Aged care to get new quality comparisons

Aged care facilities will be able to compare their accreditation performance against regional and national benchmarks under a new system coming online next month, the quality agency chief says.

Aged care facilities will be able to compare their accreditation performance against regional and national benchmarks under a new system coming online next month.

The changes will see accreditation surveyors using a new “computer assisted audit tool” containing standard descriptors for meeting the 44 standards, says Nick Ryan, CEO of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.

For the first time, the “innovative” software will enable providers and the agency to see the extent to which facilities meet standards, he said.

“It will make us more transparent and efficient, and it means we’re not paying our surveyors to sit and write free text reports anymore,” Mr Ryan told the Leading Age Services Australia NSW state conference yesterday.

The system would provide a “much richer industry database about variable performance” enabling facilities to compare themselves against other services in a region or nationally, he said.

Consumer views of quality

In other changes, older people choosing residential aged care will soon have a greater sense of how residents feel about a facility through a new standardised tool.

Seniors comparing aged care facilities on My Aged Care will see how 10 to 15 per cent of randomly selected residents in a home responded to a set of questions, Mr Ryan told the Sydney audience.

The agency currently interviews up to 60,000 residents a year but has not had a standardised approach to those interviews, he said.

The 10-question format with two open-ended questions were developed with La Trobe University’s Australian Institute for Primary Care and Ageing.

The questions residents will be asked are:

  1. Do the staff treat you with respect?
  2. Do you feel safe here?
  3. Do staff meet your healthcare needs?
  4. How often do staff follow up when you raise things with them?
  5. Do the staff explain things to you?
  6. If I’m feeling a bit sad or worried, there are staff here who I can talk to.
  7. The staff know what they are doing.
  8. The place is well run.
  9. I am encouraged to do as much as possible for myself.
  10. Would you say you like the food here?
  11. What would you say was the best thing about this home?
  12. What is one thing you would suggest as an improvement at this home?

A “visual analogue” has been developed to enable residents with reduced cognitive or language capacity to answer the questions about their experience in the home, Mr Ryan said.

Re-accreditation reports would also be written using more plain language and with greater consumer-friendly information, while links to the reports from My Aged Care would be strengthened, he said.

Move to single quality framework

Elsewhere, Mr Ryan said the move next year to a single quality framework across residential and community aged care was a “big transition” for the sector.

The agency would be providing extensive new guidance material, industry education and advice on the changes, he said

“It’s a significant piece of work for us,” he said.

The changes announced by the agency come as a new review gets underway into aged care accreditation following the failures at the Oakden facility.

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Tags: aged care quality, Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, leading-age-services-australia, nick-ryan, oakden,

2 thoughts on “Aged care to get new quality comparisons

  1. Great work Nick Ryan and your agency – the providers can compare that they all received the tick and met the 44 standards whilst failings such as TriCare; Oakden; Martindale that are the tip of the iceberg (there are so many more) allow a high number of providers to provide sub standard care to our most vulnerable citizens.

    Providers cut staff hours; provide inappropriate skill mix often breaching professional standards so arrogantly placing residents and staff at risk of harm; this is Elder Abuse of the worst kind.

    Those residents; relatives and staff that dare to speak up are summarily dismissed, with the stock standard provider answer we have passed accreditation – nothing to see here. There evidence shows otherwise – there is much to see if you have the will or perhaps skill to look to below the top layer at the announced visits.

    How many horror stories does it take?

  2. How amusing to see Mr Ryan promoting transparency. I doubt the AACQA has the stomach to publish anything of substance and certainly nothing specific. Expect some vague and homogenised graphs of met standards grouped by state. And why won’t the public get to see it?

    By the way, it’s 2017: what are we to make of an agency that thinks going digital is newsworthy? (Cue images of one-finger typist assessors with low batteries because they left the charger at the office). My Nan getting an iPad for Xmas is a much bigger story.

    This is a lame attempt at distraction from their systemic failures.There’s no mention of improved methodology or increased scrutiny. But then again, as Bill said, you need to have the skill and the will to do things properly.

    It’s probably time to revoke YOUR accreditation.

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