Sector must abide by new code of conduct from 1 December

The long-awaited code of conduct for the aged care industry comes into play from Thursday.

The long-awaited code of conduct for the aged care industry comes into play from Thursday 1 December.

Recommended by the aged care royal commission, and based on the Disability Insurance Scheme Code of Conduct, the Code of Conduct for Aged Care has been introduced to improve the safety, health and wellbeing for people receiving aged care as well as to restore public trust in services.

The code demands a suitable standard of conduct from:

  • aged care providers
  • aged care workers
  • governing persons, such as board members and CEOs.

It applies to residential aged care, home care and flexible care services, including the Transition Care Program, the Multi-Purpose Services Program and the Short-Term Restorative Program.

In all, the code consists of eight clauses. Among them, individuals must pledge to:

  • act with respect for people’s rights to freedom of expression, self-determination and decision-making in accordance with applicable laws and conventions
  • act in a way that treats people with dignity and respect, and values their diversity
  • act with respect for the privacy of people
  • provide care, supports and services in a safe and competent manner, with care and skill
  • act with integrity, honesty and transparency
  • take all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to all forms of violence, discrimination, exploitation, neglect, abuse and sexual misconduct.
Libby Lyons

In response to the code’s introduction, chair of the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council Libby Lyons said: “This new national Code of Conduct reinforces the expectations of aged care providers, their employees, management teams and board members, and will improve the safety and quality of care for older people receiving care.”

She added: “It means treating all people with dignity and respect, valuing their privacy and at all times acting in the best interests and care of the individual. In practice it means acting promptly to respond to concerns, and to provide care and support free from discrimination, exploitation, neglect and abuse.”

Compliance and enforcement

Compliance of the code will be monitored and enforced by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. Enforcement actions may include banning or restricting individuals from working in the aged care sector.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner will be able to respond to breaches of the code in various ways, including:

  • discussing the non-compliance in person or by other means
  • requesting information or documents from any person
  • carrying out an investigation
  • take any other action that is considered reasonable in the circumstances.

Striking a balance between compliance and enforcement is key, said Ms Lyons. “Success will depend on the commission being able to strike a balance between encouraging compliance to protect older people from harmful behaviour, and the sensible enforcement of punitive measures. Getting this balance right will be vital in our quest to retain and attract staff to the sector.”

A draft guide to the Code of Conduct has been made available for aged care workers and governing persons.

There is also a question and answer document on the Aged Care Reforms webpage that features responses to questions about the code raised by providers, workers and peak bodies during previously held webinars.

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Tags: aged care quality and safety commission, code of conduct,

1 thought on “Sector must abide by new code of conduct from 1 December

  1. Another well-intentioned idea mangled by the commission. Their helpful guide is 66 pages long. I bet aged care employees cant wait to cuddle up at night with this tome…right after they get through the 196 page quality standards guide and 74 pages of SIRS guidelines (plus revisions and amendments)

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