Aged Care Quality Standards: Standard 5 – Clinical Care
The Commission has developed a standard on clinical care as a part of the strengthening of the Aged Care Quality Standards. The focus is to protect older people from harm and improve their clinical care.
Standard 5 - Clinical Care
The Clinical Care components of the Quality Standards will provide a nationally consistent statement on the level of clinical care older people can expect when receiving aged care. It aims to protect older people from harm and improve the quality of clinical care delivered by Commonwealth subsidised aged care services.
The clinical care components are seen as integral to the delivery of high-quality and safe aged care. The standards in the strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards are:
Working closely with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and the Department of Health and Aged Care the Commission has drafted a Clinical Care Standard (Standard 5). A draft standard 5 has been published with the suite of 7 draft strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards (Quality Standards) for inclusion in the subordinate legislation (Rules) of the new Aged Care Act 2024.
An exposure draft of the Bill for the new Aged Care Act is available and is the focus of a current public consultation, closing 8 March 2024.
The outcomes for Standard 5 - Clinical Care are:
- 5.1 Clinical governance
- 5.2 Preventing and controlling infection in clinical care
- 5.3 Safe and quality use of medicines
- 5.4 Comprehensive care
- 5.5 Clinical safety
- 5.6 Cognitive impairment
- 5.7 Palliative and end-of-life care
The Commission drafted guidance to support implementation of Standard 5. This was released with the draft guidance and implementation supports for the remaining suite of Quality Standards drafted by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission for public consultation. The consultation will close on 30 April 2024.
The Commission is developing resources to further support implementation of Standard 5 in key areas identified as new or of high risk. These will include:
- Clinical Information Systems (Outcome 5.1)
- Medication Safety, a simple guide based on the Guiding Principles for Medication Management in the community and in residential aged care (Outcome 5.3)
- Comprehensive care (5.4)
- Older peoples’ mental health (Outcome 5.5)
- Cognitive Impairment (Outcome 5.6)
Further resources will be developed for different audiences and key focus areas such as the health-aged care interface, essential elements of clinical care in aged care and clinical assessments. Resources to support delivery of clinical care in-home and residential aged care settings will be developed.
MPS Aged Care Module
The Multi-Purpose Services (MPS) Aged Care Module is being updated to reflect new requirements of the strengthened Standards. The purpose of the MPS Module is to provide a limited set of actions that MPSs are required to implement in addition to the NSQHS Standards (2nd edition), allowing them to comply with both the NSQHS Standards and the Aged Care Quality Standards. Further work on resources to support implementation will also be developed.
Australian fall prevention guidelines
The Commission is updating the 2009 best practice guidelines on preventing falls and harm from falls in older people in residential aged care services, community care and hospitals (Australian Fall Guidelines). These Guidelines are widely referenced, including in guidance for the Aged Care Quality Standards and the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.
There is currently a consultation on the draft recommendations and good practice points led by the Australian and New Zealand Falls prevention society. Consultation closes 10 March 2024.
Translational resources for aged care providers will be prioritised to support implementation of Standard 5 – Clinical Care.
Prevention and control of infection (IPC) - guidance for Aged Care
A supplementary resource to the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare for aged care settings is being developed. This work is to translate the key principles of IPC to aged care.
Literature and evidence reviews were commissioned on key topics including oral health, clinical care of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, Depression, Falls, Pain, Malnutrition, Pressure injuries, Key components of care for older people and Continence. These reviews will inform resources for these topics and will be published shortly.
The Quality Standards are more than just a document. They are designed to provide a shared understanding of what is expected in aged care.
In March 2021, the Australian Government announced an urgent review of Quality Standards in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Final Report: Care, Dignity and Respect (Royal Commission).
The Royal Commission identified several areas of focus for the urgent review including:
- food and nutrition, and
- clinical care
In July 2021, the Commission was given responsibility for the review and formulation of draft clinical standards for inclusion in the Quality Standards in collaboration with the Department of Health and Aged Care and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. The clinical standards are known as Standard 5 - Clinical Care.
The transfer of the responsibility to the Commission also accords with the Government’s response to recommendation 18.1.b of the Royal Commission.
Recommendation 19 of the Royal Commission required an urgent review of the Quality Standards be undertaken including consideration of several critical clinical care issues such as medication management, oral health, pressure injury prevention and wound management, continence, falls prevention and mobility, nutrition, infection control, dementia and palliative care.
The team is committed to a rigorous standards development process and the promotion of safe and high-quality clinical care.
Our project enjoys the input of the:
- Aged Care Quality Standards Advisory Committee
- Executive Steering Group
- expertise with-in the Commission and the wider Aged Care stakeholder community
- other government agencies and program areas including the Department of Health, the Aged Care and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
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