How the new National Safety and Quality Health Service standards could impact Allied Health professionals

 

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care recently released the Second Edition of its National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) standards. These include some new areas that a wide range of allied health professionals including speech therapists, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists will need to be aware of and may need to be accredited in.

 

Cognitive impairment and mental health issues are top of mind

Under the NSQHS standards, health service organisations will need to show that their staff have considered both cognitive impairment and mental health issues when caring for patients. To meet these requirements it may be necessary to put in place policies and procedures to identify these issues in all patients and to complete cognitive screening for patients over 65 years of age in particular.

Cognitive impairment and

mental health issues are important when caring for patients.

 

The health literacy of patients and carers must be considered

Organisations must make sure that their staff communicate to patients, carers, families and consumers in a way that they understand. This means information needs to take into consideration their education and cultural background and be easy to understand. This extends to the infrastructure, policies and processes within  organisations affecting how patients understand and access information and services.

 

End-of-life care must be comprehensive

Allied health professionals have a significant role in helping patients at the end of their life. 

Comprehensive care must be provided to patients at the end of their life. This means organisations need to put in place processes to identify patients at the end-of-life and give them access to specialist palliative care advice if they require. Organisations must also provide access to supervision and support for the health professionals who are providing end-of-life care and enable them to work with families to make shared decisions. This adds significant responsibilities to the role of allied health professionals who help people at end-of-life.

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health requires special attention

Organisations need to be culturally aware and address the health needs of all people.

The standards require organisations to make sure that your staff specifically address the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This includes how an organisation is governed and improving the cultural awareness and competency of all staff. For allied health professionals, this may include developing new partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to identify, understand and meet the healthcare needs of their patients.

 

Health service organisations will be assessed under the new standards from 1 January, 2019. To prepare, you may want to partner with a recruitment specialist who can help you identify where you may need additional support and help you find allied health professionals who understand what is required under the NSQHS standards.