Aged care facilities will no longer be given advance notice of the date of their re-accreditation audit nor of the members of the assessment team following the update to aged care quality legislation.
The move to unannounced audits only was flagged by Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt in October last year when he released the Carnell-Paterson review of quality regulation, which recommended the change (read our backgrounder here).
The reform was enacted by the “unannounced reaccreditation audits” amendment under the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency Act 2013 last Friday.
“These changes will strengthen the oversight of aged care services to provide greater assurance that standards of care are consistently maintained, not just at re-accreditation times,” Mr Wyatt said.
The introduction of unannounced accreditation audits by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency is in addition to existing unannounced compliance monitoring.
The new reforms also include:
- tighter profiling of homes to identify potential care and safety risks
- self-assessment of performance prior to the audit
- improved avenues for resident and family feedback
The new arrangements apply to all residential care services applying for re-accreditation from 1 July this year with an accreditation expiring on or after 1 January 2019.
They do not apply to providers already advised of their re-accreditation audit date or to services whose accreditation expires before 1 January 2019.
The introduction of unannounced re-accreditation audits will change the re-accreditation process including with regards to reminder notices, the application itself, notifying residents and their representatives before and during the audit and the feedback process.
In addition to not receiving advance notice of the date of the audit nor the members of the assessment team, providers will no longer be given the report of major findings on the last day of the audit. Providers will receive the full audit report within seven days of the audit.
The quality agency is planning to deliver a series of information sessions for providers in May and June to explain the changes and how the agency will conduct re-accreditation audits from July.
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