Providers should consider tweaking their existing processes to suit the new monthly care statement requirements for aged care residents, writes JC Yap.

From July 2022, providers will be required to provide monthly care statements to their residents and appropriate representatives. This measure is part of the Morrison Government’s aged care reform plan in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. It was announced in the 2021- 22 Federal Budget.

The care statements aim to provide consumers more transparency on the services they have received during the period, aligning with a more consumer-centric model. This empowers consumers to play an active role in determining and directing their care services to meet their individual goals, needs and preferences.

JC Yap

These statements enable an exchange of efforts to support consumers’ interests where they are supported to become more informed decision-makers.

Moreover, this would fall in line with the Aged Care Quality Standards (standard 2(3)(d)) to ensure outcomes of assessment and planning are effectively communicated, documented and readily available to residents.

The requirement states that providers must outline the care their consumers have received during the month, including any significant changes or events. Residential aged care services would already have embedded processes in place to monitor consumers’ needs such as ‘resident of the day’ and regular care plan reviews.

Rather than creating a completely new and separate process for the monthly care statements, service providers could consider tweaking their existing monitoring processes to suit the new requirement.

Resident of the day initiatives and care plan reviews are commonplace in the sector. Traditionally, resident of the day, which is also called ROD, is usually done once a month with each resident and care plan reviews take place every three months at a minimum.

Outcomes of these reviews, including a brief outline of the care plan could be pulled together into a single document in a language that consumers can understand.

These care statements must include a snapshot summary of the residents’ care plan, and should also include information such as, but not limited to:

  • allied health reviews and interventions that occurred
  • doctors and specialist reviews
  • engagement and participation in leisure and lifestyle programs
  • case conferences
  • changes in care needs
  • incidents that occurred during the month.

This information would already be captured in the existing documentation systems of the service. The ability to extract and collate information through an agile software program is crucial for  services to be able to adapt to the ever-changing requirements in residential aged care.

Hopefully, this additional requirement stimulates discussions on exploring co-design and identifying better practice strategies and tools for engaging with consumers.

Without a doubt, aged care is changing hard and fast. This requirement will only be one of many that will inevitably come. It begs the question: how can we as providers navigate our way through these reforms and what can we do to adapt?

JC Yap is the executive general manager of residential services at Menarock LIFE. He is a registered nurse, who specialises in aged care with qualifications in clinical nursing, gerontology, dementia care and training and assessment.

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