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Aged care is a challenging field that requires quality, focused compliance to ensure the safety and well-being of older Australians.

With various changes happening simultaneously, it can be overwhelming to keep up with everything. However, complying with the reforms is crucial. So is providing person-centred and safe care.

The last six months have seen many changes, including financial and reporting, and the introduction of the Code of Conduct across the sector.

Star Ratings and changes to National Quality Indicators for Residential Care.

Home Care has had the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) commence, caps on administrative charges and a ban on exit fees, along with the requirement to follow pricing transparency requirements, updating profiles on My Age Well and developing a new pricing schedule!

Reporting of Care Minutes and 24/7 RN care will also be mandated for most of the Residential Care market and Home Care will have further significant changes to its service model, moving towards a total reform in 2024.

And to round it all out, the Age Well Quality Standards review has been released, and pilot testing for the revised standards is now underway.

Many of these changes aim to improve transparency and partnerships with older people and support more effective person-centred care. However, these are just the start, you and your team need to take a proactive approach to address reforms as they roll out.

But as a care provider, how do you manage this without waking up each morning with a sense of dread and throwing your hands up in the air?

  1. Identify and prioritise time for implementing the reforms – the Age Well Quality and Safety Commission and the Department of Health and Age Well publish helpful information. After deciding which reforms apply to your organisation, work out which of your policies, procedures, and other documents need to be updated, and identify any other gaps that require attention.
  2. Establish a team to share the load and assign tasks to competent individuals who can update policies, forms, and your training plan. If you don’t already have a Quality Care Advisory Body (QCAB), this new team can potentially form the basis of your new advisory body.
  3. Document issues and improvements against your plan for continuous improvement. Record case studies demonstrating your compliance, or how you addressed gaps, implemented positive changes, or mitigated risk.
  4. Regularly check in on your team’s progress in implementing the reforms and remember to celebrate achievements along the way.
  5. Continue reviewing and refining your policies, procedures, documents, and training as the reforms are introduced. You don’t need an expensive automated platform to do this – you can use an Excel document Management Map or Compliance Register. If you want to know how – book a free 30-minute consultation here.
  6. Don’t go it alone. Reach out to your peers in the industry, network with other providers, and share experiences, ideas, and solutions to common challenges. By connecting with others, you can learn from their experiences, get feedback on your approaches, and gain new insights into managing the reforms in your organisation.
  7. Seek external help from trusted and reliable sources that are up to date on the reforms and understand your service context, challenges, and goals.

The CDCS team has developed a range of videos on our YouTube channel, ‘Age Well Answers’ that covers many of these reforms and can support your team in understanding how to apply the changes. They are in plain English, bite-sized and conversational – so great for busy staff and those from a culturally or linguistically diverse background (CALD).

And, if you’re struggling to keep up with the changes, don’t stress. As a trusted compliance specialist long-time panelist and supplier to the Department of Health and

Age Well and the Quality Safety Commission, CDCS can partner with your care team to ease the burden.

If you need help keeping up with the changes, consider reaching out to CDCS for 1:1 mentoring, tailored consulting support, or up-to-date policies and procedures, documents, and staff training resources that are easily customised to suit your organisation’s needs. Take the load off your shoulders and let us do the heavy lifting, freeing you up to focus on care. We’re committed to supporting providers navigating the changing landscape of aged care, ensuring you remain compliant and equipped to provide consistent, quality, and sustainable care.

Compliance can be daunting in the face of high workforce turnover and time constraints; this can be especially difficult for small teams. However, achieving compliance is within your reach with the right approach, resources, and support.

CDCS is committed to assisting providers with compliance and helping embed a culture of quality care. If you want access to Industry experts with a proven track record, reach out to us, we’re happy to have a conversation.

Authors: Carrie Akhurst & Donna Cross, Directors of Culturally Directed Care Solutions