Anchor Excellence MD criticises Federal Government’s timeframe for reform

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Cynthia Payne, Managing Director of Anchor Excellence, has criticised the timeframe of the Federal Government reforms to the aged care sector.

”Once again the sector has been required to implement complex changes with little to no transition time,” she said of the changes we revealed on 8 July.

From 1 July, approved providers have updated and specific responsibilities under the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Aged Care Act) and the Quality of Care Principles 2014 (the Principles) relating to the use of any restrictive practice in residential aged care and short-term restorative care in a residential care setting.

“The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission have circulated a regulatory bulletin (RG2021-13) giving impression that it’s as simple as two new classifications. In our view there is much more to these changes that initially meets the eye,” said Ms Payne.

“Providers need to think very comprehensively about their Policy and Processes and be sure they provide sufficient guidance for safe staff practice and compliance. Consumers and Medical Practitioners will also require loads more information and support too as they navigate consent.

“The five defined practice include the new ‘seclusion’ call out and the previous ‘physical’ restraint is now also broken down to have a new grouping titled ‘mechanical’. Having in place a comprehensive classification system will help key team members clear about the two layered approach to requirements. Initial requirements which apply to all classifications of restrictive practices and also those that apply very specifically (as each has additional requirements when in use).

“A restraint free philosophy will not be enough to assure your compliance to this and caution to Boards to ensure they are satisfying themselves that management really does have a good grasp and risk plan. 

“This should include a clear understanding of authorisation processes, register to keep clear that ALL restrictive practices in use are current and with informed consent.” 

Ms Payne said the newly labelled ‘restrictive practices substitute decision maker’ will mean more discussions with consumers and their representatives pre and during admission and throughout the care journey.

“Anyone with only financial orders will need to be revisited and absolute confidence there is appropriate decision making where the consumer doesn’t have capacity.”

She did add there is a major plus with the legislation changes.

“This level of complexity will reduce the frequency of restrictive practices, which is the key objective. This will improve both quality and safety and those providers not supplying sufficient attention to the detail will be fraught with compliance action and exposure to potential civil penalty,” she said.

“The beginning of reform hitting with a bang!”