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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2226 ..

conducting spot checks, review audits and support contacts, and liaising with the Department of Health and Ageing about homes that do not meet the Standards

Teams of registered quality assessors conduct accreditation audits and other visits, and provide reports of their findings to the Agency. The Agency makes decisions, including accreditation decisions, based on these reports and other relevant information.

Generally, homes receiving three years accreditation meet all the Accreditation Standards, while homes accredited for shorter periods have areas of current non-compliance or a recent history of non-compliance. By law, new homes only receive one year accreditation. The Agency may refuse to accredit a home, and accreditation may be revoked or reduced if a home does not continue to meet the Standards.

(2) To achieve accreditation, aged care homes are assessed against the 44 expected outcomes of the Accreditation Standards legislated in the Aged Care Act 1997 and its subordinate legislation.

The standards cover:

management systems, staffing and organisational development;

health and personal care;

resident lifestyle; and

physical environment and safe systems.

Additionally, in 1997 the Commonwealth Government introduced a quality improvement process to improve the physical standards of aged care homes. This process, called certification, is also linked to a home's revenue as only aged care homes that are certified can ask residents to contribute accommodation payments.

To achieve certification an aged care home is inspected to determine if it meets certain minimum building standards relating to fire safety, security, access, hazards, lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation. A program of inspections commenced in 1997, and more than 3,000 aged care homes have been assessed.

(3) The ACT Government does not play a role in the operation of aged care facilities. Their operation is the sole responsibility of the provider approved under the Aged Care Act 1997. The only role the ACT Government has is to lobby the Commonwealth to ensure that appropriate levels of care are provided for residents in the facilities.

(4) With regards to question (4), the ACT does not keep information on staff numbers for individual residential aged care facilities. As advised in Question On Notice No 640 of 20 May 2003, a national project is currently being planned under the Australian Health Minister's Advisory Council processes, to undertake a census of the residential aged care workforce. The census will look at numbers, work patterns, roles and the education and training of the aged care workforce.

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