Care home (rest home) audits ensure a high standard of care in residential care facilities throughout New Zealand. There are several types of audits to ensure facilities are regularly checked.
The purpose of these audits is to confirm that rest homes provide a safe and appropriate level of care for their residents, and that they meet the standards set in the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act of 2001.
The results of rest home audits are freely available on the Ministry of Health’s rest home audit database. NB: For audits conducted prior to 2013, only summary reports are available.
What does a rest home audit cover?
To conduct an audit, a designated auditing agency will visit the care facility to inspect certain areas. This inspection team will include at least one registered nurse.
Audits typically assess areas such as:
- The general environment
- How residents are cared for
- Interactions between staff and residents
- Clinical records, policies, and procedures
The audit inspection team may also interview residents, family members of residents, and staff.
Types of rest home audits
In New Zealand, there are four types of rest home audits that help to determine a facility’s standards and levels of care.
1. Certification audits
Certification audits are undertaken to certify a rest home for a set period of time. The time period is determined by how well the rest home performed in its last certification audit, and can vary from one to four years.
2. Surveillance audits
A surveillance audit can happen at any time, and is unannounced so the facility doesn’t have time to prepare or make changes before the audit. It will typically happen around the middle of a rest home’s certification period, and ensures that standards have not dropped since the last audit.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health can make an unannounced audit in response to a serious complaint, and the local District Health Board can conduct an issues-based audit under the Age-Related Residential Care Contract.
3. Provisional audits
When a provider purchases a certified rest home from another provider, a provisional audit must be undertaken to ensure standards are met under the new management.
4. Partial provisional audits
A partial provisional audit occurs when the provider wishes to add new services to their existing certificate, when a new rest home is built, or when a provider adds capacity or makes changes to existing services.
For example, a partial provisional audit would be required if a rest home built a new wing, upgraded existing rooms, or introduced hospital-level care.
Comparing care homes
Rest home audits help to ensure all New Zealand care homes offer a good level of care. Prospective residents (and their families) can use the results of these audits to help inform their decision-making process.
For audit results, please refer to the Ministry of Health’s database.