aged care governance

Looking across the facilities that have current or recent non-compliance highlights there is more than the odd ‘blip’ or errant behaviour by ‘the Agency’ going on.

Creating and operating and aged care service that meets the care needs and preferences of residents and attracts and retains high calibre staff is no small task. It requires strong visionary leadership and robust governance and support systems.

In the rapidly changing aged care environment organisations need to identify and effectively respond to intrinsic and extrinsic factors that change and have a cumulative impact. Organisations invest in their governance and compliance frameworks and systems and recruit Board members with significant leadership and governance experience in a range of fields yet unexpectedly experience non-compliance and /or sanction.

The rate of non-compliance and sanctions has more than doubled in the past year. Organisations with a proud history of high quality service provision now find themselves on ‘the naughty list’. The impact is devastating for residents, staff and the organisation. The recovery period is long!

At Executive and Board level aggregated data may provide reassuring reports of overall function. These reports may compare current performance against the previous time period (in which performance may have already slipped) or focus on providing ‘exception’ reporting. They may not highlight where there is a looming problem or decline in performance in a service or program. The devil is in the detail.

Questions to ask

So the question has to be are these frameworks and systems effective and are Boards and Executives looking at the right thing? Are the Board members and executives recruited from diverse business backgrounds provided with the information and resources to understand the nuances of aged care? Are early warning signs identifiable? Are the systems fully implemented and properly supported?

The Governance framework and systems need to provide insight into what is happening at the local service / facility / program level and Boards and Executive need to know that leaders are being supported and resourced to achieve the best outcome for residents.

Look at performance from the resident perspective

Organisations should have a suite of indicators that focus on performance from the resident / client perspective.

The value proposition for residents, clients and families is well articulated in the engagement and sales process and the marketing collateral. It is rarely measured. Most organisations, facilities, services and programs collect multiple data items and these could be collated through a resident focused lens.

What about the staff

Engaged, empowered and valued staff are vital. Governance systems need to support staff and provide information and resources to achieve best practice. Often an organisation’s Governance framework becomes a method for identifying what is missing or wrong. The system should provide positive feedback on achievement and improvements and identify where additional support is needed to strengthen performance.

Recommendation

Organisations need to:

  • Identify the changes at both an organisation and service / facility / program level that will impact performance
  • Have a suite of indicators that focus on performance from the resident perspective – most facilities / services / programs collect multiple data items and can collate these through a resident focused lens
  • Be forensic when looking at the causative factors that are impacting performance –