meeting the consumer perspective of quality in aged care

Consumer focused surveys and feedback consistently show quality of care and quality staffing are most valued by consumers and their families when looking for care. In a world where consumers are bombarded with information and jargon how do providers engage with consumers and families and stand apart from other providers?

Consumer Experience Reports show the benefits of engaged models that address consumer needs and preferences and meet consumer expectations of quality.

Offering service and care models that consumers/families can understand and describing these in language that resonates with consumers and families sets services apart and provides an ongoing competitive advantage

Consumer focused surveys and feedback consistently show that quality of care and quality staffing are most valued by consumers and their families when looking for care; the second most valued aspect is promoting resident independence and well-being. The most powerful source of information is ‘word of mouth’ from friends, family, facility staff and current residents. Accreditation status is ranked as the most important attribute when choosing a facility; the second highest ranked attribute is food.

In a world where consumers …

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oh what a feeling!

Delivering a successful turnaround project is a great feeling!

Mid 2018 we got the SOS from a provider. The Agency had been to one of their homes and things were not great. The provider was disappointed, shocked and upset! It is a dark hour in any business.

Like any tough situation the hardest part is taking the first step. Carefully reviewing the current state of the business, identifying causative factors, developing an action plan, bringing people to address issues, documenting and monitoring progress and continuous review are the tried and true method of achieving change. In summary implementing a continuous improvement framework.

The most urgent tasks were to ensure residents were safe (they were) and to get staff ‘on board’. There is no denying it the first weeks were tough. For things to improve honest and hard conversations were needed and tough actions had to be taken. Key staff needed to be supported and shown how to implement continuous improvement and they needed to be empowered to take charge and make change.

In any ‘turnaround’ project there is a phase …

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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 …

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restoring stability in aged care

Residential aged care facilities are home to over 200,000 frail older Australians and is one of the country’s rapidly growing employment sectors. Turbulence in the sector has a significant impact on many.

In August 2018 there were 15 residential aged care facilities in Australia deemed to be non-compliant with the Aged Care Standards and two received sanctions; this is on the back of the doubling of both non-compliance and sanctions in the past year. So for many older people, their families and those working in the sector it is a very troubling and distressing time.

Changing resident profile

Those entering care are older and frailer and have increasingly complex care needs. In many cases the older person and their family have been ‘managing’ at home for a long time with support from family, friends, community services and home care packages. The decision to enter care is based on there really being no other feasible alternative care option for the older person and their family that can safely meet their care needs. Often the decision is emotionally gruelling, financially challenging and …

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Identify, Adapt and Deliver

The challenge providers face is to bring all this together in a care model that aligns with their organizational values, resonates with consumers, is financially viable and meets regulatory requirements.

The transition to the Single Quality Framework in aged care with its strong focus on consumers will propel services to look at and modernise their care model. The language of how quality is described changes and the service is accountable to consumers. Adapting to this providers need to rethink their business, care and service model.

Identify

Identify your strategy and determine your organisational values. Identify how you want to relate to consumers and engage your staff. Identify your financial imperatives and your market position and potential.

Challenge what you currently do and be open to opportunity and look before you say no!

Adapt

Adapt through investing in the creation of a model that articulates your values. Embark on creating a culture change that equips you for the future. Be brave and make changes.

Deliver

Deliver a clearly articulated value proposition that attracts consumers and staff and creates a competitive advantage. …

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aged care non compliances and sanctions double

The rate of non-compliance and sanctions has more than doubled between July 1 2017 and 21 August 2018 when compared to the 2016/7 financial year.  This is a very challenging time and the implications for those services, the older people in care and the broader sector are significant. Providers need to be actively identifying potential risks of non-compliance and act swiftly to address issues.

Metric 20 Jun 16

to 30 Jun 17 1 Jul ‘7

to  21 Aug 18 Notices of non-compliance issued 71 163 Sanctions imposed 13 28

Causative factors

Some may consider the increase in non-compliance and sanctions to be related to increased scrutiny by the Australian Aged Care Accreditation Agency in response to the Carnell Patterson Review (2017).

It is important to consider other broader sector, organisational and service related factors that place significant pressures on an organisation and subsequently increase the risk of non-compliance. These factors include:

Impact of industry consolidation resulting in change of ownership Changes in organisational structure, reporting and processes Workforce changes Impact of retirement of the generation of highly experienced …

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