The new Aged Care Quality Standards – Standard 4: The environment

November 29, 2022 | Quality

Quality Standard 4: The Environment

By Katie Airey, Quality, Risk and Compliance Lead 

As part of the Aged Care reform, the Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC) are undertaking a review of the Quality Standards. On the 3rd November 2022 the DoHAC held a focus group to seek feedback on the draft Quality Standards – Standard 4: The Environment from consumers, aged care providers and workers.

The draft Quality Standards were developed though consultation with stakeholders such as older people, industry, subject matter experts, relevant findings from the Aged Care Royal Commission, discussions with aged care policy areas in other countries and the standards for health care and disability support.

Standard 4: The environment

The draft Standard 4 draws on elements of Standard 5 – Organisation’s service environment along with elements of Standard 3 – Personal and clinical care of the current Quality Standards

The intention of Standard 4 – The Environment, is to ensure older people receive quality care and services in an environment that is safe, supportive and meets their needs. It ensures effective infection control and prevention in order to protect older people, their families, carers and workers.

The Standard retains many of the current concepts including;

  • Safe, clean and well-maintained service environments
  • Service environment that enables people to move freely indoors and outdoors
  • Fit for purpose equipment

And aims to strengthen the focus on the below areas;

Environmental risk assessment in an older person’s home – Providers will support older people to mitigate risks associated to their environment which are relevant to their care and services. The provider is required to undertake environmental risk screening and partners with the older person to mitigate identified risks.

Infection prevention and control – The provider must have infection prevention and control processes in place and ensure workers maintain hygienic practices while providing care and services. Providers must also ensure their processes comply with contemporary evidence-based practice.

Standard 4 – The Environment of the draft Quality Standards requires providers to consider how their environment can promote movement, enable older people to move freely both indoors and outdoors, while also mitigating safety risks.

Standard 4 – Overview

Expectation statement for older people
I feel safe when receiving care and services. Where I receive care and services through a service environment, the environment is clean, safe and comfortable and enables me to move around freely. Precautions are taken to prevent the spread of infections.

Outcomes Statements:

4.1a: Environment and equipment at home
Providers support older people to mitigate environmental risks relevant to their care and services. Where equipment is used in the delivery of care and services or given to the older person by the provider, it is safe and meets their needs.

4.1b: Environment and equipment in a service environment
Older people access care and services in a clean, safe and comfortable environment that optimises their sense of belonging, interaction and function. Equipment used in the delivery of care and services is safe and meets the needs of older people

4.2: Infection prevention and control
The provider has appropriate infection prevention and control processes. Workers use hygienic practices and take appropriate infection prevention and control precautions when providing care and services.

For more details on the draft Quality Standards click here

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