How will the aged care legislation amendment (Royal Commission Response No. 1) principles 2021 impact on providers of aged care services

07 June 2021

The Department of Health released an Exposure Draft of legislative changes which provides the specific details of the changes that will be made to the Quality of Care Principles 2014 (QCFs) and the User Rights Principles 2014 on Friday afternoon.

Initial changes are scheduled to commence on 1 July 2021 with further changes scheduled for 1 September 2021.

In this article we highlight the changes scheduled to commence on 1 July 2021 in relation to the use of restrictive practices, what it means for providers and what you can do to prepare.

What are the changes?

Definitions

There have been changes to existing definitions under the QCPs, with further clarification provided within the definition and there are now five terms used to define a restrictive practice:

  • chemical restraint
  • environmental restraint;
  • mechanical restraint;
  • physical restraint; and
  • seclusion.

A new definition of ‘restrictive practices substitute decision-maker’ has been introduced.

Use of restrictive practices

There will be changes to the requirements which must be complied with in relation to the use of any form of restrictive practice, including:

  • when use of a restrictive practice is permitted;
  • what must be considered before using a restrictive practice;
  • specific actions and documentation that must be undertaken whilst a restrictive practice is being used;
  • what must be documented where a restrictive practice has been used in general circumstances;
  • what must be documented where a restrictive practice has been used in emergency circumstances;
  • who can provide consent for the use of restrictive practice;
  • specific requirements in addition to the general requirements where the restrictive practice is chemical restraint, including requirements for medical practitioners and nurse practitioners to assess and prescribe medication for the purpose of chemical restraint;
  • specific documentation requirements in relation to care plan documents, informed consent and assessments by medical practitioners and nurse practitioners where medication is prescribed for the purpose of chemical restraint;
  • specific requirements in addition to the general requirements for all other forms of restrictive practices that is not chemical restraint including requirements for health practitioners to assess a resident to determine if they pose a risk of harm to themselves or others and that the use of a restrictive practice is necessary; and
  • specific documentation requirements in relation to care plan documents, informed consent and assessments by health practitioners where a restrictive practice has been assessed as being necessary.

Compliance

As highlighted in our article Restrictive Practices – Proposed Legislative Changes To The Use Of Restraint – Scheduled To Commence 1 July 2021, changes will be made to the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018.

As part of these changes, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) will have the authority to issue compliance notices to approved providers where the ACQSC confirms or suspects that a provider is not complying with the requirements regarding the use of restrictive practices.

How we can assist you?

In anticipation of these changes we are preparing a policy and procedure suite including training modules, flowcharts, information sheets, forms and procedures to support you with capacity building of your staff so they understand what the changes are, and what is required of them to implement those changes in a way that is compliant of approved provider obligations.

Our resources are intended to be implemented into your existing operational, policy management systems and can be tailored to meet the branding needs of your organisation.

Contact Sabine or Tamie to discuss how we can work with you to provide you with a solution that best meets your organisation’s needs.

This article was written by Sabine Phillip, Partner and Tamie Duncan-Bible, Senior Associate. 

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