Aged Care Sanctions Assistance

Aged care sanctions are imposed on an organisation when there are imminent and severe health or safety risks for Consumers. They are also imposed when aged care quality standards have not been rectified after ongoing non-compliance. In both circumstances, it is recommended external consulting support is sought to address the issues as soon as possible.

Aged care sanctions and non-compliance with new aged care standards

Types of sanctions imposed by the Department of Health vary depending on the severity and nature of the non-compliance. This can include revoking or suspending approval to provide aged care services.

More information on aged care sanctions and notices of non-compliance can be found on the Department website under Ageing and Aged Care.

How AgeWorks Helps Lift Age Care Sanctions

AgeWorks has a proven track record of successfully lifting sanctions. We help you to close out your Timetable for Improvement. Failure to meet specific timelines may lead to revocation of your approved provider status and closure of your service. We help you to rectify problems and stay in business.

What to do if Your Organisation is Sanctioned

If you’re aware that sanctions are likely to be imposed or you have received official notice from the government, then you won’t have long to act. Pending the type of sanction, most often you will be required to get external expertise such as a Nurse Adviser/Administrator. We’ve acted in this capacity since 2001.

The Department does not take the decision to impose sanctions lightly. Usually there’s concern about the health, safety and welfare of the Elders in your care. As there’s much at stake, it’s important that you get the right expertise to zoom in quickly and fix obvious problems that may be jeopardising the health and safety of your Elders or safety of your service.

The Support AgeWorks Provides to Rectify Issues

We understand that the imposition of sanctions can be a devastating experience for providers. No one likes the public humiliation of being named on government websites or unwanted media attention. Many providers struggle to understand how they got into this situation in the first place when they have been accredited. How and when did things deteriorate? We help you to better understand your situation, what are the “hot spots” and what needs to change.  

We also help to guide you and your team through the sanction process. We’re not just technical experts (aged care) but we’re also process experts (what to do and when). We guide management and staff through major change. We also advocate and act as your agent when dealing with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

Since our first sanction role in 2001, we have an established project management approach and honed our tools and processes. We have also developed trusted relationships with other industry experts that we can call upon if your situation needs it. We consult with clients in this instance to ensure their understanding and cooperation.

The Biggest Mistake People Make with Aged Care Sanctions

One of the biggest mistakes people make in managing non-compliance is waiting too long to get the right kind of expertise. Many organisations find themselves needing to throw enormous resources at the problem which may not be effective at this late stage. We have assisted many clients to avoid sanctions when they’ve come to us early for help.

Sometimes, providers try to manage too much on their own or rely on their own internal staff who may not be objective or sufficiently skilled, especially in these circumstances. For the uninitiated it can be very difficult to diagnose what’s really going on and where to start.

Often the dimension of change required demands external expertise. By the time a home is sanctioned there are complex competing issues.

Although each home is different there are usually common themes. Invariably, people and leadership issues are at the heart of any problem. Unless people and leadership issues are managed, then it’s likely that underlying factors that caused the sanction in the first place will re-occur after the sanction is lifted. Sanctions are a costly business, few businesses can survive one sanction, let alone two or further non-compliance.

Our Process to Assess Risk and Address Root Cause

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will have provided you with their report. We will read and review it carefully as an initial baseline of what the Agency wants addressed. It will identify compliance issues that the Commission requires urgent action on. This informs our initial project management approach.

It’s vital however, that we undertake our own risk assessment. This is different to looking at the accreditation standards. We look for the causes of the problem, not just at the symptoms. We help you with your Timetable for Improvement and associated actions to address non-compliance.

Why AgeWorks is the Best Choice to Assist with Aged Care Sanctions

Our observation over 20 years has been that band-aid approaches are common in this emotion charged environment. With the regulator involved, the organisation finds itself on the back foot and in reactive mode. Few understand or take the trouble to address underlying related issues causing gaps. Our goal is to engage management and staff to fix gaps properly. 

Most services when sanctioned feel overwhelmed. It can be like a busy emergency department with so much going on at once. We stabilise the situation as quickly as possible, demystify the technical aspects so you can understand what’s really going on, why you have sanctions, what’s required to fix gaps and fix key systems and processes so they are sustainable.

Once a home is sanctioned, it becomes a high-pressure environment with the involvement of many stakeholders. Staff and the Elders in their care are particularly vulnerable to the cumulative effects of stress from this level of external and public scrutiny. We’re skilled at supporting staff so they remain calm and productive. In this way we minimise adverse impacts on Elders as well as communicating with families.  

Kay Horgan is the lead consultant. Kay has unique skills via her formative clinical background as a nurse, as well as human resource management, change and technical aged care expertise. As a business owner herself, she understands the importance of financial aspects. AgeWorks has been working in the capacity of Nurse Adviser and Administrator since 2001 and on the approved panel of nurse advisors and administrators (prior to de-regulation).

For more related information, check out aged care standards and non-compliance

Call AgeWorks today for a confidential chat about aged care sanctions assistance.