Coming soon: A Code of Conduct for Aged Care
From 1 December 2022, a Code of Conduct for Aged Care (the Code) will be introduced to improve the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life for people receiving aged care, and to boost trust in services.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has released a draft of the Code legislation – Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Amendment (Code of Conduct and Banning Orders) Rules 2022 – for public review and consultation.
Further information on the Code is available on the Department’s website.
Public consultation on the Code legislation can be accessed from 4 October on the Department’s Get involved – Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub.
Aged care reform and a new Code of Conduct
Everyone has the right to receive safe and quality aged care services.
The Australian Government is making improvements to address the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
One of these measures is a new Code of Conduct for Aged Care (the Code) to be introduced on 1 December 2022.
The Code aims to improve safety and wellbeing for people receiving aged care and to boost trust in services.
The Code will help you to better understand what is expected of you in the delivery of care, supports and services.
What is the Code of Conduct for Aged Care?
The Code will describe the behaviour expected of aged care providers, their governing persons (e.g. board members and Chief Executive Officers) and aged care workers.
The Code will describe how providers and workers must behave and treat people receiving aged care services.
The Code gives the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (the Commission) the power to deal with behaviour that does not meet the Code.
The Code has been developed based on the existing National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Code of Conduct.
Who will be covered by the Code?
The Code will apply to:
- approved aged care providers
- governing persons (e.g. board members and CEOs)
- aged care workers who are:
- employed or otherwise engaged (including on a voluntary basis) by the provider
- employed or otherwise engaged (including on a voluntary basis) by a contractor or subcontractor of the provider to provide care or other services to consumers.
The Code will apply to approved providers of residential, home care and flexible care services. Flexible care includes the Transition Care Program, Multi-Purpose Services Program and Short-Term Restorative Care Program.
The Code will not apply to the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (NATSIFACP).
The CHSP and NATSIFACP providers will still be required to provide care that is safe and respectful and to behave in a way that is in keeping with the Code.
What are your responsibilities?
As an aged care worker providing care, supports and services, you have the most contact with people receiving care. Your behaviour affects how people feel about themselves and if they feel safe and supported.
People receiving aged care should always be treated well and feel safe.
You must act in a way that is respectful, kind and consistent with the behaviours set out in the Code.
What are your provider’s responsibilities?
Approved providers must also behave and treat people receiving aged care services in ways consistent with the Code and take steps to make sure aged care workers and governing persons do the same.
Providers are expected to support, equip and prepare you to carry out your role. This includes, for example, providing training, making sure policies and procedures are easily accessible, and taking action to make sure you meet the Code.
What can the Commission do?
Our role is to protect and enhance the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life of people receiving aged care services.
When the Code is introduced, if we find that the aged care provider and/or the people who provide care have behaved in a way that does not meet the Code, we can take action.
We have access to a range of compliance and enforcement actions to respond to different situations. In severe cases, our action may include banning a current or former aged care worker or governing person from working in aged care. In the case of approved providers, we may apply a sanction or revoke their approved provider status.
We will support the aged care sector, including workers, with communications, education and engagement activities to prepare before the Code comes into effect on 1 December 2022.
This includes Code guidance resources for providers, aged care workers and governing persons and consumers. We will be consulting with the sector on draft guidance resources to inform the further development, structure, and content of the final resources.
Further detail on the new requirements will be released by the Department of Health and Aged Care when available.
What you can do now
You can start preparing for the introduction of the Code by reviewing a range of existing Commission resources relating to topics such as the Aged Care Quality Standards and the Charter of Aged Care Rights.
To make an enquiry, submit feedback, a concern or a complaint, you can:
- complete our online contact form
- free call 1800 951 822.