If you follow my Twitter (which I hope you do!), you’ll have seen my tweets yesterday from the conference. In summary, it’s a very, very long day, but the speakers were great and it was very interesting to hear about how aged care works in different countries.
But I’m a Quality Nerd! I’m here to listen, learn, and talk about quality management. Which was exactly the one thing missing from yesterday. Many of the speakers talked about quality – quality of life, quality of services. But no one talked about quality standards. This really surprised me. Towards the end of the day I had the opportunity to ask a question of Sean Rooney, CEO of Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), who was on a panel discussing the future of assisted living and skilled nursing care for Asia Pacific.
Two other members of the same panel spoke about aged care that very heavily aligns to my own values about human services – that is, that above all else, quality of life is what matters; and that our work must come from a place of love. So my question was: have the Australian aged care quality standards failed; have they stifled innovation; and have they stifled love?
Sean Rooney, as I expected, talked about where the standards came from – to implement safe practices – which lead to a bit of a discussion on risk and the dignity of risk. And I believe that has been the big achievement of the Australian framework – I believe that at the time they were implemented, and even today, they do promote safety and better services for aged care clients.
But that leads to the question – why hasn’t Asia (and other parts of the world) got standards? Have they just skipped past safety? How safe are their services in that case, and who decides that? Asia, it seems to me, has moved past standards to where Australia is only just now coming into – quality of life, and true person-centred care.
I could write another whole (several) blog posts about whether or not I think quality of life outcomes and person-centred care will work under the current funding model in Australia (short answer: no). But for now, I’d like to ponder the question – who is asking about safety and risk in aged care services in Asia, and who is deciding what that looks like?
I’d love to hear from you, especially if you are in aged care services in Asia.
Thanks for reading,
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