Department of Health and Aged Care
Critical Success Solutions consultants recently attended the webinar ‘Foundations of the New Aged Care Act’ held by the Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC) on 10 August 2023. This webinar outlined the core components of the new Aged Care Act, emphasising the rights and well-being of older people (OP). The webinar formed part of the consultation on the new Act. The slides from the webinar have been published to the DoHAC website. Here’s a glimpse into the key takeaways:
Addressing Royal Commission Recommendations
The new Act is designed to address 29 recommendations from the Royal Commission and further build upon four additional recommendations. This proactive approach aims to enhance the quality of care and quality of life for our senior Australians.
As noted in the ‘New Aged Care Act’ internet page of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, ‘The Royal Commission found that the current Aged Care Act is structured around providers and how to fund them – not about the people accessing services and what they need. The new Act will, where possible, follow the journey of older people within the system, prioritising their individual needs over the funding of providers. It will clearly set out the obligations of aged care providers and legislate requirements that protect the rights of older people in Australia to safe, quality care.’
Rights of Older People at the Core
One of the central themes of the new Act is the empowerment of older people (OP term used throughout the webinar) through an array of rights. With a focus on upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Act ensures that OPs’ voices are heard and respected.
Objects of the New Act
The webinar highlighted the key objectives of the Act, including adherence to international conventions, establishing a clear framework for service delivery, promoting education and advocacy, and ensuring plain English explanations of the Act’s provisions. These aims are designed to streamline the delivery of care and support. The differences between the old and the new Act are illustrated on page four of the 25 page slide deck.
Rights-Based Approach in Action
The Act introduces a practical rights-based approach, outlining around 60 proposed rights for older people. The refinement of these rights is ongoing, with breach consequences varying based on the nature of the violation. Complaints management processes, starting with the provider and then escalating to the Commission, ensures accountability.
Provider Accountability and Oversight
Providers are required to align their actions with the Statement of Rights and Code of Conduct. The Act has criminal and civil penalties, as well as a statutory duty of care, to strengthen accountability. High-quality care is defined, and providers are encouraged to evolve their practices to meet this standard over time
Whistle-Blower Protection and Decision-Making
The Act extends whistle-blower protection and supported decision-making for older people. The scope of protected individuals who can make disclosures is widened, and stringent protections are in place to encourage openness and transparency.
During the Q&A session, topics like special needs and priority groups, mutual respect for staff, changes to young persons in aged care, and the harmonisation process for NDIS accreditation were discussed – though streamlining the process for NDIS accreditation for residential aged care providers was not clarified. The Act promises to consider equitable access, inclusive language, and efficient intervention mechanisms for breach resolution.
The DoHAC and the Commission are involving stakeholders in consultation with these foundational changes holding the promise of a more compassionate, respectful, and accountable aged care system.
It is also a timely reminder that assessors are reviewing Aged Care Provider governance arrangements to ensure that they are ready for the commencement date (1 December 2023 for existing providers). Notably recruitment, membership and documentation for the Governing Board, Quality Care Advisory Body (QCAB) and Consumer Advisory Body (CAB).
Governance Solution for you
CSS has developed a package for providers to work through the establishment of QCAB and CAB’s the following establishment package will provide the information you require to get started:
- Sample Terms of Reference, Standing Agenda and associated documentation for both QCAB and CAB.
- Provide required recommended wording for Continuous Improvement Plan and provide Action Plan to support the implementation of the QCAB and CAB.
- PPT education presentation to support the implementation of the program.
- Provide a template Expression of Interest Form for the consumers and representative to consider.
- Provide a Privacy agreement template.
We can also assist in conducting induction/onboarding training for your QCAB and CAB to ensure they are aware of their roles and responsibilities and how to ensure they meet the requirements of the legislation. Alternatively, we can also support in becoming an advisor to your Governing Board, QCAB and CAB.
If you are finding it a challenge to develop a clear strategy to address these requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we are here to help: firstname.lastname@example.org or our general inquiry line: 02 9052 0292. Or use our webform at: https://criticalsuccesssolutions.com.au/contact/