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The Governance Institute has identified the top five governance challenges for aged-care organisations.

They are risk management, workforce planning, compliance with regulations, financial sustainability and non-financial risks.

New standards aim to simplify regulations for providers and encourage innovation, excellence and improvement.  The changes affect Australia’s 2700 aged-care providers and their 366,000 staff.

Under projected regulations, aged-care providers’ governing bodies and boards will be legally accountable for safety and quality.  Does your organisation have an effective governance framework to reflect the new standards?

Labour is expensive in aged care because it’s intensive and requires special skills.  Shortages abound, and more than 50 per cent of those in aged care need even more complex looking after because of dementia.

Filling roles with less-skilled workers may result in a board not meeting its duty of care.  A more responsive, better-skilled and flexible workforce enables providers to deliver higher standards.

Complying with legislation concerning patients’ health and safety is a board’s responsibility.  Does your organisation have the sort of culture that makes compliance easy?

Board members of for-profit and not-for-profit organisations must clearly understand their organisation’s finances, balance sheet and the sensitivity of the business to changes in funding.  Ensuring the solvency of a provider must be top-of-mind for directors.

Boards of aged-care providers need to think beyond dollars. Are there other risks to the business that have nothing to do with finance?

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank emphasised the importance of identifying and managing operational risks, conduct and reputational risks, and risks arising from conflicts of interest.