Improving the quality of aged care

The quality of aged care provided to senior Australians will be strengthened as Government measures come into effect today.


From 1 January 2020, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will be bolstered with additional functions and responsibilities to safeguard the sector into the future, supported by a series of targeted investments aimed at improving compliance and quality.


In addition, new restrictions for prescriptions of the drug Risperidone today mark a tangible step toward reducing the level of chemical restraint used in aged care.


Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck said while important Government reforms – including the development of a new funding model – would continue, waiting for the final recommendations from the Royal Commission was vital to ensure long-term sustainable change.


The additional functions and responsibilities for the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission are aimed at creating a one-stop shop for aged care regulation, while strengthening regulatory oversight of the sector – a recommendation of the Carnell Paterson Review.


The passage of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (New Commissioner Functions) Act 2019 resulted in the transfer of aged care regulatory functions of the Secretary of the Department of Health to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner from 1 January 2020.


The additional functions include the approval of aged care providers, compliance and enforcement action for non-compliance and the administration of approved providers’ compulsory reporting of assaults.


Meanwhile, Minister Colbeck said restrictions for the drug Risperidone, effective from today, would now require doctors to apply for additional approval if the medication is required for more than a 12-week period.


“The Royal Commission identified an over-reliance on chemical restraint as a priority concern in aged care and the Government has taken this action among other measures to ensure senior Australians receive the care they expect and deserve,” Mr Colbeck said.


Education resources for prescribers are also being developed to support the appropriate use of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines in residential aged care, he said.


1 January 2020.