Shifting the focus from compliance for a resilient aged care industry

Carnes D1

1Virtual Praxis


Title: Shifting the focus from compliance for a resilient aged care industry.

Statutory regulation of quality standards in the aged care sector in Australia has not achieved an outcome of safer care. The Aged Care Royal Commission is about to report resulting in even more pressure to achieve compliance. Unfortunately, punitive approaches to services and/or the workforce create a culture of fear which in turn lead to a culture of coverup and blame.

One of the shortcomings from compliance-driven regulation is that when a problem is identified practice and substandard quality already exist. There is also a focus on risk management and ‘ticking boxes’ to demonstrate compliance trying to prevent things from ‘going wrong’ rather than ensuring the provision of what is needed for things to ‘go right’. It is not safety that is measured but its absence.

Approaches to quality and safety should therefore not only examine what happens when things go wrong (Safety I) and but also what happens when things go right (Safety II). Whilst research and debate tend to focus on the former, the latter of these is more common. It is possible to see how this is achieved through discussion of a consumer-centred approach to medication safety.

Value: From this presentation you will gain an understanding of safety theories applied in other industries and gain an understanding of how adopting these approaches may help create a more resilient and sustainable aged care sector in Australia.

Outcomes: Presentation based on findings of PhD research.


Deb is a Registered Nurse with a long standing interest in safety and wellbeing in the workplace.

She has worked clinically in aged care, rural nursing, emergency and telephone triage in both public and private sectors, as well as a union industrial organiser, political staffer and academic.

In 2015 Deb completed her PhD which examined safety climate amongst nurses working in rural clinical settings and their views of reporting and disclosure of medication error.

She is a member of the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) and in 2019 was selected as one of 6 members to undertake the Health Executives in Asia Leadership (HEAL) conducted by Singapore Health in conjuction with the WHO. Since completing this program she has been a member of the WHO Global Patient Safety Network.

Deb is also a certified Health & Wellness Coach and professional member of Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand Association (HCANZA).

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