Restraint regulations in aged care homes tightened

The Federal Government has moved to strengthen the regulations that apply to the use of physical and chemical restraints in aged care homes.


In January 2019, Minister for Senior Australians and aged Care, Mr Ken Wyatt said that restraint must only be used as a last resort.


The regulatory changes to be sighed into law next week set out specific provider responsibilities in relation to the use of physical and chemical restraint in aged care homes to apply from 1 July 2019.


The amended Quality of Care Principles 2014 will require providers to satisfy a number of conditions before restraint can be used, including assessment by an approved health practitioner (physical restraint) or assessment by a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner who has prescribed the medication (chemical restraint).


The aged care home must also have the informed consent of the consumer or their representative before using physical restraint, unless restraint is necessary in an emergency.


In all cases of restraint, the home will also be required to document the alternative options to restraint that have been used. Any use of restraint must also be regularly monitored.


From 1 July 2019, the new Aged Care Quality Standards will come into full force. The Standards stipulate best-practice to ensure those receiving aged care get safe and effective personal and clinical care, tailored to their needs.


Service providers delivering clinical care will be required to have a clinical governance framework in place that minimises the use of all forms of restraint.


The Government has provided managers and staff in aged care facilities with tools and guidelines to achieve safe, high-quality care and practice safe management of medicines.


The Government will also mandate the collection of three quality indicators for all Commonwealth-subsidised residential aged care providers from 1 July 2019.


This includes an indicator on the use of physical restraint as well as pressure injuries and unplanned weight loss.


30 March 2019.