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Aged care reforms are coming – is your organisation prepared?

Following a Royal Commission, dramatic reforms to the aged care sector are being delivered over a five-year period.

The reforms underpin the generational change required to transform Australia's aged care systems. These reforms include:

  • The introduction of industry quality standards.

  • The establishment of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

  • New aged care design standards.

  • Star ratings for aged care facilities.

  • Significant reforms to aged care legislation & regulations.

Changes will put older Australians first, improving quality, safety and choice in aged care.

While many reforms focus on improving clinical care, others concentrate on good governance, improving facilities' physical environment, transparency and accountability to advance the quality, safety, and choice in aged care for consumers and their families.

The following article focuses on managing the physical environment, the reduction of risks, and improvements and transparency in budgeting, reporting and document management.

Relevant Aged Care Reforms

Aged care quality standards & auditing on the service environment, financial administration & information management

Aged care operators who provide Commonwealth subsidised aged care services must adhere to a new level of quality standards and better transparency in reporting to ensure compliance with the recently introduced Aged Care Quality Standards.

Standard five of the Aged Care Quality Standards applies to the service environment for residential care, respite care and day therapy centres. It includes buildings, access points, parking areas, gardens and a facilities' general appearance and homeliness. The Standard requires operators to ensure the environment, furniture, fittings, and equipment are safe, clean, well maintained and comfortable and supports the consumer's needs.

Standard eight requires operators to demonstrate good organisational governance, such as continuous improvement, information management, financial administration, risk management and regulatory compliance.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission regulates these standards and independently assesses and measures a provider's performance against quality standards and regulatory requirements.

The Commission is empowered to conduct both announced and unannounced site audits where the assessment team can request immediate access to key documents (must be provided within one hour of the conclusion of the entry meeting). The team must also meet with residents to gather feedback on the facility and their opinions on the physical environment and its maintenance.

Reporting Requirements & Accountability Reforms to the Aged Care Act

The new Aged Care Act, due to be fully in force in 2023, sets out a system of governance, accountability arrangements, and provider standards to improve the quality and safety of care for senior Australians.

The amendments require operators to publish regular financial and operational reports on expenditures in care, nursing, food, maintenance, cleaning, administration, and profits.

In December 2022, the government introduced a star rating system that measures providers against various factors such as compliance, staffing, and quality of care. The star rating considers residents' experiences on their opinion on the level of care, satisfaction with the service environment, the operations of the facility, and whether the staff follows up on feedback.

These changes will provide older Australians, their families and carers with practical information to help make more informed aged care decisions and provide transparency on how facilities are run and maintained.

What do these changes mean for operators?

Complying with these reforms and the concept of unannounced audits is understandably causing stress for many operators, especially those relying on paper or spreadsheet systems with information stored in various locations.

To meet new compliance requirements, the sector must move away from a manual break-fix approach to preventative, data-driven asset management strategies.

Operators must take a more strategic approach to demonstrate proactive decisions are being made to reduce risks, ensure physical environments are well-maintained and safe for residents, and ensure costs are managed appropriately.

That's where Urbanise comes in. Operators don't just need software; they need a tech partner to optimise operations and fulfil compliance obligations.

Our tech and implementation team is Australian-based, meaning support is available whenever needed. We work closely with our clients to set up and tailor systems to how your business is run and provide training and ongoing support for staff at all levels. Furthermore, our software integrates with many industry-leading solutions to provide even more automation and an integrated ecosystem.

Staff will no longer be scrambling to find records, let maintenance requests slip in a backlog of emails, or question whether servicing has taken place. Through Urbanise, operators will have a clear picture of the physical environment and associated costs to upkeep it – from individual equipment to the entire infrastructure of existing and planned buildings.

As a result, they will know when facilities require an upgraded and when new assets are needed, ensuring the physical environment is well maintained at all times, reducing risks, and improving safety standards and quality.

Residents and their families will have a centralised portal to log and keep track of maintenance concerns and be kept informed of progress – making lost emails a thing of the past. Urbanise even provides a platform to book personal appointments such as hairdressers, nail technicians, and dry cleaning, ensuring providers are quality checked and insured.

With Urbanise, operators can utilise one platform to merge data, information and technology to:

  • Forecast the lifecycle of assets using asset degradation models, their service requirements and CAPEX expenditure.

  • Prioritise asset servicing or renewal and forecast the workload.

  • Create and manage industry-compliant 10-year asset management plans, including; asset register templates, recording and tagging assets, asset condition assessment, and maintenance schedules.

  • Provide visibility over all current and outstanding jobs, SLAs, and supply chains.

  • Log and track work order requests from residents, families and staff – providing them with updates on progress.

  • Record and track supplier compliance requirements such as licensing and insurance.

  • Help operational and governing bodies to understand costs, supplier performance, and asset failures with deep AI-enabled analytics.

  • Manage contractor insurance and qualification compliance – reducing the hours spent sourcing and liaising with contractors.

  • Ensure a chain of custody to replace many unrefined, paper-based systems that are often untraceable and are currently risking breaches in the safety of residents.

Further, staff and site managers have complete visibility over asset management and maintenance schedules to allow for effective communication with residents and families.

Dynamic analytics allows for real-time reporting for stakeholders – such as planned or unplanned audits from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission – thus meeting the documentation management and transparency requirements and demonstrating operational optimisation to present and future consumers, contributing to a higher star rating.

If you’re looking for a solution to simplify your operations and automate the asset management of your facility, one of our support team members can provide you with a free product demonstration. Simply click on the link to select a suitable time.


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