Standard 1 - Requirement (3) (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.
Intent of this requirement
This requirement recognises that making decisions about life, and having those decisions respected, is an essential right of each consumer. This principle means as much as possible that decisions are made by consumers themselves.
A consumer may choose to involve others as representatives in making their decision. For example, the consumer may choose to have a relative, partner, friend as a representative involved in decisions about their care. Where a consumer lacks the capacity to make decisions they may have a court or tribunal-appointed guardian to make decisions on their behalf.
Organisations are expected to recognise the consumer’s social networks, and support each consumer to choose their social connections, including their close or intimate relationships.
Wherever consumer choice is mentioned in this document, it includes the need for consumers to have options and information to support their choice. 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 their agreement with the consumer, their rights and responsibilities under the Aged Care Act 1997, and their obligations under competition and consumer law.
- How does the organisation support each consumer to make decisions about the way they live and understand the care and service options available to them?
- How does the organisation make sure the workforce doesn’t limit a consumer’s choices because they have made a judgement about the wisdom of that choice or what the outcome will be?
- How does the organisation support the workforce to manage issues of consent and work out a consumer’s ability to make decisions?
- If a consumer wants to pursue an intimate or sexual relationship, how would the organisation support them to do this? How would the consumer know the organisation supports this?
Examples of actions and evidence
- Consumers say the organisation supports them to make and communicate decisions affecting their health and well-being and that they can change these decisions at any time.
- Consumers say they are recognised as an expert in their own experiences, and their personal preferences, lifestyle and care and services choices are respected.
- Consumers say they have as much control over the planning and delivery of care and services as they want to.
- Consumers say the workforce respect their independence, including their right to intimacy and sexual expression.
Workforce and others
- The workforce can describe how they have achieved the level of skills or knowledge they need to support consumers to exercise choice.
- The workforce can give examples of how they help consumers make day-to-day choices and help with access to any support the consumer needs to make or communicate decisions, such as an interpreter.
- The workforce can describe the problem-solving steps they take to reach an outcome for a consumer when they aren’t able to meet the consumer’s choice or when a consumer’s choice affects the rights or well-being of others.
- Workforce orientation, training or other records that show how the organisation supported the workforce to meet this requirement.
- Evidence of how the organisation manages situations where the consumer’s decision is different to what another person, such as a family member, might think is in their ‘best interest’.
- Evidence of how the organisation supports consumer choice and independence, and how agreements are reached if they aren’t able to meet a consumer’s choice.
- Records include details of consumer’s representatives and show the key decisions that consumers have made about care and services.
- Evidence the information that the organisation provides to consumers and their representatives, supports their ability to understand the choices available to them.