The conversations of life

News for aged care residents and families: unannounced visits for facilities on their way


The plan was announced by Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt at the National Press Club in Canberra this week and are designed “to help ensure safe, quality care standards are maintained”.

Currently, aged care providers are notified about accreditation visits ahead of time. Now these will be replaced by unannounced visits that will take part over at least two days – welcome news for residents and their families and carers.

The news follows the recent enquiry sparked by the closure of the state-run Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Facility in South Australia.

As someone who works in the sector – and has had an elderly parent in residential care – I’ve been saddened by the headlines surrounding Oakden and other failures that have emerged in the media since then.

It is worth pointing out that many accreditation visits are already unannounced.

67 per cent of visits already unannounced

According to the review report, 2,866 of the 4,251 visits to take place in the last financial year were unannounced – around 67 per cent.

Mr Wyatt also confirmed “the overwhelming majority of facilities provide excellent care and are working to continually improve services.”

The review also made nine other recommendations which the Government is still considering.

This includes introducing a star-rating system based on a facility’s performance, which will mean families will be able to see how a facility compares to national standards – and to each other.

We can all be reassured that the facilities that are caring for our loved ones are meeting standards – and those that are not performing will be held to account.

A practising aged care physiotherapist for the past 13 years, Jill has worked in more than 50 metropolitan and regional aged care homes. She has also toured care facilities across the US and Africa. She is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff that serve them.

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Unfortunately, the public is picking up just the unannounced aspect of this raft of measures. Actually Santo Santoro Minister for Ageing in 2006 – 11 years ago – implemented a regime of unannounced visits. However, these visits are not uncovering the adverse aspects which the public believe exit. Perhaps it’s unfortunate that Oakden was seen as an aged care facility when perhaps it was more correctly a state run mental health facility occupied by older people.

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