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Written by Kirbie McWhirter
on February 20, 2019

While much of the Royal Commission chatter in the mainstream media has been focusing on Financial Services, those working in the Aged Care sector are now leaping into action as a result of the Royal Commission into aged care. The terms of reference were signed off just before Christmas, making the theoretical the new reality.


From 1 July this year, eight standards will be assessed in accreditation, and one of these – Standard 7 – is all about human resources.


For any aged care operation, it’s imperative that, over the coming months, the leaders in the business are focused on the high-value activity that’s going to make a real impact.


After all, this is a critical point in the sector’s evolution. From the time the RC terms were signed, we have already seen, over $527m wiped off the stock market value of the top aged care providers.


Public confidence is low, rightly or wrongly, and the truth of the matter – as harsh as it may sound – is that unless aged care businesses address the issues identified by the Royal Commission, and demonstrate they are doing things in the best way possible (with the measure being the new standards),  longevity is questionable and punishments high.


Just as it was with the Financial Service RC, there will be providers who come out of the scrutiny better than others. Regardless though, it is time to ensure that the right action at the right level is being focused on. Whilst the funding model is what it is (and it is widely known that it is fraught with issues) we cannot apportion all blame to the funding model. Reviewing the whole organisation system is crucial – are you confident in your people leadership, do you have a culture of accountability and do your policies reflect and support the practices you want.


Standard 7 – what’s the story?


Standard 7 is all about Human Resources, and essentially revolves around five key components.


  1. The workforce is planned , and the number and mix of members of the workforce deployed enables the delivery and management of safe, quality care and services.


  1. Workforce interactions with consumers are kind, caring and respectful of each consumer’s identity, culture and diversity.


  1. The workforce is competent and members of the workforce have the qualifications and knowledge to effectively perform their roles.


  1. The workforce is recruited, trained, equipped and supported to deliver the outcomes required by these standards.


  1. There is regular assessment, monitoring and review of the performance of each member of the workforce. 


Four questions for aged care leaders


Looking at Standard 7, there are four key questions that you, as an aged care leader, must ask yourself. 


  1. Are there adequate ratios of skilled staff available?


  1. Do your staff have the right skills, qualifications and knowledge to effectively do their job?


  1. Is support given to each and every staff member, and are they respected in their roles?


  1. Do you have the correct assessment, monitoring and review systems set up, and a mechanism to deliver continuous improvement across the business?


Ensuring the answer to all of these questions is a resounding ‘YES!’ is an absolute must – these areas are the high value areas you need to invest your time exploring and resolving.


Action required


Over the coming months, there are a number of practical areas to focus on to address the specific areas of Standard 7.


Roadmap your organisational strategy

Have a documented plan of the areas you need to address, how you’re going to address them, and who’s accountable for making specific things happen.


Development of Policy and Procedure Framework

What will your future state look like? How are things to be done? What are the policies and procedures that ALL staff will adhere to, to ensure a high-quality, consistent level of service? Do your policies match your practices?


Your Policy and Procedure Framework need to align and be supported by your systems and most importantly, the workforce experience.


Workforce Experience Advisory Group

What does your roadmap look like? Do you have avenues to allow your consumer voice to be heard? How are you supporting your team during this period?


Develop your leaders

Is your senior team across everything that needs to change? Are they leading by example? One leader who’s not singing from the right song sheet can undo your investment in change.


Be confident in what you’re doing

Have your frameworks, compliance, policies and procedures independently assessed to ensure they’re compliant and fit for purpose.


In summary

At performHR, we work closely with a number of aged care providers, and we completely understand the uneasiness both the Royal Commission and the introduction of the new 8 standards has caused the sector as a whole.

Whether businesses have been doing it ‘right’ or not have to undergo significant change – and change is not easy.

But the reality is what we know it to be, we can’t change that.

Get the right advice, partner with the right expertise, and spring into action.


Written by Kirbie McWhirter

General Manager, performHR


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