Aged Care Reform Updates

Aged Care Reform

Article by 

Lucy Pearson

Over 2 years ago, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report was tabled in Parliament. Since then, we have been achieving meaningful outcomes in reforming aged care in Australia. Read on for everything you need to know about the latest aged care reform updates.

Aged care reform updates

The reforms present us with a unique opportunity to go beyond the recommendations of the Royal Commission to meet the expectations of the next generation. We also want to make sure the reforms enhance the lives of older people, giving them agency, choice and control over the care they receive.

The Star Ratings and Quality Indicator programs are tools to help when it comes to choosing aged care that is right for you or the people you care for.

Compare aged care homes with Star Ratings

A key part of the aged care reform update is choosing an aged care provider is an important decision to make when you or a loved one can no longer stay living at home.

In December 2022, we launched Star Ratings, a system which allows you to make better informed decisions when choosing an aged care home. This was a key milestone in the aged care reforms and delivers a range of benefits, including:

  • consistent quality measures to monitor, compare and improve aged care
  • transparency in the quality of care provided by aged care homes
  • an easy way to compare the quality of aged care homes online
  • engagement from providers to improve their rating = better quality of care for older people.

How Star Ratings work

Aged care homes are given an Overall Star Rating and ratings for 4 sub-categories between 1–5 stars:

  • Residents’ experience – at least 10% of aged care residents are interviewed about their overall experience.

33% of Overall Star Rating

  • Compliance – based on regulatory decisions by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, including compliance with the Aged Care Quality Standards.

30% of Overall Star Rating

  • Staffing – the amount of care minutes delivered by registered nurses, enrolled nurses or personal care workers/assistants in nursing to each resident.

22% of Overall Star Rating

  • Quality measures – information about 5 crucial areas of care (pressure injury, physical restraint, unplanned weight loss, falls and major injury, and medication management). 

15% of Overall Star Rating

The latest update to Star Ratings was published on 31 July 2023.

Aged Care Reform Updates

Each of these sub-categories are updated regularly, with the Overall Star Rating automatically recalculating as new data becomes available. Every quarter of Star Ratings provides an opportunity for providers to show improvement across two or more of the sub-categories.

You can search and view Star Ratings using the ‘Find a provider’ tool on the My Aged Care website: myagedcare.gov.au/find-a-provider

What if your aged care home has a low rating?

Speaking with your provider to help you understand why they have that rating is a great first step. From here, they can tell you what actions they are taking to improve.

However, we understand that conversations with providers can be difficult. If you would like advocacy support, please contact the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) on 1800 700 600.

Alternatively, if you have a concern or complaint that you have not been able to resolve by talking to your service provider, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission can support you to resolve your complaint.

Complaints can be made by:

You can use Star Ratings to explore other options for aged care if you are considering changing providers. More information on changing aged care providers is available:

New Quality Indicators

Quality indicators measure important aspects of quality of care that affect a resident’s health and wellbeing.

Reporting on the quality of care helps:

  • aged care providers improve the quality of their service, based on results
  • older people and their families and carers to make informed decisions when it comes to quality aged care for themselves or a loved one
  • the government to make policy decisions based on the quality of care delivered by aged care providers.

In April this year, 6 additional quality indicators were introduced to residential aged care. These indicators measure important areas of care affecting older people’s health and wellbeing and include:

  • activities of daily living
  • incontinence care
  • hospitalisation
  • workforce
  • consumer experience
  • quality of life.

Importantly, the last two of these six new quality indicators highlight the voice of older people. This is what this reform journey is all about: to make sure older people are consistently placed front and centre of the system and that we’re listening to them.

These new quality indicators add to the five already existing indicators:

  • pressure injuries
  • physical restraint
  • unplanned weight loss
  • falls and major injury
  • medication management.

We plan to introduce more quality indicators including:

  • new staffing-related quality indicators in residential aged care
  • quality indicators for in-home aged care including consumer experience and quality of life measures.

To find more out about aged care reform updates and the Quality Indicator program, visit:
health.gov.au/our-work/qi-program

Free resources for carers and families

If you are a family member or carer of an older person, you may be interested in new free online modules about aged care reform.

The Equip Aged Care Learning Packages, developed by the University of Tasmania’s Wicking Dementia Centre, provides practical and relevant information to carers or family members of older people.

The learning packages covers topics such as:

  • supporting people living with dementia
  • prevention of falls
  • palliative and end of life care.

Modules covering ‘The Australian Aged Care System’, and ‘The Aged Care Quality Standards’ may also be helpful in providing families with a better understanding of how aged care works in Australia.

Each module takes around 10 minutes to complete and the modules are accessible from your phone, tablet or computer.

Visit the Equip Aged Care Learning Packages website for more information: equiplearning.utas.edu.au

Have your say about aged care reforms

We are consulting with older people, their families, and carers as we develop, trial and deliver these changes to make sure our aged care reform and systems meets their needs.

Thousands of people have been involved in shaping the aged care reforms so far – through surveys, webinars, online workshops, consultation papers and in-person events.

There are plenty of opportunities for you to have your say about the changes to aged care reforms:

  • Register to be kept up to date on consultation opportunities and outcomes or sign up to receive our monthly newsletter for older people in Australia – EngAged. Visit the Aged Care Engagement Hub: agedcareengagement.health.gov.au/get-involved
  • Call 1800 318 209 to find out more about the reforms and progress, open consultations and for assistance in completing consultation activities.
  • Talk with us in person at one of the many upcoming events around Australia that we’re attending, including:
    • COTA ACT Spring Seniors Festival – Canberra, ACT

21 September 2023

  • Disability, Ageing and Lifestyle Expo – Adelaide, SA

13–14 October 2023

  • Care Expo – Sydney, NSW

10–11 November 2023

  • Have a Go Day – Perth, WA

15 November 2023

CREDIT

Ageing and Aged Care Group
Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

Information correct as at time of printing

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Comments
  1. you have nothing in victoria!!
    I know of many providers who are just after higher charges, $63 per hour, 69 per hour 79 per hour for house cleaning. I get 36 per our from MABEL! Philippine community deman $25 to give you SELF MANAGE your package. I am finding it too confusing to find and talk with a provider in my area of Latrobe Valley Gippsland. (Morwell 3840) It seems that I have to wait for anyone to get back to me. maybe 2 days or a week or a month.

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