more negative findings of the Report. It is important to remember though that fundamentally aged care providers and the ACQSC are on the same side. Both share the same goal: to ensure that consumers receive quality care. And the ACQSC has provided numerous resources to help aged care managers, including fact sheets, webinars and videos.

Many survey respondents remarked that they understand the value of and supported the new Aged Care Quality Standards. Their challenge was the lack of funding to help them obtain the resources needed to meet the Standards. And they want to feel supported in achieving those Standards, rather than feeling targeted for “not mets” when visited by assessors.

The need for aged care services will only grow over time, as our population ages. The need for experienced, aged care managers will only increase. Right now, the Report is showing that aged care managers are overworked and stressed. So, the question is, how can we better support aged care managers so that they want to continue the work that so many of them are passionate about?

 

Tell Us What You Think

We wanted to give residential aged care managers the opportunity to tell us how they would like to be better supported. If you are a residential aged care manager/executive/leader and would like to have your say, click below to access the short, anonymous survey:

Access the Survey

 

Mark Bryan
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Mark Bryan
Mark is a Legal Research Consultant at CompliSpace and the editor for ACE. 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.

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