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How to deliver excellence in personal and clinical care under the new ACQS

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Sophia Wichtowska, Content Writer
2019-07-01

Part 3 of the Aged Care Quality Standards Series

The new Aged Care Quality Standards are now in place across Australia. The standards apply to all aged care services, including residential care, home care, flexible care and services under the Commonwealth Home Support Program. Now is the time to familiarise yourself with them.  

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In order to meet the standards, staff must be well-equipped and feel confident in delivering the best possible care. To support this, Go1 has partnered with Australian training provider Aged Care Learning Solutions to bring you all the online training courses you need to be ACQS compliant.

Standard 3 looks at providing consumers with high-quality personal and clinical care. Meeting the requirements for this standard is closely linked to the assessment guidelines set out in Standard 2, as monitoring and planning with consumers is essential for delivering the best possible service. 

Important takeaways from the Standard 3 guidelines

As those working in aged care organisations will know, a significant amount of time is allocated to supporting consumers with personal and clinical care. Personal and clinical care includes areas such as management of unexpected deterioration or change, preventing falls and medication management. The delivery of personal and clinical care is expected to be best practice and most importantly tailored for each person to promote their health and wellbeing.

To summarise the guidelines set out in Standard 3, there are a number of aspects to delivering an excellent level of personal and clinical care. As an aged care organisation leader or staff member, it is important to be aware of these overarching themes: 

  • Firstly, services must be personalised to meet the needs of the individual consumer. Consumers will have a diversity of needs with regards to personal and clinical care. The focus of care should be on ensuring their needs and wants are met in the way that is best for them.
  • Any support with personal or clinical care also needs to be delivered in a timely manner. If there are signs of deterioration or change in the consumer’s mental health, cognitive or physical function, capacity or condition, staff members need to make sure their response is timely and appropriate. The best way to ensure a timely response to any changes observed is through regular and ongoing assessment. If care plans are reviewed regularly along with observations of consumers, staff members will have the information they need to respond quickly and in the right way for each person.
  • The sharing of the right information at the right time to the right people is vital within the service and externally so each consumer will be afforded the care that is right and safe for them.
  • The risk from infectious illness and inappropriate treatment are also highlighted under Standard 3. All efforts to minimise these risks through good infection control practices and safe use of antibiotics is required.

Below is our checklist of questions for aged care providers to use and to generate conversation around the topic. The advice we share is to be implemented at the discretion of those responsible for the quality of aged care provision. Staff wishing to implement changes should do so in consultation with colleagues and line managers. 

Checklist for outstanding personal and clinical care

Whether you feel confident in delivering a high standard of personal and clinical care, or you think there is room for improvement within your organisation, this checklist will help you to review the service you provide: 

1. How does your organisation develop the competency and knowledge of the workforce to ensure that the service reflects best practice? (Requirement 3a)

Ensuring all staff members are up to date with the latest knowledge and research in their industry is important for any successful organisation. This is particularly true of those who are responsible for the care of vulnerable members of the community. 

Online learning resources, such as those Aged Care Learning Solutions has prepared, are a great way for your organisation to meet the requirements of the new standards, and for ongoing professional development (Log in to view of you have a Go1 Premium portal). With online resources, staff members can also study at their own pace - particularly useful when staff spend the majority of their working day interacting with consumers.  

2. What systems are in place to help prevent high-impact or high-prevalence risks for consumers? (Requirement 3b)

Meeting this requirement comes back to ensuring your assessment and planning systems are rigorous. Assessment for risk should take place regularly in consultation with the consumer. For example, if there is a risk for choking, the consumer’s care plan must include detailed information for ways to reduce the risk based on best practice and strictly followed by all involved in their care.

3. How does your organisation evaluate and review end of life services to meet the needs and preferences of consumers? (Requirement 3c)

This requirement focuses on personal and clinical care at the end of a consumer’s life. It is important to understand that dying and death are a part of the human experience, not a medical event. Where the consumer is experiencing physical, psychological or spiritual distress, there needs to be a timely response to limit suffering and ensure the consumer’s dignity is maintained. 

4. How can consumers, the workforce and others improve early recognition to deterioration or loss in a consumer’s health or function? (Requirement 3d)

Where consumers experience health conditions or impairments which limit their ability to complete daily activities, changes to their situation or a deterioration both need to be recognised as quickly as possible. Early recognition could improve or reverse loss of function, or ensure that a higher level of ongoing care is put in place in a timely manner. 

It is important to note that how these conditions or impairments might restrict the consumer will depend on the individual and the environment they are living in. Each consumer should be treated as an individual, and staff members should avoid making generalisations when providing care. 

5. How is the sharing and management of information optimised?(3e)

Effective and practical processes for communicating information and record keeping is fundamental to consumers getting the best care and services for their needs, wants, goals and preferences.  Good information systems result in the people having all and current information to respond to consumer’s present needs. When changes happen the information must be updated and freshly communicated.

6. How does your organisation ensure timely and appropriate referrals? (3f)

Many consumers will have complex care needs or specific needs requiring a range of external and specialist service delivery. Once needs are determined with the full involvement of the consumer plans should be made to provide timely access to the services best suited to meet their needs. Organisations will benefit from have well developed networks with others so the many and varies needs of consumers can be met.

7. What level of attention has been given to the minimisation of infection related risks? (3G)   

The minimisation of infection related risk holds great levity as older people are extremely vulnerable. Morbidity and mortality rates are high when they acquire an infection and if the treatment is not appropriate.

Diligent standard infection control measures and extra precautions along with hand hygiene are the cornerstones of infection prevention.

The excessive use of antimicrobials including antibiotics is prevalent amongst older people and the impact of an antimicrobial resistant (AMR) infection poses a great risk to their safety and wellbeing. Antimicrobial stewardship many be a new concept for some organisations so it imperative your staff have the knowledge they need and the systems are in place to deliver good and safe use of antimicrobials.    

On reflection, are there any improvements you need to make to the personal and clinical care service in your organisation? For information and support with meeting the requirements for Standard 3, you can find more reflective questions on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website.  

If you have a Go1 Premium portal, log in to view the Aged Care Learning Solutions video guide to Standard 3. Here, you will also find learning resources related to Standard 3.

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Aged Care Learning Solutions provides 18 topics under Standard 3 including:

  • Delirium
  • Managing Unexpected Deterioration or Sudden Change
  • Quality Pain Management
  • End of Life Care
  • Skin Care and Pressure Injuries
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship

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