Aged care facilities are now being surveyed about infection control practices and vaccination rates among staff and residents during compliance monitoring visits, according to the sector’s quality regulator.

The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency is conducting a sector-wide review of residential aged care services’ infection control practices and preparedness to respond to influenza and gastroenteritis outbreaks.

The review is taking place from late October and throughout November.

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt ordered the “urgent review” into the infectious disease management practices and vaccination rates of all aged care facilities on 3 September following an increase in flu-related deaths in residential aged care over Winter (read that story here).

The quality agency said the initiative introduced a new survey of residential aged care homes to collect information about infection control practices including:

  • staff and care recipient vaccination rates
  • infection control planning, management and review
  • monitoring and reporting of influenza and gastroenteritis outbreaks
  • training in relation to infection control and outbreak management

Australian Aged Care Quality Agency CEO Nick Ryan said the review would provide valuable data to the agency and better inform future visits to facilities.

“When visiting a home, we will be able to ensure our focus is on the areas of greatest risk to safety, health and wellbeing of care recipients of services,” Mr Ryan said.

“Effective infection control practices in residential aged care services are an important part of ensuring quality of care for older Australians,” he said.

The survey will be undertaken under existing quality agency compliance monitoring functions against the accreditation standards.

A summary report on infection control management practices will be published on the agency’s website.

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1 Comment

  1. I’ve just completed our survey response; a farcical batch of generic ‘lie-to-me’ questions that rely on the often questionable integrity of self-reporting.

    Shouldn’t the AACQA already have this data, gleaned from their rigorous assessment of quality standards over thousands of accreditation visits?

    They either haven’t been looking in the right places or just simply haven’t bothered to collate any meaningful data.

    Regardless, it’s obvious that nobody really cares about specific infection rates, the prevalence of C.diff or MRSA, wound management, inappropriate use of antibiotics or staff that don’t even bother to change their gloves, let alone wash their hands?

    This is a toothless knee-jerk response to a particularly nasty flu season that will do nothing to improve infection control standards in aged care.

    I’ve long accepted that government agencies have no genuine interest in raising the standard of aged care; that’s up to us…but I’m getting tired of being treated like we’re a stupid as they are.

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