Study the data and act, commissioner tells providers

The quarterly quality performance reports exist to drive improvement in the sector, says Janet Anderson.

Regulatory body chief Janet Anderson urged delegates attending the Aged & Community Care Providers Association’s Queensland conference to study the data compiled by the Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission – particularly its quarterly performance reports. “I really do want you to use that document as a way of seeing yourself more clearly in the context of your peers,” she said.

Included in the reports are the number and types of complaints directed at the residential aged care sector. And while some providers might view the complaints in a negative light, Ms Anderson told delegates at the Gold Coast venue that the commission viewed them differently. “We actually want a healthy, dynamic complaints system where individuals feel very comfortable in raising their concerns with you,” she said.

Addressing the Serious Incident Response Scheme data, Ms Anderson said: “At first reading, and without someone studying it, these look like horrifying statistics.” But when the stats are closely analysed, they’re really not so bad, she added. “When we do the maths, what we find is that, for an average-sized residential service of around 80 occupying beds, there are between one and two serious incidents per month.”

While not quite as an alarming figure as first thought, Ms Anderson told delegates: “It is still a profile that we can all get concerned by. What I want you to do is get concerned and get acting.”

Delegates at ACCPA’s Queensland conference

One area of particular concern – the number of incidents of unreasonable use of force, the majority of which are committed by one resident on another. “That speaks to me about the skills and experience and confidence of staff in de-escalating and knowing the residents and what’s going to trigger them and separating them when there is a risk of harm.”

Turning to the quality indicator data, Ms Anderson said: “There appears to be some favourable trends.” These include reductions in the incidents of unplanned weight loss, falls resulting in major injury, and medication indicators, delegates were told.

Addressing compliance, Ms Anderson told delegates that one-in-seven residential aged care services were still not fully compliant with the commission’s mandatory requirements. Eighty-five per cent of facilities are fully compliant, said Ms Anderson, “which is better than it has been – yay – but we’ve got further way to go.”

Home care data

When scrutinising home care services data, Ms Anderson said the commission found that four-out-of-ten complaints related to communication issues between providers and their clients. “Surprised? Not. What does that say to you if you deliver home services?” she asked.

The commission was also dealing with a lot of complaints concerning fees and charges. “I dream of the day when we are no longer fielding complaints about money,” she said.

Number one on the list of complaints directed against home care providers – lack of consultation. “For that to be the lead issue says a lot to me about the additional work the sector needs to do if you’re delivering home services. How are you drawing clients into the conversation about the planning and delivery of care and how it’s going for them?”

Remedy the problem to fix what is going on

Janet Anderson

When it comes to compliance, Ms Anderson said the levels were below that of residential care. While the latest quarterly report shows an improving trend, “we’ve got a lot further to go.”

In matters of non-compliance, Ms Anderson said the commission expected providers to “remedy the problem to fix what is going on. Then we expect you to engage with those who have been affected by the non-compliance to restore their trust in you and then we expect you to do the necessary analysis to ensure that whatever you need to do to prevent it from happening again is done.”  

Janet Anderson

Studying the SIRS data, neglect remained the number one incident. Ms Anderson told delegates neglect included missed shifts. “We know that is a hazard of delivering home services,” she said.

“But it’s also a hazard for the consumer because if somebody doesn’t turn up and they’re expected to turn up, something doesn’t get done. And if that is something that is important to that individual’s wellbeing, you might be placing them at risk.” Ms Anderson asked delegates what they were going to do to turn “that curve into a correction?”

Reports of elder abuse – often perpetrated by family members – are also “worryingly high”. Ms Anderson urged providers to step up and step in. “Whether it’s talking to another family member or reporting it to the police or whatever you might do.”

In conclusion, Ms Anderson told delegates the rules and obligations existed to ensure a shared outcome is achieved: “We all need and want a thriving aged care sector,” she said. “And I think we’re on the way to that – we’re not there yet, and we may not fully land there, but if we understand that coalescence of drive and ambition, we will achieve a lot together.”

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Tags: ACCPA, ACCPA conference, Aged Care Quality & Safet Commission, Janet Anderson, queensland,

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