As the new Aged Care Standards gets implemented in Australia, Frontline Care Solutions will be at the forefront of helping providers across the domain of care – no matter what service they provide – to adjust their organizational structures, policies, and procedures to meet the new single set of accreditation standards.
Dr. Drew Dwyer, resident gerontologist with Frontline Care Solutions, shares their plans on how they can help clients with the implementation process and explains what could happen if organisations do not comply with the new Aged Care Standards.
Are there new Aged Care Standards being implemented in Australia?
There are. Well it’s been developing for some time, the accreditation standards that run the auditing and compliance of aged care homes, nursing homes or residential aged care facilities. They also control the auditing across other types of services such as home care, community care, respite care, the National Indigenous Torres Strait Islands aged care arrangement and NDIS.
How does the new Aged Care Standards differ from previous changes implemented by the Australian Government?
This is a complete overhaul of the system that’s been in development for some time and what the government is doing is moving all services and all services to providers to a single system of governance and quality compliance. So we used to have separate systems for every silo of business and service, now everybody needs to comply to one single system and we’ll have to readjust or show compliance to the new single system.
Does the new Aged Care Standards allow providers to prepare or should they start implementing changes now?
Well that will depend on the individual organization itself. For me, I always remind providers that I consult with not to be too complacent. You really have to have an understanding of the entire process and really examine where your organization sits specifically if it’s a multidisciplinary service. There are rules around what will be audited and compliant, what won’t be. So some services don’t apply a clinical service so they won’t be audited under the clinical sections of the standards. Others won’t have such a higher need for organizational compliance so they won’t be audited against those standards. And yet some organizations will need to comply to some and some will have to comply to all, but it’s really a matter of the Parliament has now passed these standards in and the government is now asking all organizations to begin their transitions, to create their continuous improvement plan so that come July 1st 2019 the government will start spot checking and auditing services to ensure they have complied or they are in the process of complying and that they have taken their focus to identify where they actually need to comply themselves.
How can Frontline Care Solutions help providers with the implementation of the new Aged Care Standards?
We have a number of things. First and foremost, we encourage providers particularly smaller providers. The bigger providers seem to have their finger on or all over this they have a quantum of staff that have focused or specialized to look at it. And still over 60% of the industry is small providers and they struggle when it comes to getting their head wrapped around all the different contingencies and having all the skills within the business to manage it so we offer a couple of things. One is a new and revised template of policies and procedures for organizational governance, which is now one of the standards – Standard 8 – where the organization has to comply right across its business and our template it pretty much will meet all of the regulations with some governance and some collaboration with us at Frontline so our experts work with the organization to perfect and master. And really, it’s a nice modern contemporaneous and dumbed down system because you’ve got to keep it simple these days otherwise there’s too much confusion and not enough application. We also offer online and face-to-face training sessions so people can understand it within an organization how to comply, make change. We offer consultancy and we also specifically offer the speciality of looking at the clinical governance frameworks because this will need to now be seamlessly integrated into corporate governance. They are different things and many organizations, believe it or not, in a care service industry don’t actually perfect or master or even understand what clinical governance is so that can be a challenge. Now the new standards incorporates it service providers will need to comply to it.
Is the implementation of the new Aged Care Standards of interest to people in general, not just clinicians?
Well I don’t think it’s a case of that it’s more of a case that they see it as a hindrance or they think they can they can allocate their compliance to it because they’ve got a clinician. Clinical governance is quite a different process. If there was let’s say, hypothetically, a critical incident in a service – death, an injury, a lawsuit, a litigious action from a client or family – the lawyers will very quickly sort the difference out, separate out what is the corporate governance and where is the clinical governance. That clinical governance self needs to be controlled, mastered and managed seamlessly by clinicians. They are the people who legislated and regulated to control governance around clinical work. And so over the years, we’ve sort of built a culture in the industry where have seen as a hindrance in a burden because we’re a bit anal and we like to look at the details of things and of course governance and corporate organizations aren’t clinical people and they like to just move on with their governance of corporatization. These two have to be seamlessly integrated, that’s a challenge for any organization to do.
How can organizations that are interested in learning more about the new Aged Care Standards get in touch with Frontline Care Solutions?
Well they can simply google us, find us on Facebook or on any social media just. Just Google Frontline Care Solutions, we’ll pretty much come up at the top in the run. Engage the office, talk to our consultants and they specialize and have been doing for well over 15 years now the construction and the partnership and their collaboration. I ask providers not to be frightened and don’t be too brave to think that you’ve got it under control. This is going to be quite a challenge for a number of services but really, it requires a an outside keen eye to be able to consult with a service to just have a look through a lens to see whether or not the organization is ready, is on its way to be ready and will it be able to become compliant come the first of July 2019. As I said for some organizations, they may have to take some leaps and particularly around cultural change in the business. And for some organizations, it may be just a process of continuous improvement, pulling down what is needed and to change and leaving what they already have as their status quo.
What can happen if organizations do not comply with the new Aged Care Standards?
Well organizations run a huge risk of losing funding losing, losing accreditation and coming under a bit of pressure from consumers because the people may not be aware fully as a consumer listening to this, but the market has opened up. It’s now market driven, it’s choice decision – they’ve more or less deregulated even further the aged care community services. We have the National Disability Insurance Scheme, we have all sorts of different choices for consumers. Primarily, those consumers want to know that the organization they’re going to to receive a service as a customer is focused, is accredited or meeting accreditation standards and can be held accountable if they’re not meeting the consumer rights.
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