September 2018

New Standards update – A spotlight on Standard 1

This month we profile Standard 1 of the new Aged Care Quality Standards

The Aged Care (Single Quality Framework) Reform Act 2018, which lays the foundation for the introduction of the new Aged Care Quality Standards (the new Standards), was passed by Parliament this month. Subject to further parliamentary processes, the new Standards will soon come into law - and assessment and monitoring against these new Standards will commence from 1 July 2019. 

The new Standards will replace the four existing sets of standards and will apply across all aged care services.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP said the new Standards “herald a new era in certainty and confidence in Australian aged care” and “will intensify quality compliance across residential, home and remote care.”

Minister Wyatt said the new Standards “have a single focus – to protect the rights of senior Australians”. 

He said providers will have “to prove their care and services are safe, effective and customer-centred”.

 “While the overwhelming majority of Australia’s 2,700 aged care providers and 366,000 dedicated staff deliver exceptional care, the new Standards are about ensuring there are no exceptions,” Minister Wyatt said.

Access a copy of the exposure draft of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Single Quality Framework) Principles 2018, which contains the new Standards, via the Department of Health website.

Spotlight on Standard 1:
Consumer dignity and choice 

Standard 1 is a foundation standard. It supports all the other Standards and is essential to providing consumer-centred care. This is a great starting point for providers to open conversations and increase understanding of the intent of the new Standards.

Standard 1 is central to all the other Standards and reflects seven important concepts:

  • Dignity and respect
  • Identity, culture and diversity
  • Cultural safety
  • Choice
  • Dignity of risk (see description below)
  • Information
  • Personal privacy 

Standard 1 reflects seven important concepts, which recognise the importance of a consumer’s sense of self. They also highlight the importance of the consumer being able to act independently, make their own choices and take part in their community. These are all important in fostering social inclusion, health and well-being. 

See our New Standards Guidance and Resources web pages for detailed information on this Standard.

Focus on concept – Dignity of risk
Dignity of risk is about the right of consumers to make their own decisions about their care and services, as well as their right to take risks. Organisations need to take a balanced approach to managing risk and respecting consumer rights. If a consumer makes a choice that is possibly harmful to them, then the organisation is expected to help the consumer understand the risk and how it could be managed. Together, they should look for solutions that are tailored to help the consumer to live the way they choose.

For case studies on this Standard, see our New Standards Guidance and Resources web pages.


New Standards guidance and resources

The Quality Agency has compiled guidance and resources to assist providers to implement and maintain compliance with the Standards. The guidance material describes expectations and provides supporting information, suggested practices, examples and evidence required to ensure compliance. It also provides an indication of the matters that Quality Surveyors will consider in assessing compliance. Access new guidance material on our website and see our Education update: new Standards in this issue of Quality Standard.

The Quality Agency undertook extensive consultation with providers, industry experts and subject-matter experts to inform the development of the guidance materials. We have now published feedback from our consultations. Access Feedback submissions on our web pages.

We have also worked with consumers to develop consumer resources to provide information about the practical application of the Quality Standards, accreditation process, guidance material and required consumer outcomes. Access more about consumer resources on our website.

October webinar – standards guidance material

The Department of Health is holding a webinar on Monday 8 October, 2pm-4pm on My Aged Care as well as the new Aged Care Quality Standards guidance material. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions to representatives from Department of Health and Australian Aged Care Quality Agency. The link will be available shortly via the Department of Health webinar page.

Transitioning to the Standards

Providers are encouraged to use the transition period to:

  • support staff to understand the requirements of the new Standards
  • align their system, policies and practices with the new Standards
  • support consumer and their families, carers and representatives to understand what the changes mean for them.

During the transition period the Quality Agency and the Department of Health will conduct activities to:

  • assist consumers to understand the new arrangements
  • support service providers to implement the new Standards.

From 1 July 2019, the Quality Agency expects that organisations providing aged care services in Australia will be compliant with the new Aged Care Quality Standards.

Further information is available on the Quality Agency website

Also see our Education on the new Standards article this issue.