The Hub trial will help to lighten the unnecessary administrative burden on aged care staff, so providers can put a greater focus on the safety and wellbeing of care recipients, writes Kevin Andrews.
The Australian Government is committed to reducing the cost of regulation by $1 billion per year and so has joined forces with the aged care industry and the community to create the South Australian Innovation Hub (the Hub) trial.
The Hub trial was developed in consultation with a small group of local providers to help aged care workers provide quality care in exchange for reduced government regulation. A small group allows the trial to more easily identify benefits, costs and risks of the initiative.
By helping to lighten the unnecessary administrative burden on aged care staff, providers can put a greater focus on the safety and wellbeing of care recipients.
The trial will look at offering more efficient assessment of accreditation standards, and more appropriate financial reporting and Aged Care Funding Instrument Reviews.
A consumer engagement strategy is being developed by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency in consultation with Council on the Ageing Australia. The strategy supports providers within the Hub to better engage with consumers in the design, delivery and evaluation of care.
However, there needs to be a healthy balance between regulatory safeguards and support for innovative quality aged care services. Part of the trial is to ensure the wellbeing of people receiving care is protected with these changes.
The trial does not reduce standards and quality of care. The Charter of Residents Rights and Responsibilities will continue to apply to consumers.
Ongoing monitoring through aged care regulatory programs will ensure quality care is being delivered, and regulation processes will apply if a serious risk to care is identified.
The providers’ Boards have also agreed to support Hub activities, and to actively participate in and support the involvement of consumers in their services. This will ensure that quality services are maintained and improved throughout the Hub trial.
An evaluation of the Hub trial will occur in late 2015 and if successful initiatives may be rolled out across Australia.
More information on the Hub trial and participating providers is available on the DSS website.
Kevin Andrews is the Minister for Social Services.