Home' Community Care Review : CCR Jan-Feb 2015 Contents to-face discussions to discuss their
experiences, satisfaction and knowledge of
the care provided.
Review staff do not visit a service
provider's clients, but usually interview them
at the provider's nominated service outlet.
"There is a difference in that in a
residential care environment we look at
matters on site. However, in home care it is
about checking that the service provider has
policies and systems in place," says Ryan.
"We ask about training and supervision.
We speak to home care workers when
they go into homes. We check the policies
are right and that continuous improvement
"The Quality Agency has a significant
educational function and we've had
very positive feedback from surveys and
meetings about our education in residential
care. One of our most exciting moves is
working up a new educational program for
home care, which is well underway."
The agency says it has communicated
with services directly via letters, circulars,
updates in magazines and online, and plans
a community emphasis in its 2015 Better
Practice conference round.
"We will be focussing on regional, rural
and remote and indigenous home care
provision, and will also talk to disability
services providers as they can add value to
our aged care models of care," says Ryan.
"In the residential space, we do 55,000
interviews each year. Similarly, within
home care, we want to do thousands of
interviews as part of a consistent approach.
Fundamentally the best judge of service
quality is the person receiving it."
While the Quality Agency might point to
its work to date, there are differing views
from the sector.
Illana Halliday, CEO of Aged and
Community Services NSW&ACT, says
that the Quality Agency's communication
with the sector started late, although she
acknowledges it has since improved.
"In NSW, Quality Agency meetings with
industry did not incorporate community on
the agenda until November -- five months
after they took over responsibility for it,"
Halliday tells CCR.
"The key thing for providers is that
whoever does assessments understands the
community sector. We want the agency to
show us that they know it is different from
Paul Sadler, CEO of Presbyterian Care
NSW&ACT, which provides both residential
and home care, says that when it was under
departmental responsibility, oversight of
community care systems was slack. "They
rarely met timeframes for giving reports
back, and were disorganised in planning for
visits, although they weren't too bad when
on site," he recalls.
"Early evidence is that the Quality
Agency is improving these aspects, with
good systems, clear agendas and good
communications, although I've heard that
this can vary from state to state."
In South Australia, ECH, which has
exited residential care to focus on home
care service provision, has been assessed
by both the former Accreditation Agency
and now the Quality Agency.
"We were concerned that community
care might move towards a residential
care compliance type focus, because
the legislation seemed to just tack on
community care," CEO Rob Hankins
"But talking with the agency at national
and state level, it is working hard to
make sure the community care culture in
assessment is not affected by residential
care or vice versa.
"In South Australia, the agency is
keeping assessors for community care
separate from residential care other than
those assessors - mainly contractors - who
are experienced in working in both."
Hankins's major concern is the 1 July
deadline for the many scheduled changes to
home care programs.
"The Regional Assessment Services
tender closed on 19 December but
successful tenders won't be announced
until April 2015, with a requirement to be
fully operational two months later.
"It's a challenge, added to the huge
workload around CDC on service provision,
never mind the quality side of things. There
is also massive uncertainty for staff and
some may have to be let go unless current
HACC contracts are rolled over instead of
For national private sector operator
KinCare, which provides care in over 10,000
homes, communication was essential when
preparing for its Quality Agency reviews.
Wendy Hill, portfolios manager of ageing
at KinCare, says the organisation selected
a key person to communicate with the lead
auditor during the run-up to site visits, so
as to help the provider understand what
was required, to prepare evidence and
examples, and advise staff and clients how
the review would be structured.
"We're used to quality audits; we
have quality systems and have been
meeting the same three standards
and 18 outcomes, so for us it's part of
continuous improvement. We already have
CDC packages so the changes we have
to make are just part of a logical change
management process," Hill tells CCR.
She says that KinCare sees one of
the main challenges to the new Quality
Agency process as the lead-in time to
provide letters to every client, and it
believes there are other ways of obtaining
"We support client and consumer
feedback, but it could be easier if sampling
was used from a range of different consumers
with different experiences," she says.
The Quality Agency says it is responding
to these and other service provider
concerns, and is currently analysing a recent
industry needs analysis to determine the
education and information needs of both
the residential and home care sectors. n
We ask about training and supervision. We speak
to home care workers when they go into homes.
We check the policies are right and that continuous
improvement is occurring.
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