Residential and home care service providers will be required to sign a Charter of Rights document for each new care recipient from 1 July, as part of the latest industry reforms introduced by the Morrison Government.
For the first time, providers will have to provide a personally signed copy of the Charter to every one of their residents and care recipients, at the same time giving them or their authorised representative, the opportunity to co-sign the document.
“Together, we’re standing up for our most vulnerable senior Australians and we won’t tolerate anything less,” said Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt AM.
“The co-signing makes providers’ commitments and obligations under the charter clear to clients, and ensures that clients are aware of their rights.
“The comprehensive new Charter covers 14 fundamental protections – from safe, quality care, to independence, information, personal privacy, control, fairness and choice.”
The Charter replaces and strengthens four previous charters that covered various forms of aged care, building on the Morrison Government’s new Aged Care Quality Standards, which also come into effect from 1 July 2019.
Rights afforded to consumers under the existing charters will be maintained through the new Charter, the new Aged Care Quality Standards, amendments to the User Rights Principles 2014 (User Rights Principles), and other laws that inform the delivery and quality of aged care. This includes rights under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and Commonwealth anti discrimination law.
It will underpin the new Standards which include mandated quality clinical frameworks, open disclosure to consumers and minimal use of restraint, while requiring providers to prove their care and services are safe, effective and consumer-focussed.
“Being treated with dignity and living without abuse and neglect are among the top tiers of the new Charter,” said Minister Wyatt.
“Both the Standards and the Charter will further empower the new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, as it works with the aged care sector to protect senior Australians.
The new Charter was developed through broad consultation in 2018, which drew more than 550 public submissions, approximately 40 per cent from aged care recipients, their families and carers, and around 48% from aged care providers, staff and peak organisations.
From 1 July 2019, providers must give new care recipients a copy of the new Charter signed by the provider, and ensure care recipient or their authorised person has been given a reasonable opportunity to sign a copy of the Charter.
The purpose of requesting the consumer’s signature is to allow them to acknowledge they have received the Charter and had assistance to understand it. Care recipients are not required to sign the Charter and can commence, and/or continue to receive care and services, even if they choose not to sign the Charter.
Between 1 July – 30 September 2019 existing consumers in residential care and short-term restorative care in a residential care setting must receive a signed Charter.
For existing consumers in home care and short-term restorative care in a home care setting the deadline will extend to 31 December 2019.
The Department of Health has developed a Charter of Aged Care Rights Template for Signing for providers to use from 1 July 2019.
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