The professional organisation for Australia’s general practitioners is seeking feedback on a draft set of voluntary standards for residential aged care facilities to improve the primary care of residents.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has developed Standards for general practice residential aged care (GPRAC) to help remove barriers for GPs delivering care in aged care facilities and bridge gaps not covered by the Aged Care Quality Standards.
The first-of-their kind standards set out essential minimum requirements to support GPs to deliver residents quality and safe care, the importance on each standard and how facilities can meet criteria and indicators.
The five standards cover:
- resident care coordination
- infrastructure, equipment, consultation spaces and treatment room
- information management
- medication management
- qualifications of the residential aged care care team
Standards focus on clinical interface
RACGP president Dr Harry Nespolon said the standards focus on the clinical interface and systems required to support the provision of high-quality care in residential aged care.
“The standards don’t seek to replace existing requirements for aged care accreditation, instead they focus on the elements not covered, which impact on patient care,” Dr Nespolon said.
He said the aged care royal commission has demonstrated that providing clinical care for older people isn’t easy and that improvements are needed.
At the same time, GPs provided over 5.5 million Medicare services in residential aged care facilities in 2018-19, but there are no standards to support them, Dr Nespolon said.
“That must change now and this is why we are developing these standards. The health of our older people and the capacity of our GPs to give them the best quality healthcare is too important for a gap such as this to exist,” he said.
The standards will help improve resident access to primary healthcare, said Dr Louise Acland, chair of the RACGP’s expert committee and working group that developed the standards.
“There are sometimes cases where a resident is admitted or discharged from hospital without notifying the patient’s regular GP,” Dr Acland said.
“It’s vital that when this occurs all relevant information is communicated to the resident’s regular GP so that they can follow up with the resident.”
The draft standards were informed by national and international evidence and comparable national and international standards.
Stakeholders invited to provide feedback
The consultation, which commenced on 8 October, closes on 5 November 2019.
The final standards are expected to be released by October 2020.
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