HomeHealthAged CareAged care code of conduct comes into effect

Aged care code of conduct comes into effect

Aged care advocates are welcoming the introduction of a new code of conduct for aged care, describing it as a step towards quality care for older Australians.

The code of conduct has been developed by the federal department of health and aged care in response to a recommendation in the scathing 2021 report from the aged care royal commission.

The code provides a set of legally enforceable rules to ensure aged care residents are receiving appropriate levels of care.

It was drawn up in response to complaints about staffing levels, the adequacy of food and reactions to the pandemic.

Read: Caps on aged care fees from next year

The code is based on the existing code of conduct for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and applies to aged care providers, workers and governing bodies.

Commonwealth Home Support Program providers and workers will be exempt from the code for now, pending the implementation of the new Support at Home Program in 2024.

The code will be implemented and monitored by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC), which will have the power to punish behaviour by aged care providers and workers that goes against the code.

Libby Lyons, chair of the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC), welcomed the new rules and said they would provide a consistent set of rules across the entire aged care sector and would help to increase trust in the system.

Read: Putting the care back into aged care

“This new national code of conduct reinforces the expectations of aged care providers, their employees, management teams and board members, and will improve the safety and quality of care for older people receiving care,” she said.

“In practice, it means acting promptly to respond to concerns, and to provide care and support free from discrimination, exploitation, neglect and abuse.”

The code includes protections intended to ensure care providers or individuals are first given the chance to respond to any concerns raised.

In severe cases, actions taken by the ACQSC may include banning a current or former worker or governing person from working in the sector or, in the case of approved providers, applying a sanction or revoking their approved provider status.

Read: Thousands more home care packages to become available

An official Aged Care Banning Orders Register will be maintained noting individuals handed a banning order.

Ms Lyons called on the ACQSC to develop practical resources to support aged care providers and their workers and help them understand their obligations under the code.

“It is in everyone’s interest that workers, executives and directors undertake regular professional development to ensure they are aware of and comply with expected behaviours in the code,” she said.

“More important, is that all those covered by the code of conduct understand the consequences of failing to operate at the required standard, both for the organisation and individual.”

Do you think this code will help improve aged care? Have you had some disappointing experiences with the sector? Let us know in the comments section below.

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.
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