100% success requirement to be compliant has proven to be a failure

Absolutism, my grave concerns.

An opinion piece by Ciaran Foley
Chief Executive Office, Allambie Heights Village

The Government, the Department of Health and the former Agency’s requirement that RACFs across Australia achieve 4 Standards and 44 Outcomes, that’s a 100% success requirement to be compliant and to be permitted to operate prior to 1 July 2019, has proven to be a failure!

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has since its commencement of operation on 1 January 2019 and its various Hearings since, heard of the failings of some aged care staff and a few poor Operators in Australia. Be very clear, this is a minority and they do not represent the outstanding services of the majority of our Industry’s Operators of RACFs, Home Care Services and the 370,000 people that make up Australia’s Aged Care Workforce.

Having spoken over past months to scores of Operators, I am confident in saying that we do not want poor staff or poor Operators in our Industry. They are responsible for the poor press that the Industry has received and they are responsible for the Royal Commission.

And so, it staggers me that the new Australian Government’s Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission would choose to still travel the same road of requiring a 100% success rate in the achievement of the new 8 Standards and 42 Requirements.

When have you ever achieved in your own life 100%? Do you achieve 100% every hour, every day, every week, every month? Of course you don’t, no-one does. And yet, 100% is the requirement that Operators, Management and Staff of RACFs and Home Care Services, must achieve.

I have been an enthusiastic reader of history for over 4 decades and absolutism does not work very well. There are exceptions, mathematics might be considered one, for example, 2 + 2 = 4. But in an athletic race over 100m and 8 lanes, I have never seen 8 athletes finish with the exact time. Isn’t that why we award gold, silver and bronze medals?

My history knowledge confirms that regimes that have demanded ‘absolutism’ have lasted for very short periods mostly and have hurt a lot of people in the process. Such regimes have ultimately failed.

‘We do not want poor staff or poor Operators in our Industry’

Why would we want an absolute ‘must achieve 8 Standards and 42 Requirements’ in our Residential Aged Care Facilities and Home Care Services? Have we forgotten that we are a Human Service Industry, human beings working with human beings? Do you really believe that anyone can achieve 8 Standards and 42 Requirements all of the time, absolutely? Do you trust that system of measurement. I don’t and many of my colleagues don’t.

I would far rather have a rating system of say, 85 out of 100 or 90 out of 100 with a ‘must pass’ of 70 which is a high benchmark in itself. Such a result is a far more real, honest and transparent benchmark for the Industry, Operators and more importantly for Consumers/Residents and their relatives to compare services against each other.

And it is what the Government and the Department of Health should want. When was the last time any of them or their staff achieved 100%? Absolutely never I guess.

ciaran foley ceo allambie heights village

Ciaran Foley
Chief Executive Officer