Unannounced audits of residential aged care homes

A new era of aged care quality and safety compliance begins on 1 July 2018, as unannounced audits are rolled out across Australia’s almost 2,700 residential aged care homes.


Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said from tomorrow, homes would no longer be given notice of the date of their re-accreditation audit.


“There will be no compromise,” said Mr Wyatt. “Audit teams will arrive at any time, to monitor and ensure the provision of safe, quality care 365 days of the year.


“This is about certainty and confidence for older Australians and families whose loved ones are receiving care.


“Statistics show that, overwhelmingly, Australia’s aged care homes provide outstanding services but our focus must be on maintaining high standards across the board and at all times.”


Mr Wyatt said the Federal Government’s introduction of unannounced audits marked the beginning of a quantum shift in aged care quality compliance and customer-directed care.


“Work is advancing on Australia’s new, independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which begins operations on 1 January 2019,” said Minister Wyatt.


“The recent Federal Budget earmarked more than $32 million for the Commission to intensify compliance and strengthen risk profiling of aged care providers, with the aim of preventing care lapses before they occur.


“The Commission will also develop a Serious Incident Response Scheme, in consultation with the aged care sector.”


The Commission will combine the functions of the current Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and the aged care regulatory role of the Department of Health.


“The new re-accreditation audit regime builds on the existing system of unannounced inspections by the Quality Agency,” said Mr Wyatt.


“Since last July, the Agency has conducted almost 3,000 unannounced assessment visits on homes, targeting specific quality standard requirements, with nine homes losing their accreditation.”


To maintain their approval to receive Commonwealth funding, aged care homes must comply with four standards comprising 44 required outcomes, including the adequate provision of qualified staff, clinical care, nutrition, hygiene, dignity, privacy and security.


“During re-accreditation audits, aged care residents are also encouraged to provide feedback,” said Mr Wyatt.


“It is a requirement that the audit teams meet with at least 10 per cent of a home’s care recipients and conduct Consumer Experience Interviews with a minimum number of randomly sampled residents. The audits also include opportunities for family feedback.


“The results of these interviews are then published on the Quality Agency website, along with the outcomes of the audits.”


The enhanced audit system, the new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and the aged care comparison system were key recommendations of the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes which Mr Wyatt commissioned in 2017.


Aged care accreditation and compliance decisions and resident feedback results are available at http://www.aacqa.gov.au/


30 June 2018.