Why getting to the crux of compliance issues is imperative

A root cause analysis approach is critical to successful management within the aged care space.

A root cause analysis approach is critical to successful management within the aged care space.

Root cause analysis (RCA) is a structured approach to identifying the underlying causes of system breakdowns in incident management and investigation. This process is particularly important in the aged care sector, as it aids organisations to understand and solve problems, address potential failures in their systems and processes, and ultimately improve the care and safety of older adults.

Despite its importance, RCA is often not implemented effectively in the aged care sector. One of the main reasons for this is the high turnover of staff, many of whom have no experience in incident management and investigation. Without adequate knowledge and tools, clinical and facility managers may struggle to analyse incidents in a thorough, fair, efficient, and independent manner. This can lead to unfavorable outcomes for consumers and their representatives, staff, and the organisation as a whole.

It is imperative that all managers within an aged care setting know how to effectively manage and mitigate incidents of risk. Incidents, whether they are minor or major, can have a significant impact on the individuals involved, the organisation, and its stakeholders. Effective incident management and mitigation may minimise the negative consequences, prevent recurrence, and ultimately improve the overall performance of the organisation. It is crucial for maintaining the safety and quality of clinical operations, meeting regulatory and legislative obligations, and ultimately protecting the viability and reputation of the organisation.

A key aspect of RCA is data analysis to identify patterns and trends. This includes reviewing incident reports, conducting interviews with staff and other parties, and analysing statistics from electronic health records and other systems. By utilizing available data and performing in-depth analysis, organisations can identify patterns and trends, and better understand the underlying causes of incidents. This insight assists in developing effective solutions that can be implemented and monitored. Subsequent evaluation of the success, or otherwise, of mitigating strategies is a crucial component of the process.

A systematic and impartial approach to RCA is critical. Including the use of a standard RCA methodology, such as the ‘5 Whys’ or ‘Fishbone’ diagrams, assists to identify root causes. Organisations must ensure that their RCA process is independent from bias, and that any findings and recommendations are based solely on dissection and analysis of data.

To implement effective incident management in the aged care sector, managers should be provided with the necessary knowledge and tools. This can include mentoring, education and training on best practice, as well as access to specialised software and other tools designed to assist with RCA. Additionally, managers should be encouraged to involve key stakeholders, including consumers and their representatives, staff, and other relevant parties, in the investigation process. Managers with these skills are better equipped to respond quickly and effectively to incidents, minimising the potential harm and impact on consumers and the organisation, and maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements. Organisations that are responsive and proactive in addressing incidents of risk are more likely to be viewed positively by stakeholders, including consumers, employees, and regulatory bodies. 

In line with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC), Health Generation utilises a RCA approach when investigating incidents or systemic problems occurring within an organisation, and believe it is a key aspect of effective incident management and risk mitigation. Our approach emphasises the importance of identifying and addressing the root cause of incidents, encouraging the use of collaborative and systemic techniques to better understand contributing causes, and developing effective strategies to prevent reoccurrence.

Health Generation believe that effective incident management, with a sound understanding of root causes, is critical to maintaining an organisation’s compliance with regulatory requirements and facilitating exceptional aged care delivery. We are a team passionate about effecting positive, lasting improvement to our aged care industry, and support this passion by partnering with providers in that space to give them the tools they need to succeed.

Ella Turner

Fixing compliance issues at their source to avoid recurrence is the focus of Health Generation’s clinical team, and championed by Clinical Consulting Services Coordinator, Ella Turner.

Contact one of our passionate Client Partners to discuss how Health Generation can assist in positioning your home to ensure longevity and sustainability of operations, whilst delivering exceptional aged care services.

Visit healthgen.io, or call 1300 909 916.