The aim of all health and community services is to deliver high quality, appropriate care and support to clients. Standards and guidelines that are devised to aid healthcare professionals in delivering quality service are more effective when the performance of service providers is independently reviewed.
AHA is pre-eminent in Australia in undertaking quality assessments of services funded by government, in the health, disability and community care sectors. AHA has a large team of qualified assessors who each year conduct over 200 quality assessments of service providers. Over the past 10 years, AHA has visited and conducted quality audits of more than 2,000 service providers across Australia, on behalf of seven different Commonwealth and State/Territory government departments.
We also develop quality standards and assessment frameworks for various governments. For example AHA recently completed the following, which are now being implemented:
- Victoria’s new DHS Standards and assessment framework, encompassing all Department of Human Services (DHS) funded disability, child, youth, family and housing services.
- Quality Standards and Framework for Services Funded under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (DoHA).
A recent Victorian government fact sheet to service providers advised that 'AHA has a lot of experience and knowledge of standards and quality'.
Our many projects for governments demonstrate our:
- Extensive experience and comprehensive knowledge of all relevant quality frameworks in Australia.
- Expertise in developing, trialling and implementing quality standards, frameworks and tools on behalf of government
- Vast experience in managing and conducting major quality assessment programs for Australian and state/territory governments, over many years
- Expertise providing quality training and educating for service providers and government personnel.
A feature of much of our work is our ability to successfully engage and encourage service providers to embrace quality as a practical and valuable part of their ongoing operations. Our approach to conducting quality assessments is that it should be a positive and beneficial experience for most service providers.
A recent survey of the agencies assessed by AHA indicates that the vast majority (92%) viewed the assessment program positively
. Similarly, 87% believed that they obtained excellent or good benefits
from their assessment. This is regarded as an outstanding outcome for a quality assessment program and demonstrates the benefits of AHA’s collaborative approach.
Our assessment programs are a consultative and professional review of documentation, organisational systems, quality of care and compliance with quality guidelines. Our reviews recognise the importance of having qualified, well trained staff to deliver care to clients and good management and coordination which are supported by effective systems.
Our methodology is based on the accumulative experience gained from previous and current reviews of family and children’s services, community nursing, residential aged care, HACC services, disability services and services for Aboriginal people. We are aware of the realities of providing services, the outcomes of improving service quality and the consequences when providers fall below minimum standards. At all stages of our reviews, we provide responsive and highly practical support, advice and compliance assessment to service providers, as well as close liaison roles with government departments and peak bodies.
Quality assessment programs undertaken for governments include:
- Approximately 1000 HACC service providers in the ACT, Victoria and Tasmania, over two rounds of assessments. Following the first round of assessments from 2003 to 2004, AHA was reappointed by each jurisdiction to conduct their second round assessments from 2007 to 2009. These reappointments, separately by each jurisdiction, demonstrate the quality of our work.
- Community Care Common Standards (CCCS) Quality Reviews for HACC funded organisations in the ACT (31 organisations), undertaken in 2011; and CCCS Quality Reviews for HACC funded organisations in Victoria, to be undertaken between July 2012 – May 2014.
- Over 700 Community Nursing and Personal Care providers nationally, funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), over six years
- Organisations funded by FaHCSIA under the Family Relationships Services Program, across Australia. Up to 2011 AHA has assessed over 150 funded organisations nationally.
- Appointed by DHS Victoria to conduct quality assurance reviews against the Community Service Organisation (CSO) Registration Standards, for approximately 69 Community CSOs in Victoria, including providers of community based and residential services. AHA previously reviewed 49 CSOs.
- Appointed by Queensland Health to conduct independent external assessments of child protection services. Assessments will be allocated to AHA on an ongoing basis over 3 years to 2014.
Projects to develop, pilot and implement quality standards, frameworks and tools, include