President’s commentary: The urgent need for good governance in the aged care sector

It has taken a royal commission and a global pandemic but the aged care sector is finally receiving the attention it deserves and the scrutiny it needs.

Systems are being overhauled as a greater focus is being put on the safety and wellbeing of some of society’s most vulnerable people. This is not an easy task for aged care providers, as I have seen from observing the individual complexities of differing ageing and health conditions of my in-laws (now deceased) and my own parents, now in their mid-80s. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions as we care for the aged in our community, but there are certainly some standards we should aim to achieve.

There is still so much more that needs to be done.

The ongoing spotlight of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety as they investigate the impact of COVID-19 on aged care services will help.

And to further assist the embattled sector and place a renewed emphasis on good governance in the growing industry, Governance Institute has just relaunched its Adding value to governance in aged care guide.

This should be mandatory reading for those currently on the board of an aged care provider or anyone considering taking on a board position in the sector.

We’ve kept the guidance very practical and concise, updating it with the latest available data about the industry, included a copy of the Aged Care Quality Standards (which have put an additional focus on organisational governance), plus a new section on clinical governance.

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I would like to thank our General Manager, Policy & Advocacy Catherine Maxwell for her excellent work on this guide, as well as everyone else involved.

More than one million people currently receive aged care services in Australia and by 2050 this is expected to grow to more than three and a half million Australians.

The operational and regulatory challenges for the industry are becoming increasingly complicated and the health needs and expectations of consumers are growing steadily more complex at the same time.

There’s no doubt it’s a challenging industry, but given the current spotlight on the sector and the lessons emerging from this, it’s clear that the aged care sector must develop a heightened governance focus.

Governance Institute is delighted to be partnering with Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) to present a series of courses on governance in aged care. You can find out more about these here.

Click the link for a full list of Governance Institute Board and State Council members. 

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