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Delivering safety and quality in Australia’s aged care system

The Australian Government has delivered a major reform package for quality and safety in aged care.

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck
Former Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services
Former Minister for Sport

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Today the Morrison Government has delivered a major reform package for quality and safety in aged care.

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck said these comprehensive reforms are designed to protect and improve the lives of senior Australians in care.

The Government demonstrates our commitment to continue to improve the aged care system while the Royal Commission proceeds.

“Senior Australians must have choice and flexibility in the care they receive and it should be really easy to understand what they can expect from their aged care service. This is why our Government has delivered these new Aged Care Quality Standards,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Today is the first upgrade to residential aged care standards in 20 years. The new Standards will improve transparency for senior Australians and their families, as well as making regulation clearer for providers.

“The Standards are centred on the needs of senior Australians and provide a solid foundation for providers’ continuous improvement.”

The Standards will apply to all Australian Government funded aged care services including residential care, home care, flexible care and services under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

A new Charter of Aged Care Rights will also take effect today. The new Charter is easy to read and enshrines 14 rights for senior Australians in care.

The Government has also moved to minimise the use of restraints by significantly strengthening the regulations which apply to the use of physical and chemical restraints in aged care homes.

“Senior Australians must be treated with dignity and respect – this is now explicitly set out in our law,” Minister Colbeck said.

“These regulations also mean that restraints must be a last resort. Aged Care providers must now satisfy a number of conditions before physical and chemical restraints can be used.”

Government funded aged care homes will also be required to comply with the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program.

Quality Indicators measure aspects of service provision which contribute to the quality of care for senior Australians and are used by providers as part of continuous improvement.

This program comprises three clinical quality indicators—pressure injuries, use of physical restraint and unplanned weight loss.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, Janet Anderson, said that implementation of the new standards, together with other reforms will  enhance the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life of people receiving aged care funded by the Australian Government.

“The new Standards reflect contemporary best practice and current community views appropriate for all aged care settings,” Ms Anderson said.

These reforms are in addition to the Government’s commitment to lower aged care fees in the home. From 1 July 2019, a new basic daily fee will be set based on the customers home care package level, reducing fees by up to $400 for those on lower packages.

For more information, please visit the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website.


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