It’s completely natural to be concerned about the aged care facility where your parents are living. Of course you want to make sure that your parents are happy, healthy and have all their needs met. But when you don’t live there yourself, how can you tell? You can’t always believe what the marketing brochures say.
Thankfully, there are a number of tools you can use to uncover the standard and quality of aged care facilities.
The Aged Care quality standards
The Aged Care quality standards have been put in place to ensure aged care providers meet particular standards and provide a quality level of care. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission assesses and accredits all Australian aged care facilities that receive government funding.
The Aged Care quality standards relate to:
- Consumer dignity and choice
- Ongoing assessment and planning
- Personal and clinical care
- Services and supports for daily living
- Organisation’s service environment
- Feedback and complaints
- Human resources
- Organisational governance
You can have a more in-depth look at the quality standards here.
What this means is that the performance of all aged care facilities is measured against the quality standards. These standards are in place to protect and maintain the health, wellbeing, safety and quality of life of aged care residents.
You can see how your mum or dad’s aged care facility measures up against the quality standards by using the Find a Provider tool located here and navigating to the Quality section once you have chosen a facility.
The service compliance rating is also an important way of comparing providers. You’ll see this at the top of the page once you have chosen a provider, and it consists of four dots which may or may not be filled in.
- Four dots filled means the facility meets requirements
- Three dots filled means that some improvements are needed
- Two dots filled means that significant improvement is needed
- One dot filled mean that the facility is considered inadequate and is undergoing a current sanction or Notice to Agree
- No dots filled in means the facility has not been assessed yet
Compliance to the aged care quality standards ensures that aged care providers are doing their job and meeting these standards. Compliance is ensured by carrying out:
- Quality assessments
- Audits (which are sometimes carried out unannounced)
- Consumer feedback
If an aged care provider is assessed as not meeting the standards, the Aged Care Safety and Quality Commission will take action, usually by issuing a non-compliance notice or sanction. This information is made public. It’s important to know if your parents’ aged care facility is not meeting standards, has been sanctioned in the past or is currently being sanctioned.
You can check if an aged care facility has been identified as non-compliant by using the non-compliance checker that you can find here.
Serious Risk reports
You can also discover if a facility has been assessed as posing a serious risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of residents. You can find serious risk reports here, as well as audit and consumer experience reports. This information will give you a more detailed insight into the quality of care provided.
All of these tools are really useful to compare different facilities and determine whether you want your parents to live there.
What are other ways to check your parents’ home is up to standard?
There are also other more intangible ways to check that an aged care facility is up to standard. When attending or observing the facility, take note of whether it provides:
- Healthy, nutritious food
- Positive and caring staff who treat residents with respect
- A homelike environment
- Safety and security
- Dignity and choice
- Access to the outdoors
- Good clinical care
- Suitable activities and stimulus
- Low staff turnover
Click here for a more in-depth look at how to know if you’ve found a good aged care facility.