The Federal Government’s new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is set to triple random audits of aged-care homes this year. The Commission opened its doors in January, aiming to be a one-stop agency, website and sole contact point for all aged-care concerns and queries regarding aged-care safety, standards, quality and consumer rights. Meanwhile, My Aged Care retains its role as the government portal which ensures equal access for all and where eligible consumers apply for providers’ services. Formerly the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, the new Commission’s website includes:
- Aged-care consumer rights
- Access to free advocacy services for seniors
- Consumer Experience Reports on specific aged-care services
- Access to audit reports on aged-care homes
- How to register complaints and document concerns
- New resources to help providers meet new standards
- Translation services for non-English-speaking clients
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, says the new Commission will better target substandard care and ensure the safety and security of consumers. The goal is to alleviate confusion for consumers and, vitally, to ensure that knowledge of problems or outstanding service will not fall between agencies.
“A single Commissioner overseeing compliance monitoring, complaints and customer service means no more silos,” said Mr Wyatt. “For the first time, senior Australians and their loved ones have one place to go when they need help, want to raise a concern, or access information about an aged-care service.”
Respected health sector leader Janet Anderson is overseeing establishment of the Commission, as it starts to intensify monitoring of and compliance by service providers and facilities in 2019. Anderson recently led coordination of reforms arising from the enquiry into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory where she’s also had top Health Department roles.
“Our key focus will be on safeguarding the more than 1.3 million senior Australians who receive some form of aged-care service,” Ms Anderson says. “Unannounced re-accreditation audits of aged-care homes will triple in 2019 compared to 2018, with an increase in unannounced inspections to more than 3,000 this year.”
The Commission will also implement the first upgrade of service standards in 20 years to a new, stronger set of Aged Care Quality Standards. It will have a budget of almost $300 million over four years, employing dozens of additional compliance officers. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission can be contacted on 1800 951 822 or by visiting www.agedcarequality.gov.au