Oct 10, 2022

Government want your thoughts on Aged Care Code of Conduct draft

10_10_22 code of conduct

A draft of the Code of Conduct for Aged Care, released late September, has been developed to protect older people accessing aged care services and the Department of Health and Aged Care is looking for public review and consultation from people working in the aged care sector.

Eagerly anticipated by workers in the sector, the Code was recommended by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and is based on the Code of Conduct model seen in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Aged care peak body, Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA), is reviewing the draft Code of Conduct to ensure it is up to standard.

New Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ACCPA, Tom Symondson, said the peak body is carefully reviewing the draft to see if it will be appropriate for the aged care sector and its workers.

“The key issues for us will be ensuring that the Code is consistent with the Standards, that there are clear expectations for providers in relation to supporting and policing the code, and that staff are afforded natural justice in relation to the enforcement of the Code by the Commission,” Mr Symondson said. 

“We also want to make sure providers have enough time to incorporate the Code into their existing employee training and onboarding programs to avoid wasting scarce time and resources.”

How will the Code affect aged care workers?

The Code comes into effect on December 1, 2022, to establish a set of standards and acceptable behaviours for aged care providers, their governing bodies and aged care workers, including residential aged care, home care and flexible care services.

The Commission will have the power to monitor and enforce the Code and intervene in any instances of mispractice which may include banning or restricting individuals from working in the aged care sector.

The draft outlines eight clauses individuals, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission must adhere to, including:

  • Acting with respect for people’s rights to freedom of expression, self-determination and decision-making in accordance with applicable laws and conventions
  • Acting in a way that treats people with dignity and respect, and values their diversity
  • Acting with respect for the privacy of people
  • Providing care, supports and services in a safe and competent manner, with care and skill
  • Acting with integrity, honesty and transparency
  • Taking all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to all forms of violence, discrimination, exploitation, neglect, abuse and sexual misconduct

The draft comes after years of pushing for the establishment of a Code, including  the Voluntary Industry Code of Practice which was launched in February, 2021 by The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council.

It aimed to encourage the sector to get ahead of consumer and community expectations, but only about 100 aged care providers and organisations have signed up to this voluntary code to date. 

The Commission will host explanatory webinars for aged care workers on Friday, November 11, to assist the workforce in understanding what the Code is and how it will impact them.

Comments on the draft can be emailed to workerregulationse@health.gov.au before October 18, 2022.

For more information on the new Code, visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website

Have you reviewed the draft Code of Conduct? What are your thoughts on having a Code of Conduct in place for aged care workers? Tell us in the comments below.

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