What does duty of care mean, and how does this differ from standard of care? It’s important to understand how care is defined and interpreted by your aged care provider, so you can find the best support possible.
What is duty of care as it relates to aged care homes?
At its very essence and in its legal definition, duty of care relates to the responsibility not to cause harm or injury to another person that could be reasonably foreseen. In an aged care setting this requires capable staff, safe premises and quality clinical care. But care goes far deeper than this typical duty of care meaning.
Once the very basics of duty of care are met, it’s of course important to consider standard of care. To provide an example: care is not just providing a plate of food at every meal; it’s ensuring that the meal is nutritionally balanced, full of flavour, made with fresh seasonal food and tailored to each resident’s dietary needs, together with any support they might need while enjoying their meal.
If you’re receiving Australian Government funded aged care services, then you have certain rights that underpin the standard of care that you receive.
The Charter of Aged Care Rights states that you have the right to:
- safe and high quality care and services
- be treated with dignity and respect
- have your identity, culture and diversity valued and supported
- live without abuse and neglect
- be informed about your care and services in a way you understand
- access all information about yourself, including information about your rights, care and services
- have control over and make choices about your care, and personal and social life, including where the choices involve personal risk
- have control over, and to make decisions about, the personal aspects of your daily life, financial affairs and possessions
- your independence
- be listened to and understood
- have a person of your choice, including an aged care advocate, support you or speak on your behalf
- complain free from reprisal, and to have your complaints dealt with fairly and promptly
- personal privacy and to have your personal information protected
- exercise your rights without it adversely affecting the way you are treated.
The seventh right is an important factor, because it relates to dignity of risk. The right aged care home will allow residents to have autonomy over their everyday choices, because being able to take reasonable risk is important to our self-esteem and dignity as human beings. Care team members can maintain duty of care while supporting each resident to do what they want, safely. As one example, a resident might choose to walk to the shops to buy a daily newspaper even if they’re frail. To accommodate this choice, a team member might walk with the resident to keep them company, or check in with the resident to ensure they arrive back safely every day.
At Aurrum Aged Care, our Living Life values are carefully developed with a holistic approach to each resident’s needs. This begins with care planning, where we take into account a new resident’s lifestyle and support needs by speaking with that person and their loved ones. Each resident’s personalised care plan encompasses a range of needs, encompassing physical comfort, information, stability and respect for a person’s preferences and values. In order to meet these care plans we place great focus on providing modern care homes, exceptional people, expert clinical care and quality lifestyle and dining facilities. Great care begins with these aspects but also reaches much further: to things like having friendly conversations with staff, building community connections and the feeling of being at home.
Duty of care is essential, but so is the standard of care. As you begin the process of moving into aged care, it’s important that you choose aged care facilities in Sydney or your city where you will feel respected, valued and supported. You might wish to ask how the aged care provider interprets and meets the Charter of Aged Care Rights. All aged care homes need to meet Aged Care Quality Standards in order to receive government funding, and you can Find a Report for specific aged care facilities to see how they’ve performed over time.
The team at Aurrum Aged Care would be happy for you to visit and see how we put our Living Life values into practice at each of our care homes in NSW and Victoria.