Protecting and providing excellent service to your consumers is at the heart of the July 2019 Aged Care Quality Standards. A goal that we can all get behind! However, while the new standards seem simple at face value, adopting and implementing them into your practice can be challenging for Managers of Aged Care organisations and facilities.
For those unfamiliar, the most-recent Aged Care Quality Standards were released in July 2019, and they feature eight relatively-broad Standards designed to assist aged care providers in delivering high-quality care to their consumers (i.e. their residents, or recipients of their services).
In Summary, these standards relate to:
- Consumer dignity + choice
- Ongoing assessment and Planning with consumers
- Personal care and clinical care
- Services and supports for daily living
- Organisation’s service environment
- Feedback and complaints
- Human Resources
- Organisational governance
Most Aged Care organisations are staffed with carers and Managers who are skilled in ‘care’ or another technical skillset (we’re looking at you, chefs!), and have some good systems in place for ensuring the delivery of those services. Standards 1 to 5 can be broadly understood by most Aged Carers, as the standards resonate with their core duty - caring.
As we move down the list though, we depart from ‘care’ management and arrive at more ‘business’ management standards. Standards 6 to 8 are (in effect) intended to improve the business systems supporting care delivery - like customer service, workforce management, and governance. These standards predominantly speak to a minority of aged care workers their core duties.
Here’s our take on one of those standards - Standard 7 (Human Resources) - and our suggestions for how Aged Care Managers can audit-proof their workforce so they can maximise the delivery of care in their facility.
Organisation Statement: ‘The organisation has a workforce that is sufficient, and is skilled and qualified, to provide safe, respectful and quality care and services’
If you’re a Manager of an Aged Care facility, ask yourself: ‘How sure am I that all my staff would pass an audit?’ If you answered, ‘I’m totally certain’, then congratulations! You deserve a pay rise for that superhuman effort. If you answered, ‘I’m not 100% certain; there’s probably something that’s slipped between the cracks’, then you’re not alone, and you’re probably right.
The challenge presented by Standard 7 is that ‘workforce compliance’ is a nebulous phrase, and it means so many different things to so many different businesses.
One Quality and Compliance Manager of an Aged Care Facility might interpret these standards to be satisfied by a yearly license and registration check. Another might spend a few hours a day in spreadsheets and filing cabinets, sourcing, storing, checking, and reporting on things like:
- Certifications (licenses, registrations, etc)
- Qualifications (First Aid certificates, etc)
- Internal training (e.g. manual handling)
- Inductions for all staff and volunteers
- Policy acknowledgment for all staff and volunteers
- Medical records (vaccinations, etc)
- Insurances for contractors
As with most things, the devil is in the details. When the auditors come knocking, they can (and will) ask for detail. To pre-empt these audits and ensure that their aged care workforce is capable of delivering the best care, many organisations fall back to the cheap and widely-understood solution: spreadsheets and a filing cabinet. These two tools are a fine short-term solution, but encounter the following problems once a workforce approaches 20 (or more) people:
- The process is disjointed. Not storing the training/license records AS WELL AS the metadata (e.g. expiry dates) in the same place becomes frustrating and time-consuming,
- Humans make mistakes. Spreadsheets are particularly fallible - they’re only as good as the person entering data, saving, and version-controlling the file.
- The data is ‘dumb’. Manual systems require a person to check, action, and report on issues like license expiries. These are all time-consuming tasks.
Some aged care organisations rely on Learning Management Systems to ‘step up’ their worker compliance management game, but learning management systems are notoriously bad at tracking real-world training events, qualifications, inductions, etc. They usually end up storing these records in an intranet or filing cabinet, and we’re back where we started.
Some modular HR information systems can store worker records and deliver training content, but they can be expensive. Additionally, they’re not designed to provide deep visibility and real-time insights into your workforce’s compliance with the relevant standards.
So, what is an Aged Care Manager to do?
Well the good news is that there is a great system that can store, track and report on worker training and compliance in real time. Said system also gives you the functionality of an online learning system, but simplified so you can build training courses, inductions, and policies without any tech skills.
Disclaimer: It’s Compliance Fox (i.e. Us). More info below - feel free to just drop us a line if you don’t want to read a description of our solution and would rather a personalised demo.
Still reading? Great! Here’s the spiel:
Compliance Fox is a Australian software tool designed to provide time-poor Aged Care managers and executives with deep, real-time visibility over their organisations’ adherence to internal and external compliance requirements (e.g. the Aged Care Quality Standards). Our software enables your practice to store, deliver, track and report on critical information about your workforce in the one simple system, producing the following outcomes for our customers:
1. An ‘audit-ready’ database of workforce training & compliance records,
2. Mitigated risk of penalities, non-conformances & time-off-work through injuries,
3. More time to deliver outstanding care.
If you think your organisation could use a tool like Compliance Fox, please get in touch. We’d really love to meet you and hear about your needs, and to help you maximise care delivery to your consumers.
Want to learn more about our software? Take our Product Tour here.