Standard 1. Consumer dignity and choice
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Guidance and Resources - Standard 1 (PDF, 496.31 KB)
(1) I am treated with dignity and respect, and can maintain my identity. I can make informed choices about my care and services, and live the life I choose.
(2) The organisation:
(a) has a culture of inclusion and respect for consumers; and
(b) supports consumers to exercise choice and independence; and
(c) respects consumers’ privacy.
Click on the links below each Requirement to view the Guidance material, including:
- Intent of the Requirement
- Reflective questions
- Examples of actions and evidence
(3) The organisation demonstrates the following:
(a) Each consumer is treated with dignity and respect, with their identity, culture and diversity valued.
(b) Care and services are culturally safe.
(c) Each consumer is supported to exercise choice and independence, including to:
(i) make decisions about their own care and the way care and services are delivered; and
(ii) make decisions about when family, friends, carers or others should be involved in their care; and
(iii) communicate their decisions; and
(iv) make connections with others and maintain relationships of choice, including intimate relationships.
(d) Each consumer is supported to take risks to enable them to live the best life they can.
(e) Information provided to each consumer is current, accurate and timely, and communicated in a way that is clear, easy to understand and enables them to exercise choice.
(f) Each consumer’s privacy is respected and personal information kept confidential.
Purpose and scope of the Standard
Standard 1 is a foundation standard that reflects seven important concepts. These concepts recognise the importance of a consumer’s sense of self. They also highlight the importance of the consumer being able to act independently, make their own choices and take part in their community. These are all important in fostering social inclusion, health and well-being.
Dignity and respect – Being treated with dignity and respect is essential to quality of life. It includes actions to recognise consumers strengths and empower them to be independent. It means communicating respectfully and recognising and respecting a consumer’s individuality in all aspects of care and services. Dignified and respectful care and services will help consumers to live their lives the way they choose, including social and intimate relationships.
Identity, culture and diversity – All aged care organisations are expected to deliver care and services that are inclusive and do not discriminate. Care and services are expected to be responsive, inclusive and sensitive to culturally and linguistically diverse consumers. They are also expected to be responsive, inclusive and sensitive to consumers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex. They are also expected to be responsive, inclusive and sensitive to consumers who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
The consumer defines their own identity and this should be respected and not questioned. Respecting the identity, culture and diversity of a consumer, means understanding their needs and preferences. Organisations are expected to provide care and services that reflect a consumer’s social, cultural, language, religious, spiritual, psychological and medical needs.
Cultural safety – The consumer defines what cultural safety is. It’s their experience of the care and services they are given and how able they feel to raise concerns. The key features of cultural safety are; understanding a consumer’s culture, acknowledging differences, and being actively aware and respectful of these differences in planning and delivering care and services.
Choice – The consumer’s right to make informed choices, to understand their options, and to be as independent as they want, all affect quality of life. The organisation needs to provide genuine options that support choice. The workforce needs to involve, listen to and respect the consumer’s views and communicate with the consumer about their choices.
Consumers who need support to make decisions are expected to be provided with access to the support they need to make, communicate and take part in decisions that affect their lives. When a representative is appointed to make decisions for a consumer, it’s expected that an organisation manages this according to relevant law and best practice guidance.
Providing choice also includes care and services that the organisation might not provide itself, that it could help the consumer to access. These services could be from other specialist providers or individuals, or they could be services from other organisations that are better placed to support the consumer’s needs.
The location or environment may limit access to particular care and services. There may also be situations where consumers won’t be able to have unlimited choice, such as if their choice negatively affects other people. In these situations, it’s expected that the organisation will take reasonable steps to find alternatives that can help meet the consumer’s needs and preferences.
In all cases, it’s expected that organisations manage consumer choices in line with the Aged Care Charter of Rights, their agreement with the consumer and other responsibilities under the Aged Care Act 1997, as well as their obligations under competition and consumer law.
- Dignity of risk – Dignity of risk is about the right of consumers to make their own decisions about their care and services, as well as their right to take risks. Organisations need to take a balanced approach to managing risk and respecting consumer rights. If a consumer makes a choice that is possibly harmful to them, then the organisation is expected to help the consumer understand the risk and how it could be managed. Together, they should look for solutions that are tailored to help the consumer to live the way they choose.
Organisations have other responsibilities for the health and safety of the workforce and others in the service environment. In meeting these obligations the organisation is expected to show how they involve the consumer and look for solutions that have the least restriction on the consumer’s choices and independence.
- Information – Giving consumers timely information in a form and language that they understand is vital to their ability to make an informed choice and make sure they can get the most out of their care and services. The needs and abilities of each consumer will affect the kind of information and how it’s communicated. Organisations are expected to address barriers to effectively communicating information, taking into account health status, cognitive or sensory ability, and language.
- Personal privacy – A key part of treating a consumer with dignity and respect is making sure their privacy is respected. The organisation needs to make sure the behaviour and interactions of the workforce and others don’t compromise consumer privacy. Organisations are also expected to respect each consumer’s right to privacy in how they collect, use and communicate the consumer’s personal information and manage this according to relevant law and best practice guidance.
Assessment against this Standard
For each of the requirements, organisations need to demonstrate that they:
understand the requirement
apply the requirement, and this is clear in the way they provide care and services
monitor how they are applying the requirement and the outcomes they achieve
review outcomes and adjust their practices based on these reviews to keep improving.
Standard 1 supports all of the other Aged Care Quality Standards and is essential to providing consumer-centred care.
- Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth), User Rights Amendment (Charter of Aged Care Rights) Principles 2019
- Aged Care Act 1997 (section 11.3) Meaning of people with special needs
- Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), Schedule 1, Australian Privacy Principles
Resources and references
- Aged Care Sector Committee Sub-Group (2017). Aged Care Diversity Framework
- Aged Care Sector Committee Sub-Group (2019). Aged Care Diversity Framework action plans
- Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (2016). Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Health 2016-2026
- Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing, Inclusive Service Standards
- Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre (2018). Supported decision-making in aged care: A policy development guideline for aged care providers in Australia. (2nd edition)
- La Trobe University (2013). Sexuality Assessment Tool (SexAT) for residential aged care facilities
- La Trobe University (2016). The Rainbow Tick Guide to LGBTI Inclusive Practice