Post COVID-19 Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission Visit

We know that the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) has commenced their assessment regime this month, following a short pause due to COVID-19. It goes without saying that there will be a significant focus on what organisations and providers have done and continue to do in response to COVID-19 and it will be expected that all staff have an understanding of and can describe the outbreak management plan and the interventions in place to minimise the risk of COVID-1 9 in their homes. 

Most, if not all providers will have been contacted by telephone by the ACQSC to monitor their preparedness  for a COVID-19 outbreak but what does an assessment contact look like with a COVID-19 focus? 

The ACQSC has identified 8 Risk based questions that are asked of providers at the commencement of an assessment contact – Question 8 specifically focuses on COVID-19 – What action has the service taken to assess and minimise infection-related risks for the care of aged care consumers including the impact of a potential coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?”

Here are a few things for you to consider and review within your organisation to ensure that you are able to meet the requirements of the Commission. 

Access and Visiting the home

  • Do you have clear evidence of how your service is applying the Industry Code for Visiting Aged Care  Homes during COVID-19? Think about how you have communicated this information to the residents and their representatives. Has this been clearly minuted through relevant committees and meetings? Can staff clearly articulate the key points of the Code? 
  • Can you demonstrate the screening or surveillance program that you have in place for visitors? 
  • Have you needed to address any concerns or complaints in relation to access to the service? Is this clearly documented?
  • What alternatives have you put in place to support when people are not able to enter the home i.e. technology options such as Zoom, skype etc. 
  • How often are you reviewing your protocols and communicating this information/updates to your consumers and their representatives?

Management and Monitoring of Influenza Vaccinations

  • What is your process for obtaining and  maintaining evidence of influenza vaccinations for staff, residents, contractors, volunteers and visitors? 
  • How have you promoted the vaccination programme and is there evidence that there has been sustained effort to ensure that vaccinations are given. This applies to residents, staff, volunteers and visitors. 

Staffing and Personnel

  • Do you have a clearly documented contingency plan for staff? Do you have a surge team who will be able to support as additional resourcing in the event of an outbreak? 
  • Have you cohorted staff and residents to minimise the risk of cross infection? 
  • Do your staff  have knowledge of what is in the outbreak management plan? Consider having a mock outbreak, just like you would do a mock evacuation for fire safety. 
  • Have you made any changes to your roster and resources to support a COVID-19 plan such as additional cleaning staff, personnel to support additional surveillance, changes to lifestyle staff to support more individualised social support?
  • Do you have clear evidence of staff competencies or skills assessments relating to Infection Control eg hand washing, correct use of PPE etc.

PPE and Supplies

  • What system do you have in place to ensure that you have sufficient supplies in stock to manage an outbreak? Do you have a dedicated resource to manage stock? 
  • Can you demonstrate that you have increased your supply of PPE, cleaning stock and cleaning resources?

Clinical Indicators and Audit Results

  • What are your infection trends showing you? How are you monitoring those residents who may be at higher risk eg those with respiratory conditions.
  • Have you increased infection control audits or revised practices to ensure a higher level of risk identification and monitoring? 

Review of Infection Control Systems

  • Can you demonstrate that key policies and procedures connected to Outbreak Management and Infection Control have been reviewed and accurately reflect changes? 
  • Does your PCI reflect changes that you have made to improve your systems? 

Communication and Use of Resources

  • Are you able to show the resources that have been used to communicate with residents and their representatives – think about the Commission, the Department of Health and relevant Public Health Unit resources. 
  • Updated organisation websites, newsletters and the use of messaging services are good examples of how you are keeping clear and frequent communication with your stakeholders.

Anchor Excellence has a range of solutions to support you with monitoring and assessing your overall preparedness and risk for within your service and across your organisation. Our AnchorAssure program reviews all elements of operations, this can be tailored and modified to suit your individual needs.

For further information on how we may be able to support you, please contact us via info@anchorexcellence.com or call our offices on (02) 8610 1950.