In a significant move towards improving the quality of care in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has launched its inaugural GP Aged Care Standards.
The standards, which were developed in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, aim to address the challenges faced by GPs in delivering care in RACFs and identify gaps between the Aged Care Quality Standards and the RACGP’s own standards.
The Need for GP Aged Care Standards
The new standards are voluntary and highlight the crucial link between the GP and the RACF. They demonstrate how the GP and the broader RACF care team are connected to RACF systems and infrastructure. The standards are designed to enhance the delivery of services and the quality of care provided by GPs within RACFs, thereby addressing some of the long-term pressures in the sector.
Development of the Standards
The standards were developed in consultation with various stakeholders, including GPs, RACFs, practice managers, nurses, consumers, and subject matter and technical experts. They cover five key areas: resident care coordination, infrastructure and equipment, information management, medication management, and RACF team qualifications.
Overview of the Standards
Resident Care Coordination: The standards emphasize the importance of care coordination in RACFs. GPs, as the primary medical care providers for residents in RACF settings, oversee residents’ medical care. The standards stress the need for effective and robust systems with transparent arrangements that support GPs and other members of the RACF care team.
Infrastructure and Equipment: The standards highlight the need for appropriate consultation spaces and treatment rooms in RACFs. They also underscore the importance of having the necessary facility equipment to provide high-quality care.
Information Management: The standards stress the importance of having efficient health record systems in place. These systems play a crucial role in ensuring that all relevant health information is accurately recorded and easily accessible when needed.
Medication Management: The standards emphasize the need for effective management of medicines and treatments. This includes ensuring that all medications are stored properly and administered correctly.
RACF Team Qualifications: The standards highlight the importance of having a well-qualified care team in RACFs. This includes ensuring that all team members have the necessary qualifications and skills to provide high-quality care to residents.
The launch of these standards is a significant step towards improving the quality of care in RACFs. By adhering to these standards, RACFs can enhance the delivery of services and the quality of care provided by GPs within their facilities. The standards also serve as a valuable tool for RACFs seeking accreditation under the new RACGP standards, as they need to be formally assessed by agencies approved under the National General Practice Accreditation Scheme.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as a general overview of the topic and should not be construed as professional legal or medical advice.