Providing safe accommodation for vulnerable people
- 27 October 2020 2:53PM
Helping vulnerable people live in safe accommodation is a passion for Miriam. Working as a Regulatory Analyst for the Queensland Government, she assesses residential service providers to ensure they are meeting the legislated benchmarks for service delivery.
Residential services provide accommodation to people on low or fixed incomes, seniors, or people with a disability. These services include boarding houses, aged rental schemes and supported accommodation.
No workday is the same for Miriam. She splits her day between the office and site visits to residential services.
“During a site visit I will walk right through the service and observe how services are provided including the standard of accommodation, meals or personal care,” Miriam said.
“I assess the service provider’s policies and procedures and gather evidence for compliance. I also talk to staff, residents and external agencies to evaluate whether residents’ needs are being met.”
If a service is seen to be neglecting a resident, has received a complaint or is not meeting standards, Miriam works to educate the provider and prepares a Quality Improvement Plan. The plan details the steps a provider needs to take to become compliant.
Food is a common issue for Miriam to address during her assessments. Food served in residential services must meet the standards set out in the Toolkit for Healthy Eating in Supported Accommodation (PDF, 6.4MB).
“Providers must supply foods from each of the five food groups and demonstrate they are catering to the dietary needs of the residents such as allergies and preferences,” Miriam said.
Miriam also investigates complaints about illegal, unregistered services. Unregistered providers face substantial fines and risk closure if they do not apply for registration and meet the requirements listed in the Residential Services (Accreditation) Act 2002.
When Miriam inspects a service, she offers a simple piece of advice on the benchmark service providers should aim for.
“I say, if your mother lived here, what would you improve to make her more comfortable and ensure her safety?” Miriam says.
Miriam says the best service providers have good relationships with their residents and care for their health and wellbeing.
“When a resident is happy you can see it on their face and even in the pride they have for their room, which is their own personal haven,” Miriam said.
“I believe that the service providers who run quality services are unsung heroes. They are meeting a very important and growing need in society.”
For advice on operating a residential service in Queensland, including COVID-19 advice, visit the Business Queensland website.