Proposed recommendations from Counsel Assisting to Commissioners of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

In the Final Hearing to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Senior Counsel Assisting, Peter Gray QC and Peter Rozen QC, presented submissions (475 pages) on behalf of the Counsel Assisting team over two days. These submissions included 124 proposed recommendations (in 85 pages) available for Commissioners to make based on Senior Counsel Assisting’s analysis and examination of the evidence and information. The recommendations in the final report (due by 26 February 2021) will form the basis of authoritative advice to government and to the aged care sector on how to ensure the aged care system of the future aligns with the expectations of the Australian people. [1] Whilst there is no guarantee that the final report from the Commissioners will reflect Counsel Assisting’s proposed recommendations, Critical Success Solutions believes that the themes are useful for aged care organisations to consider in their risk and governance management.

Proposed Recommendations 
Counsel Assisting “submitted that the Royal Commissioners should make 124 recommendations. While Counsel argued that all of them are important, among the more significant are:

  1. A new Act based on human rights principles for older people.
  2. A new planning regime for aged care which provides demand-driven access rather than the current rationed approach.
  3. A new and independent process for setting aged care quality standards.
  4. A new enforceable general duty of care on approved providers.
  5. Mandated staffing ratios in residential aged care.
  6. Compulsory registration of personal care workers.
  7. An independent pricing authority that will determine aged care prices appropriate to the provision of high quality and safe aged care services.
  8. An independent Australian Aged Care Commission that will be responsible for administering and regulating the aged care system.”[2]

These proposed recommendations follow the recommendations recently released by the Commission in the Aged Care and COVID-19 Special Report which Critical Success Solutions (CSS) discussed in their Care Newsletter including a link to the FREE CSS Self-assessment Checklist on the Insights from this special report.

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) held a webinar on 28 October 2020 to synthesise and propose responses to these proposed recommendations. They reiterated that there were no surprises in the issues raised as these have been covered in previous inquiries/reports into aged care. LASA are consulting with members to inform the response to the 600 items in the Commission response template. The response template to the Commission is due 12 November 2020. Themes of importance to LASA included:

  • Processes for residential/home care equivalence of funding.
  • Reflecting practice in the methodology of residential aged care funding and accommodation.
  • Supporting changes in practice.
  • Determining workforce supply in relation to numbers, expertise.
  • Querying the external assessment and accountability processes.
  • Setting of prices/flexibility of funding for home care.
  • Arranging for thin markets.
  • Selecting quality indicators.
  • Querying the timeframes for implementation and oversight processes.

Any interested person may provide a response to Counsel Assisting’s final submissions and other matters arising at the hearing, including remarks made by Commissioners. Visit the Call for Responses section on the Final Hearing webpage.

Self-assessment Checklist from Insights of the Counsel Assisting’s Final Submission to Royal Commission

All clients of CSS have received the self-assessment checklist developed by Critical Success Solutions (CSS), which draws on the insights provided in the final submission proposed recommendations for relevant areas for aged care organisations. Areas excluded include recommendations/suggestions to Government.

CSS recommends that the aged care organisation provides evidence to substantiate meeting the insight or evaluates the impact and rates its performance at each of its Homes, against each insight. Where insights are well substantiated (policy, procedure, system and evidence of effective service delivery) and require ‘no action’ – mark as ‘Low’. Where insights require further evidence of policy, procedure, system or effectiveness of service delivery, mark as ‘Medium’ to ‘High’ priority, accordingly. It is recommended that all ‘Medium’ to ‘High’ priority items are transferred to the organisational Continuous Improvement (CI) Plan to action.  
 If your organisation would like a FREE copy of this Self-assessment Checklist for Aged Care Organisations please email Georgia (our acting Business Manager) at the link below to discuss how CSS may support your organisation to meet the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Please note CSS takes no responsibility for the accuracy or applicability of the Counsel Assisting’s proposed recommendations to the Royal Commissioner insights to your care organisation or that it has interpreted the final submission correctly.

[1] Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, 2020, Counsel assisting’s final submissions, pp.7-8.[2] Ibid., p. 8.

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