Canberra, 5 February 2021 – Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services launched the new Aged Care Voluntary Industry Code of Practice (VICOP/the Code) in Canberra at 10am (AEST) on Friday 5 February 2021. Leaders and experts from the aged care sector joined Minister Colbeck in a robust demonstration of their support. The Code is a first for the industry – a single Code for all aged care organisations, workers and consumers. It is a compelling example of how industry and government can work together to drive meaningful change within and across the aged care sector.
The Code outlines seven principles for providers to follow that demonstrate they are committed, accountable and dedicated to improvement. “The Code helps ‘good’ providers to become ‘great’ and ‘great’ providers to become ‘world class'” says Louise O’Neill, CEO of the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council, tasked with supporting industry in the monitoring and implementation of the voluntary code. “It is the first step for providers to demonstrate the strong action they are taking to ensure older Australians experience a world class aged care system.”
The Code engages providers to offer the best services and supports, focusing on:
- ensuring older Australians, their families, carers and advocates are involved in all decisions about care;
- allowing choice about where care is delivered – at their home, in the community or in a residential aged care facility;
- providing holistic care that not only meets older Australians’ physical needs but their mental, emotional, cultural, social and spiritual needs as well;
- enabling, skilling, and valuing aged care workers to meet the needs of older Australians, and
- making certain the performance of all aged care services are transparent and accessible to workers and consumers.
While it is clear what needs to be achieved, the Code provides flexibility on how aged care services deliver against these outcomes. This will drive innovation and quality improvement.
Aged care leaders are urged to pledge their commitment to the Code (if they have not already done so), whilst consumers, workers and their organisations can state their support of the Code. To sign up, simply visit www.acwic.com.au. A total of 86 pledges have been made to date.
The Council will consult widely with the sector including consumer, workforce, provider organisations and their members – to develop the Code’s governance and processes during the first half of 2021.
The Code of Practice was a key recommendation outlined in the Commonwealth’s aged care workforce strategy A Matter of Care in 2018. The Code’s launch marks an important milestone in the strategy’s implementation.