As aged care services prepare for the new Aged Care Quality Standards, the Commission expects that organisations will be compliant with these Standards from 1 July 2019.

Below is a brief overview of some of the wound care requirements for providers as outlined in the new Standards.

Aged Care Quality Standards Graphic 2018

The new Commission Act and Rules apply to all approved providers of residential aged care services, home care services and short-term restorative care services.

The Act and Rules also apply to Service providers of Commonwealth-funded aged care services. Each organisation is responsible for meeting and determining the methodology of incorporating the Quality Standards.

Commonwealth subsidised facilities are also required to collect and provide clinical Quality Indicator data.

Previously a voluntary program that commenced in January 2016, the National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program will be updated to reflect the now mandatory status of the program in line with the new standards.

These services must measure, monitor and report on three clinical quality indicators:

  • Pressure injuries
  • Use of physical restraint
  • Unplanned weight loss

To collect data for the Pressure Injury Quality Indicator (QI), residents will need to be assessed for pressure injuries once each quarter.

There are six measures to be collected in relation to pressure injuries: Stages I-IV, Unstageable pressure injuries and Suspected deep tissue injuries. The Resource Manual also details the requirements for data collection and accuracy, including seeking consumer permission, conducting a full-body assessment over a set period, defining location/s of the injury etc.

Standard 3 (Personal and Clinical Care) of the ACQS outlines the requirements for safe, effective and best practice personal and/or clinical care, tailored to the consumer needs.

In Requirement (3)(b) the Guidance refers explicitly to pressure injuries, stating that “For high-impact or high-prevalent risks related to the personal and clinical care of each consumer, organisations are expected to use risk assessments to find ways to reduce these risks”, and lists pressure injuries as a “common, higher impact and preventable risk”.

Australian pressure injury trends from Pressure Injury module

Australian pressure injury trends from the Pressure Injury module.

While pressure injuries are prevalent in residential aged care facilities (up to 42% may have a pressure injury), older Australians are also at high risk of other acute and chronic wounds, particularly skin tears, due to age-related skin fragility and coexisting diseases.

Wound care and prevention is complex and should be considered holistically across all 8 Standards.

As such, an organisation-wide approach could ensure optimal outcomes for maintaining healthy skin and avoiding preventable harm.

This approach could include:

  • actively involving the consumer in care plans and decision-making,
  • the usage of equipment, devices, techniques and products inline with best practice guidelines to prevent and manage wounds,
  • ensuring access to educated, trained and credentialed facility staff to identify and manage skin integrity problems and perform skin assessments,
  • incorporating processes that integrate auditable documentation and best practice assessments,
  • evaluating wound prevention strategies and wound management approaches.

For further information on transitioning to the new standards, please visit the Aged Care Quality Standards website and resources: 

Wound Innovations can help facilities transition to the new standards by providing consultations or advice to your staff for residents who have difficult wounds. Wound Innovations tailors education programs to upskill your staff and demonstrate continuous improvement in pressure injury prevention and wound management.

Our program has demonstrated success and has been shown to reduce pressure injuries by 52%, reduce skin tears by 48%, empower staff, provide cost benefits and has been published in the International Wound Journal (Price et al., 2017).

Evidence-based online learning is available for organisations and individuals wishing to refresh or upgrade their wound management knowledge – please view our education page here for full details. Our Pressure Injury and Skin Tear modules provide 6 CPD hours and are valid for 12 months. Our Healthy Skin Module has been developed for Personal Care Workers and provides essential knowledge for skin health in Older Australians.

For further information on Wound Innovation’s services, please contact our friendly team today or call us on 1300wounds.

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