Royal Commission Alert

As Australia’s Aged Care sector anticipates a Royal Commission into quality and safety, providers need to prepare for what’s ahead.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care was announced on 16th September 2018, one day before the airing of the ABC’s confronting Four Corners investigation into the aged care sector. The Prime Minister’s announcement provides a context for the Royal Commission, revealing that

"…as a result of the increased audit work [via the 2017 Legislated Review of Aged Care], the Department of Health has closed almost one aged care service per month since Oakden, with an increasing number under sanction to improve their care…"

This Royal Commission aims to proactively determine what is needed to ensure that Australia's high standards and expectations for the quality and safety of aged care services can be met. The media release goes on to predict the Terms of Reference that the Royal Commission will cover:

  • The quality of care provided to older Australians, and the extent of substandard care;

  • The challenge of providing care to Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care, particularly younger people with disabilities;

  • The challenge of supporting the increasing number of Australians suffering dementia and addressing their care needs as they age;

  • The future challenges and opportunities for delivering aged care services in the context of changing demographics, including in remote, rural and regional Australia;

  • Any other matters that the Royal Commission considers necessary.

These “other matters” are likely to put serious issues under scrutiny, such as the types of issues exposed by the Four Corners investigation:

  • Abuse

  • Isolation and neglect

  • Sanitation and hygiene

  • Food quality

  • Restraints usage

  • Care standards

  • Adequacy and performance of management and staff

How can you prepare for the Royal Commission?

Aged Care service providers will benefit by focusing on three key areas:

1. Risk Exposure

Identify any areas of potential risk in your organisation e.g. staffing issues, WHS, regulatory compliance, complaints and grievances. What are your strategies for dealing with these issues?

2. Documentation

Collate any relevant documentation that may be required by the Royal Commission. Do you have an effective record-keeping system to manage important and relevant information?

3. Prevention

There are many proactive steps you can take to ensure you are maintaining a positive workplace culture that emanates high standards of quality and care in your organisation. What values, policies, strategies and training programs have you got in place? Can you implement any proactive changes in the near future?

Being audited on quality, safety, grievances and workplace issues can be stressful for all involved. Many organisations have limited internal resources and cannot afford to redirect their staff away from their day-to-day operations in order to prepare for a Royal Commission. This could expose well-meaning service providers to a number of risks.

WorkPlacePLUS can provide a comprehensive review of all your people issues, processes and practices while you continue with business as usual. If you are already facing complex issues, WorkPlacePLUS can help you proactively address the problems. Our HR team has extensive practical experience working in the Health, Disability and Aged Care sectors.

For more information, please contact us today.

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