This article explains the purpose of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. It explores how older people can assert their rights and ensure the quality of the aged care they receive.
The Commission is a Federal Government body with the responsibility to protect older people, promote quality of care and ensure safety. The Commission provides information on the rights of residents, provider accreditation standards and complaint management.
In this article, we will look at the following questions:
- Why do nursing homes often have a bad reputation?
- What is aged care advocacy?
- What is quality assurance in healthcare?
Why does residential aged care often have a bad reputation?
It’s perfectly sensible to feel anxious about aged care. The common belief is that care residences are places to be avoided. Common fears include abuse, boredom, lack of relevant/appropriate care facilities, lack of independence and cost.
The question is whether or not this perception is based on fact, or if it’s just a myth.
In a 2020 report, the Commission found that 84% of respondents had a higher regard for aged care than people who had never visited. The more experience they had with elder care, the better they thought of it. Respondents also felt that “the residents are safe, happy, respected and given good quality food; and that there are enough activities to keep people entertained.”
The reality of aged care is significantly better than the myth.
What is aged care advocacy?
Aged care advocacy is when consumers seek out a third party to make decisions regarding their wellbeing. An advocate can be a family member, friend or professional service.
The advocate ensures your rights are being respected, listens to your concerns and offers you guidance.
- Aid you in raising concerns about your service provider
- Aid you through the complaints process
- Explain avenues for taking action
- Inform decision regarding quality of life
- Inform you of your rights and responsibilities
It is important to remember that an advocate acts entirely at your discretion, and cannot make decisions without your permission.
To organise an advocate, contact the Older Persons Advocacy Network. OPAN provides free, confidential and independent advocacy for older people and their caregivers.
What is quality assurance in healthcare?
The Commission has developed the Aged Care Quality Standards to ensure that providers are held to account and that the dignity of consumers is maintained.
The role of the Commission is to assess government-funded providers against the Standards.
The 8 Aged Care Quality Standards are:
- Consumer dignity and choice: aged care consumers must have their identity, culture and diversity treated with dignity and respect.
- Ongoing assessment and planning: consumers, or advocates, must be allowed to play an active role in treatment planning
- Personal care and clinical care: aged care consumers must receive care that is relevant to their needs.
- Services and supports for daily living: care must enable consumers to fulfil their vision for their life while remaining safe and healthy.
- Organisation’s service environment: aged care consumers must feel safe and comfortable in their provider’s care.
- Feedback and complaints: consumers must be free to provide feedback and make complaints, and have those actions taken seriously.
- Human resources: Providers of aged care must be knowledgeable, competent and attentive.
- Organisational governance: consumers must have confidence in their care provider’s organisational effectiveness.
The Commission makes its provider assessments public. You can use them to decide whether a provider is right for you.
It is important to learn about the Aged Care Quality Standards, and how to find them.
Where to find more information
We strongly encourage you to learn about the rights of older people seeking aged care. Understanding your rights and how to protect them will give you significant peace of mind. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission can be a strong ally for you.