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  • Writer's pictureThe Communiqués

Residential Aged Care Communiqué Volume 12 Issue 3 August 2017

In this edition

  • Editorial

  • National Study into premature deaths

  • Opportunity to comment on injury prevention

  • RAC Communiqué Seminar: Lost and Found

  • Case studies: Lessons for RACSA selected list of inquiries

  • List of research publications

  • Commentary: A national register of serious harm


Welcome to the third issue of 2017. This issue will depart from our usual format in that we focus on the current landscape of how RACS are providing safe and high quality level of care to its residents. This edition presents a brief history of aged care safety and quality issues by revisiting cases previously published in the RAC Communiqué. We look at these with a view to identifying characteristics of a high performing RACS. We also highlight findings from our research, list work we recently had published in academic journals, and draw on an expert’s commentary.

All of these provide different types of evidence that preventable harm and premature deaths are occurring. Our collective challenge is getting the key stakeholders including residents, families, health professionals, governments, health and aged care departments, providers and regulators working together to develop strategies for reducing harm by improving practice. Eilon Caspi is an international expert on resident-resident aggression and has written the commentary in this issue. In it he explains the importance of having a register and data gathering about significant incidents that harm residents. Eilon is based in the United States and has published extensively on behavior management and the need to understand and eliminate residentresident aggression. He makes a compelling case for the development and implementation of new codes or tags to identify all cases of resident-resident aggression.

Similar reasons and benefits have been described previously for clinical registries. The ideas presented are applicable across all the categories of injury that cause serious harm or death, and address one of the key items for the current Senate inquiry into examining the effectiveness of the Aged Care Quality Assessment and accreditation framework for protecting residents.

We are in the midst of multiple inquiries. It is disappointing to be in this situation as a sector given the overall healthcare improvements that have been made in the last 20 years. What I think has happened is that although there has been a general improvement, the gap between what is possible and, what we actually do is widening. Alongside this, are significant societal changes to respecting rights, and challenging the standards, norms and behaviours that were once acceptable. The Aged Care sector is part of this, evident in the increasing expectations of residents and the community who are no longer accepting of the status quo. While this is challenging, we should be optimistic that the level of interest and scrutiny will ultimately contribute to making the aged care system better and more prepared for the future demands.


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