Published by: Anita Courtney, Victor Harcourt, Dr Melanie Tan, Riaza Rigby
Following the commencement of the new restraint rules (found in Part 4A of the Quality of Care Principles) in July 2019, aged care providers have been waiting for the outcome of the Standing Committee’s review of the rules.
On 26 November 2019, amendments to the rules were incorporated into the Principles by the Quality of Care Amendment (Reviewing Restraints Principles) Principles 2019.
What does the review mean for aged care providers?
Following the conclusion of the Joint Committee’s report and a Senate disallowance process, the government has resolved to keep Part 4A in place but to make a handful of amendments to clarify that they do not override the principles that otherwise apply. In particular:
• The rules do not override the principle that the prescribers of chemical restraint (be they medical practitioners or nurse practitioners) must obtain informed consent before prescribing; and
• Reference should be made to the relevant state/territory laws about who can make medical decisions or provide informed consent when a consumer can’t provide consent themselves. In other words, this makes it clear that the normal principles as to who can provide consent for the use of restraint applies. A provider cannot therefore rely on an informal representative (whether family or otherwise) to authorise restraint on an ongoing basis.