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    Guidance on the draft Aged Care Quality Standards

    The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency is working with consumers, providers and other key stakeholders to develop guidance material for the draft single set of quality standards (Aged Care Quality Standards).  The new Aged Care Quality Standards, developed by the Department of Health, will be legislated from July 2018, subject to Government agreement and parliamentary processes, with a 12 month transition period until July 2019.

    The guidance material will assist service providers to comply with the new Aged Care Quality Standards, and will form a new framework for quality surveyors to assess compliance. We are also developing resources to help consumers understand the new Aged Care Quality Standards.

    About the Aged Care Quality Standards

    The Department of Health has drafted the Aged Care Quality Standards in consultation with the aged care sector and members of the public.

    The Aged Care Quality Standards will replace the: Accreditation Standards; Home Care Standards; National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program Quality Framework Standards; and Transition Care Standards. The Aged Care Quality Standards will apply to all aged care services including residential care, home care and flexible care. For more about the Aged Care Quality Standards see the Department of Health website.

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    Developing standards guidance material – for providers

    The Quality Agency is working to produce guidance material to support the implementation of the new Aged Care Quality Standards and to assist organisations to comply with them. This guidance material will include information for service providers about how the new standards will be measured. We are also developing information for consumers (see Developing standards information resources – for consumers) to help them to understand the new standards, know what to expect, and what to do if their expectations are not being met. 

    The guidance material will set clear expectations about the quality of care and services required of service providers. It will assist service providers to understand the intent of each standard supporting strategies for action, some reflective questions and examples of evidence that could be used to demonstrate their performance against the standards.

    The guidance material will also include sections that provide case-studies, relationship to other standards, references for service types, and additional information, such as consumer resources.

    The Quality Agency engages with providers, industry experts and specific subject-matter experts to review the content of guidance materials.  Since the release of the draft Standards by the Department of Health in January 2018, we have broadened this consultation. For more details on our consultation arrangements, including the Standards Guidance Reference Group, see Consultation Process below.

    The guidance material is also being edited by professional writers to ensure readability, measurability and clarity.

    Developing standards information resources – for consumers

    To increase consumers’ understanding of quality and how it relates to their care, the Quality Agency is working with consumers to develop appropriate, accessible and consumer-driven information to support the implementation of the new Aged Care Quality Standards. This includes conducting consumer workshops and consulting with the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) Consumer Forum and their constituent networks, and other key stakeholders.

    The consumer resources will provide information about the practical application of the quality standards, accreditation process, guidance material and required consumer outcomes.  They will show what consumers can expect, and what they can do if these outcomes are not being met.

    The Quality Agency is consulting to identify the communication channels and formats consumers use and understand, and build on existing knowledge of consumers’ priorities around quality in care. Consultation will be held through focus groups, one-to-one conversations with consumers from different regions, via emailed questionnaires and via consumer peak body networks.

    These consultations will include consumers living with dementia, consumers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, consumers from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities, and vulnerable consumers and their advocates

    Work has also commenced on developing Indigenous-specific consumer resources. Further to advice from NACA Consumer Forum Indigenous representatives, the Quality Agency is seeking to undertake guided consultations within local Indigenous communities regarding their information needs regarding the new standards.

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    Standards Guidance Development and Implementation Phases

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    Consultation Process

    The Quality Agency is actively consulting with stakeholders to help develop and refine the draft guidance material for the Aged Care Quality Standards.  This includes via:

    • the Standards Guidance Reference Group. For detailed information and communiques relating to this Group’s work, please link to our Standards Guidance Reference Group page
    • the Quality Advisory Group (a subcommittee of NACA)
    • Health-related specialists, and other subject matter and academic experts
    • Quality Agency events such as Better Practice Conferences and provider workshops
    • the Quality Agency Liaison Group.

    The Quality Agency is also inviting providers to participate in our Pilot process – link here for details. You may provide feedback via the email address qualityagencypolicy@aacqa.gov.au  

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    How you can be involved

    Our section Consultation process details some of the groups and forums where the aged care sector has been involved in consultations on the draft guidance material.

    We are also asking for people to be involved via our Pilot process – link here for details.

    The draft Aged Care Quality Standards and guidance material will be published on the Quality Agency website in early May 2018 and open to public comment for a period of four weeks.

    To stay up to date with the latest news, subscribe to our monthly Quality Standard newsletter.

    You can also register for updates/announcements about the development of guidance material related to the Aged Care Quality Standards via our Subscribe to Quality Agency policy updates form.

    If you would like further information on how to be involved, please email qualityagencypolicy@aacqa.gov.au.

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    More information

    For more information about the Aged Care Quality Standards see the Department of Health website.

    For more information about how to be involved, see How you can be involved.

    Link back to top to peruse our main menu relating to the draft standards guidance material for providers, and consumer resources.

    You are also welcome to email your inquiries to qualityagencypolicy@aacqa.gov.au

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