older man sitting down looking away and thinking

Are we regulating or regularising aged care restrictive practices?

Anyone moving into an aged care home might wish to take careful stock of who their friends are, writes Dr John Chesterman.

Published: 22 December 2022

In a seemingly benign – but in fact breath-takingly bold – regulatory approach the national Quality of Care Principles now enable friends, in certain circumstances, to authorise the use of restrictive practices on aged care residents. This can include, for instance, keeping a person confined to their room.

The revised principles came into force on 1 December 2022 and put in place for the next two years a new authorisation scheme for restrictive practice usage, providing changed requirements for situations when a person cannot consent to their own restrictive practice. The principles, which are still technically a “disallowable instrument” until March next year, can be accessed here.

Now there is a new hierarchy of substitute decision-makers, the highest ranked among whom can authorise restrictive practices. At the top is an “individual or body” appointed in the person’s state or territory with power to “give informed consent to the use of the restrictive practice.”