Understand Agedcare policies and procedures in Australia

October 18, 2022    admin

Australia’s aged care services support senior citizens in their homes or nursing homes. It can involve assistance with daily tasks, medical care, housing, and equipment like ramps or walking frames. The government-funded aged care services provide essential amenities to senior citizens. The government provides these services to only those who qualify for them.

There are a set of guidelines and Aged care policies that the organizations must follow when providing aged care services to comply with the legislative quality and other standards. These guidelines are also called policies or procedures. They are constantly updated and assessed to improve the support system for the elderly. Let us now talk about the aged care policies and procedures in detail.


1. Know About Policies and Procedures in Aged Care?

Policies and Procedures in Aged Care

The policies and procedures are essential for setting a general action plan, teaching the values and responsibilities of the care team, and standardizing the daily activities of the aged care centre. Australia’s aged care policies ensure the safety, privacy, and quality of care for the elderly. Here is a list of policies and procedures in aged care that every aged care service must follow:

  • They are accountable for the quality and efficiency of care provided to the patients.
  • They are responsible for providing continuous ongoing education and training to their staff to provide the highest standards of aged care.
  • They also handle the responsibilities entrusted to them.
  • Ensure that every patient feels safe under their clinical and personal care.


The Aged care services in Australia must comply with the Aged Care Quality Standards (Quality Standards) legislation that falls under the Aged Care Act 1997. The staff at the aged care centres carry out their duties in the most diligent manner while complying with the government’s quality standards, policies, and procedures. All aged care services must respect the patient’s rights and ensure their utmost safety while in their care. Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) is a national peak body in Australia that assists in aged care services attempting to meet these quality standards.


(1.1)  How Policies and Procedures Work Together in Aged Care


While the policies describe the reason behind a specific action, the processes clarify the method for conducting a particular action. The aged care policies generally include organizational, service, and employee policies. These policies help aged care organizations adhere to the legislation and adopt the best industry practices when serving their clients.

The policies set the legal and ethical responsibilities of the aged care staff. At the same time, the procedures provide them with a set of steps they must follow to implement their everyday activities. An aged care service must have the set procedures for:

  • Assessing and resolving complaints
  • Managing the records and documentation of healthcare
  • Managing the signs of aggression in patients etc.


The policies and procedures provide the care team’s values, responsibilities, and service standards.


2. Knowing and understanding the laws regarding aged care

laws regarding aged care

Over a million people in Australia are already availing of aged care services, which will likely become three times in the next 30 years. Given the range of these services, it is essential to have laws and legislation to regulate the aged care services for the people involved.


(2.1) Quality and Safety Commission Act and Rules in Aged care


The Quality and Safety commission act aims to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the elderly and offer them a good quality of life. The Quality and Safety Commission acts as the primary point of contact between the clients and service providers as the national regulator for aged care services. Australia’s aged care centers are independently assessed and accredited by this commission. They are responsible for monitoring and approving the operations of aged care service providers to ensure high-quality care to the elderly across the country.


(2.1.1) Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018


The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act (2018) began to regulate the quality standards for aged care throughout Australia.

The main objectives of this act are:

  • To offer safety and protection and improve aged care customers’ well-being and quality of life.
  • To build trust in the provision of aged care services and government‑funded aged care services
  • Boost engagement about the quality of care and services with aged care clients.


(2.1.2) Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Rules 2018


The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Rules 2018 came into being after the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission was made the independent statutory body to regulate the quality of aged care services.

They made the rules to promote quality aged care services across Australia. Some of these rules are.

  • Improve the quality of life for the elderly by providing them with health, well-being, and safety.
  • Promoting the participation of patients and their families in the day-to-day functions of aged care.
  • Regulating customer complaints and education and training of the staff
  • Providing customers with the ability to seek and consider clinical advice.
  • Make sure of the integrity and confidentiality of arrangements.


(2.2) The Aged Care Act 1997


The Aged Care Act 1997 is the primary law that covers all Australian Government-funded aged care. It sets out rules for funding, regulation, approval of providers, quality of care, standards, subsidies and fees, and the rights of people receiving care. Laws regarding non-compliance, diversity, and discrimination also apply to aged care.

Different aged care service providers fall under the Aged Care Act 1997 legislation.


(2.3) Other Aged Care Policies and Legislation


Additional aged care policies and legislation contain:

  • Accountability Principles 2014
  • Information Principles 2014
  • Records Principles 2014
  • Sanctions Principles 2014
  • Principles of Quality of Care 2014 (including the Accreditation Standards)
  • User Rights Principles 2014



3. What are some examples of policies, procedures, and standards in aged care?


policies and procedures in aged care


(3.1) Aged Care Quality Standards


All aged care organizations must comply with Aged Care Quality Standards to provide the highest level of community care as expected from these organizations.

  • Standard 1: Consumer dignity and choice
  • Standard 2: Consumer assessment and planning
  • Standard 3: Personal care and clinical care
  • Standard 4: Services and supports for daily living
  • Standard 5: Organisation’s service environment
  • Standard 6: Feedback and complaints
  • Standard 7: Human resources
  • Standard 8: Organisational governance


(3.2) Privacy Policy


The privacy policy under the aged care services outlines personal information handling practices. It explains how the aged care centres can use, gather, disclose or manage the information provided by the resident. This is important for safeguarding personal data’s privacy, security, and confidentiality. According to the privacy policy:


  • All information from elderly citizens must be obtained through lawful and fair means.
  • The information collected by the aged care centres cannot be disclosed unless the same has been consented to by the resident or it is necessary for a health check or for treating the resident.
  • It is essential to maintain the accurate and up-to-date records of all the members and safeguard these records from any unauthorized access, modification, or misuse.
  • The members can access and correct any inaccurate or incomplete information after complying with the internal procedures of the aged care centres. This is important to ensure the integrity and protection of personal information.


(3.3) Patient safety policy


This policy emphasizes preventing errors and learning from them to ensure the safety of the residents and their carers. Any error on the part of aged care service providers can lead to adverse events and can cause harm to the resident.

Following patient safety measures is of utmost importance within the broader scope of healthcare services. Every service provider must have strategies to avoid patient safety errors and improve their health care services. Having Simulators, a barcoding system, computerized physician order entry, and crew resource management are some essential strategies to minimize the chances of errors.


(3.4) Workplace, health, and safety policy


Ensuring the health and safety of the employees is one of the primary responsibilities of any aged care center. One must ensure the utmost safety of their employees so that they can better serve the residents in their care. Here are some of the risks that one must address under the aged care provider’s safety policy:


  • Effectively managing potential hazards
  • Challenging or aggressive behavior of the residents
  • Accessibility and availability of Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment (PPE) kits.
  • Controlling infection and spread of illnesses
  • Work-related stress for employees
  • Remote or at-home caring
  • Personal Hygiene and Hand Washing
  • Regular maintenance and assessments made toward WHS systems


(3.5) Complaints policy and procedures


It is essential to have all the aged care policies and procedures in place to ensure the well-being of the elderly and create standardization of processes. It is essential to have an open complaints policy to improve practices within an aged care centre constantly.

These services must also be open to any suggestions or feedbacks ( complaints and compliments) that can improve its policies or procedures. The complaint policy must make it easy for the members to register their complaints and ensure the confidentiality of the information provided. There must also be a system in place for safeguarding vulnerable individuals.


4. Why is it important to understand policies and procedures in aged care?


The Aged care policies and procedures are not just general guidelines but essential principles when dealing with aged care services. The policies and procedures can help the aged care centres to ensure proper ways of caring for the elderly. It will give them clarity in dealing with critical health and safety issues, legal liabilities, and regulatory requirements.

They also help standardize daily activities, which in turn provides consistency and minimizes any errors. These policies and procedures set the foundation for aged care services in Australia and allow these centres to improve their services constantly.

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