'Be ready for the unexpected' by Nicola Burton, ACC L&D Manager

Our Learning & Development Manager Nicola Burton shares some tips after this week’s news from Minister Ken Wyatt.


This week, the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes was released which includes ten key commendations such as mandatory participation in the National Quality Indicators Program and ongoing accreditation with unannounced visits.

The notion of unannounced visits certainly isn’t a new concept in aged care; facilities have been experiencing yearly unannounced visits for some time, however I think it’s fair to say that organisations have always utilised their preparation time in anticipation of a re-accreditation audit to get all their documentation into check such as:

  • Auditing their resident’s notes and checking care plans, assessments and reviews
  • Revised and updated their quality plan
  • Checked their policies and procedures were current
  • Auditing what education has been conducted

I’ve worked across a variety of accreditation systems through my career in aged care and health and have developed my own system in preparation for audits and accreditation.

This is what I used a Learning and Development Manager in Aged Care.

  1. Always have a plan. You may have a formal Learning and Development Plan linked with the strategic or operational goals for your organisation or it may be as simple as a yearly calendar with education mapped out. Whatever it is, start with how you will meet mandatory/compliance/orientation requirements and any gaps identified during performance analysis. This means you have met the basics.

  2. Next think about what skills and knowledge your staff need to provide the best care or service to your residents/clients? How will you do this? I would always finish mapping my training against the AACQA Accreditation Standards/Expected Outcomes so that I could show we were covering all outcomes.

  3. The big issue then was how did I implement it?
    For me, this is where ACC came in. In my previous workplace we subscribed to the full library. I utilised ACC courses during orientation, mandatory training and for continuing staff development. I used the assessments to demonstrate staff had the knowledge to perform their roles and then the skills assessments provided by ACC to demonstrate they had the actual skill as well. Fortunately, there are courses for every expected outcome so it made it really easy to plan, implement and demonstrate how we met each Expected Outcome.

  4. Document everything. E-learning, face to face, video, group sessions, toolbox talks, short and sharp sessions at handover, newsletters or flyers with educational material, interesting journal articles you’ve circulated should all be recorded on registers or in an LMS. Keep examples of the training you provide for evidence (filed under each Expected Outcome) and think outside of the box of education means to you and your organisation and how you can provide it.

  5. I used to record all education under each Expected Outcome in a summary document.
    This meant that I needed to pull my records it was super easy to find everything. Having it all collated really helped me to check for gaps, because even though you’ve planned it; inservices get cancelled, training can be postponed. A document that you can do a quick visual check to ascertain your progress can be really helpful.

If you’re interested in recording it in the same way, a template for members to utilise has been uploaded to our Support page.

I developed a routine that on the first day of the month, I would update all my quality records and plan. At least then I knew that I was always ready for the unexpected!

We’d love to hear your tips on how you stay prepared, so please feel free to comment below.

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