Guidance and Resources for Providers to support the new Aged Care Quality Standards

The new consolidated Aged Care Quality Standards are expected to pass into law later in 2018 with assessment and monitoring against these new standards commencing from 1 July 2019.

Since the release of the draft Standards in 2017, the Quality Agency has been consulting and developing draft guidance material to support their implementation.

The publication Guidance and Resources for Providers to support the new Aged Care Quality Standards now provides, in draft form, guidance for providers in the delivery of the proposed new Standards.

The guidance document describes the Quality Agency expectations and provides supporting information, suggested practices, examples and evidence required to ensure compliance.  It also provides an indication of the matters that Quality Surveyors will consider in assessing compliance.

Of immediate relevance to the end of life care of residents are Requirement 2.2 and Requirement 3.3.

Requirement 2.2 is ‘Assessment and planning identifies and addresses the consumer’s current needs, goals and preferences, including advance care planning and end of life planning if the consumer wishes’. The authors note that:

“…conversations are often left too late. It can cause distress for the consumer’s representatives, family and carers and members of the workforce when the consumer’s wishes are unknown. The consequence may be that the consumer does not have the end of life experience they would have wanted.”

Requirement 3.3 is ‘The needs, goals and preferences of consumers nearing the end of life are recognised and addressed, their comfort maximised and their dignity preserved’. The authors note that:

“Organisations are expected to recognise the needs, goals and preferences of consumers who are nearing the end of their life. Communication with the consumer and a care and services plan that reflects to their needs, goals and preferences will support this requirement.”

“To maximise the consumer’s comfort and maintain their dignity at end of life organisations need access to an appropriately skilled and qualified workforce.”

“An understanding that dying and death are part of each consumer’s human experience, not just a biological or medical event, needs to underpin all end of life care…There needs to be a timely response if a consumer is in physical, psychosocial or spiritual distress to ensure suffering is prevented or relieved and their dignity is maintained at their end of life.”

“How an organisation does this will depend the setting, the needs of consumers and what specialist resources and members of the workforce they have available. It will also need to be in line with relevant national practice guidelines and state and territory programs.”