Projects Aged Care

Independent review of legislative provisions governing the use of restraint in residential aged care

Projects Aged Care

Independent review of legislative provisions governing the use of restraint in residential aged care

Projects Aged Care

Independent review of legislative provisions governing the use of restraint in residential aged care

  • Services

    Evaluation & Advisory

  • Status

    Complete

  • Client

    Australian Government Department of Health

  • Jurisdiction

    Australia

The 'Restraints Principles' are regulations that aim to minimise inappropriate use of restraint in residential aged care.

On 17 January 2019, the Minister for Aged Care announced the government would strengthen regulations on the use of restraint in residential aged care. These regulations, articulated in Part 4A of the Quality of Care Principles 2014, are referred to as the ‘Restraints Principles’, and came into effect on 1 July 2019.

The legislation requires that a Review of the Restraints Principles be undertaken. The Department of Health engaged AHA to conduct the Review.

The specific objectives of the Review were to evaluate whether there has there been a:

  • Reduction in the inappropriate use of chemical and physical restraint in residential aged care since the Restraints Principles were introduced
  • Change in the levels of awareness, attitudes, skills and behaviours in relation to restraint across the aged care sector since the Restraints Principles were introduced.

AHA consulted with a broad range of stakeholders via surveys, interviews and focus groups. Stakeholders included:

  • Staff working in residential aged care
  • Residential care recipients and family members
  • Organisational stakeholders (including peak bodies representing providers, consumers, medical professionals, nurses, pharmacists and allied health workers)
  • Subject matter experts.

We also reviewed a range of secondary data sources, including:

  • National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (the Quality Indicator Program) data for physical restraint
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) dispensing data relating to medicines associated with chemical restraint
  • Data on provider compliance with the Aged Care Quality Standards (the Quality Standards)

In addition, we conducted a literature and environmental scan to explore the background to the Restraints Principles, policy settings and other relevant contextual information.

The final report outlines a number of recommendations relating to the Restraints Principles themselves, along with broader, non-legislative changes to support the minimisation of restraint in residential aged care. The final report was tabled in Parliament on 1 March 2021 and is now published on the Department’s website.

Our final report outlines recommendations relating to the Restraints Principles themselves, along with broader, non-legislative changes to support the minimisation of restraint in residential aged care.