News & Events

OCAV comments on the draft Single Charter of Aged Care Rights

October 14, 2018

The Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria welcomes the opportunity to comment on the draft ‘Charter of Aged Care Rights Consultation Paper’.

We welcome the following:

The Draft Charter has been simplified to one page.

We welcome that it has been mapped against the new Aged Care Quality Standards which will commence from 1 July 2019, and the existing provider responsibilities under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth).

We note that it contains 12 rights centred around five key concepts:

  • dignity, respect and consideration;
  • safety and quality;
  • choice and control;
  • comments and complaints.

We note that the aim of the single ‘Charter of Consumer Rights’ is to communicate clearly what consumers can expect from providers and to reduce unnecessary duplication.

We also note the shift in language being used, from care recipients to consumers.

Our concern with the draft as it currently stands is:
The absence in the ‘Charter of Consumer Rights’ are the corresponding responsibilities of consumers which currently exist in the current ‘Charter of Care Recipient’s Rights and Responsibilities’.

There is no responsibility of consumers to respect the rights and needs of other care recipients/consumers.

While the preamble suggests that providers ‘may have to balance competing rights’, this is not clearly articulated.

The Charter needs to remind consumers that they have joint responsibility to respect the rights of the other consumers and the staff who provide their care and services.

We suggest that the Department of Health conduct a similar process as undertaken for the draft Charter to create a charter of responsibilities.

Specific points
We believe further work is required to better support both providers and residents understand their rights. These suggested changes have been included:
b) be treated with dignity and respect and to have my individuality valued
Suggested: be treated with dignity and respect

The concept of ‘individuality’ as included in right (b) is already captured in right (c) and leads to duplication between concepts.

c) have my identity, culture and diversity valued and supported

Suggested: have my identity, individuality, culture and diversity valued and supported

d) maintain my independence

Suggested: maintain my independence, as far as I am able

This recognises the fact that Australians entering residential aged care are older and frailer than ever before, and while providers generally strive to maintain and improve the independence of residents, many will, at some stage, require a high level of support to undertake activities of daily living and personal care.

g) maintain control over, and continue to make decisions about my care and personal and social life

Suggested: maintain control over, and continue to make decisions about my care, and matters that are important to me

Maintaining control goes beyond decisions about care, personal and social life and extends to other areas of wellbeing such as spiritual and religious wellbeing.

h) be listened to and understood

Suggested: be listened to with patience and understanding

We believe that ‘understood’ is subjective and may place providers at risk of unintentionally breaching a consumer’s right where a consumer does not feel understood despite efforts of providers to achieve this.

i) choose to have another person speak on my behalf

Suggested: elect another person to speak on my behalf

This recommendation reflects the advanced care directive process outlined in the Victorian Medical Treatment Planning and Decision Act 2016.

j) complain, and to have my complaints dealt with fairly and promptly

Suggested: complain, and to have my complaints dealt with fairly and in a timely way

Timely better reflects ‘rights’ language.

k) personal privacy and to have my personal information kept confidential

Suggested: personal privacy and to have information about me kept confidential

Industry Impact
As noted above, the Single Charter of Aged Care Rights will take effect from 1 July 2019 in line with the new Standards.

We believe that this current form of the Charter may have a detrimental impact on the industry moving forward. This is particularly important with the announcement of the Royal Commission into Aged Care.

In summary
The drafting of any Charter of Rights affecting consumers and providers must be undertaken with a balanced approach that considers all stakeholders.

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