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  • Talking About Quality - Australian Aged Care Quality Agency

    As the Australian Government progressively reforms the aged care sector, including revising the existing standards of care, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (Quality Agency) is committed to working together with the aged care community to identify opportunities for improvement. 

    The Quality Agency has a key function “to promote high quality care, innovation in quality management and continuous improvement amongst approved providers of aged care“. To support its function, the Quality Agency has commenced having a direct conversation with the public, aged-care experts and service providers to better understand expectations of quality in aged care, and how it is defined and measured.

    As such, the Quality Agency has produced a discussion paper to begin this dialogue and wants to hear from those who are:

    * a consumer or family of those who use aged care services and who may have experience of and views on ‘quality’ in aged care;

    * a provider of aged care services who wants to help shape the quality framework;

    * an aged care worker who has experience and ideas on what works;

    * a researcher, academic or policy developer who has an interest in translating what is known about high quality aged care and quality of life into practice;

    * anyone who is interested in ‘quality’ in relation to ageing or aged care.

    The Quality Agency is exploring five themes and is welcoming responses to any or all of the themes, which includes:

    Theme 1: Putting consumers front and centre - we need to better understand and capture the expectations that consumers have of quality;

    Theme 2: Safety is essential but not enough – we are seeing a shift from perceptions of quality of care based on compliance with minimum standards to broader notions of high quality care;

    Theme 3: Integration across the aged care experience - consistency in quality across the continuum of aged care is important to families and consumers navigating multiple services in aged care and to service providers who must meet the required standards;

    Theme 4: A quality culture that encourages excellence - successful aged care services know that meeting minimal requirements will not necessarily encourage excellence nor will this spell success in the market place over the long term;

    Theme 5: Leadership and innovation – government is not the final arbiter on quality. Competition will challenge traditional service models and encourage providers to innovate their services and systems to drive quality improvement.

    From now until the end of October, the discussion paper will be online and the feedback channel open; then during September feedback forums will be held in Brisbane, Parramatta and Adelaide. By the end of September a report will be submitted to the Department of Social Services to help inform the review of the current standards. Finally, at end of November, a final report will be published on the Quality Agency website detailing the conversation and themes found during the public engagement.

    Your input, along with feedback received through broader engagement, will:

    * help inform the review of the current standards, supporting an evidence based co-design of a single quality framework that will measure high quality care and quality of life;

    * enable different  perspectives of quality across aged care services from a range of stakeholders perspectives;

    * identify ways in which the Quality Agency can better understand the consumer experience and quality issues and themes for further engagement and education. 

    Article contributed by: Trent Dean, RN MHServMgt

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