In response to the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and the findings of the independent review of legislative provisions governing the use of restraint in residential aged care, the Australian Government has introduced measures to clarify and strengthen the regulation around the use of restrictive practices in residential aged care and short-term restorative care in a residential care setting.
These measures are contained in legislative amendments to the Aged Care Act 1997 and Quality of Care Principles 2014 which commence from 1 July 2021, and which clarify the limited circumstances in which restrictive practices can be used in relation to a consumer, including for use in an emergency.
In addition, the amendments:
• introduce the term ‘restrictive practices’ to describe all forms of ‘restraint’
• make changes to the types and definitions of restrictive practices that may be used or applied and align these with those used in the disability sector under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2018 and National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018. These definitions include chemical restraint, environmental restraint, mechanical restraint, physical restraint, and seclusion
• clarify existing provider requirements regarding consent, monitoring and evaluation, and that any restrictive practice is used as a last resort
• include provisions for strengthening regulation of use of restrictive practices to enable the Commission to issue a regulatory notice when non-compliance with the amended Quality of Care Principles is identified.