Existing aged care approved providers are required to establish a Quality Care Advisory Body and a Consumer Advisory Body by 1 December 2023.
In this article we explore the matters approved providers should take into account when setting up these bodies and provide:
Quality Care Advisory Body
Approved providers are obliged to set up a Quality Care Advisory Body that reports in writing at least once every six months to the governing body of the approved provider (most commonly the board) and that complies with the membership requirements recently introduced by amendments to the Accountability Principles.
The primary function of the Quality Care Advisory Body is to report to the governing body and provide advice about the quality of care that the approved provider delivers through its aged care services. While the Quality Care Advisory Body reports to the governing body, the advisory body should be able to act independently of the governing body and it does not act at the direction of the governing body. The governing body however always retains ultimate responsibility to comply with the approved provider responsibilities.
There is no minimum size of the Quality Care Advisory Body but it should be no less than three people as the minimum requirements stipulate that the body include one of each of the following:
There are no other minimum requirements about how the Quality Care Advisory Body should be constituted but given its role is to report to the governing body it is recommended that the members not be members of the governing body.
The Quality Care Advisory Body should however be constituted by skilled individuals who focus on macro issues and trends rather than individual complaints or feedback as well as opportunities for improvement. The body might also be charged with reporting to the governing body on a specific quality issue from time to time.
There is no requirement to replace any existing clinical governance committee with a separate Quality Care Advisory Body. The existing body can be used to fulfill the functions of a Quality Care Advisory Body so long as the existing body meets the minimum legislative obligations with respect to purpose, members and reporting. If a provider chooses to use an existing body it's not necessary to change the name of the body so long as your documentation makes clear the role of this body is to act as the provider's Quality Care Advisory Body.
The Accountability Principles set out minimum requirements about the content of the reports that have to be provided by the Quality Care Advisory Body to the governing body. Thomson Geer has prepared a template report to assist you to meet these requirements.
Consumer Advisory Body
Providers must at least once every 12 months invite their consumers to form a Consumer Advisory Body. The purpose of the body is to give the governing body feedback about the quality of care that is provided at the approved provider's services.
Again, there are no minimum size requirements for the body and no need to replace your existing resident or consumer representative groups with a new body. The provider will need to ensure however that the existing body, if it is to fulfill the role of the Consumer Advisory Body, complies with the minimum legislative obligations.
Ideally the Consumer Advisory Body would:
It is entirely up to the provider as to whether they have one body or many. The requirements are only that an invitation goes out in writing to consumers at least once every 12 months inviting them to participate, that the governing body considers any reports or feedback that are provided by the consumer body and then confirms in writing how they considered that feedback.
The requirements in relation to advisory bodies are new and there is some uncertainty about the attitude that the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Commission) might take to compliance. Some guidance can be found in their guidelines here.
It is expected that the Guidelines will evolve over time as will a better understanding of the Commission's likely approach to compliance. At this stage it is reasonable to assume that approved providers will be expected to produce evidence that the roles, responsibilities and intended operational processes of the bodies have been defined (e.g. by terms of reference and a policy/process) that will include details such as:
Thomson Geer Compliance materials
Thomson Geer has prepared a suite of documents to assist providers to comply with the requirements to implement and manage your advisory bodies that include the following:
If you are looking for guidance and support in establishing a Quality Care Advisory Body and Consumer Advisory Body that complies with the requirements of the legislation and in the timeframe set by the legislation, or you wish to purchase the supporting materials we have prepared please contact the Health and Aged Care Team at Thomson Geer.