Single quality framework: focus on consumers
The Australian Government is committed to high quality care for older Australians and considers the health, safety and welfare of aged care recipients a high priority. As part of reforms to the aged care system, the government is developing an end-to-end, market-based system with the sector where the consumer drives quality. This includes a Single Aged Care Quality Framework (single quality framework) with:
- a single set of quality standards for all aged care services
- improved quality assessment arrangements for assessing provider performance against quality standards
- a single charter of rights for all aged care recipients
- publication of improved information about quality to help consumers choose aged care and services.
The single quality framework will:
- increase the focus on quality outcomes for consumers
- recognise the diversity of service providers and consumers
- better target assessment activities based on risk
- reflect best practice regulation.
The Department has worked with the sector to develop the Aged Care Quality Standards. Feedback from the 2017 public consultation process, testing by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, and consultations with key stakeholders, including piloting the draft standards, have also informed the new Aged Care Quality Standards contained in the exposure draft of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Single Quality Framework) Principles 2018.
Transition to the new Aged Care Quality Standards has begun. Pending parliamentary processes, the new Aged Care Quality Standards will be set in law later in 2018. Providers will be assessed and monitored against these new standards from 1 July 2019.
The Department will progress this work under the 2018-19 Budget ‘Better Quality of Care’ measures.
Public consultation was conducted on two parts of the single quality framework from March to April 2017 – the draft Aged Care Quality Standards and options for assessing performance against the Aged Care Quality Standards.
The feedback from public consultation and subsequent consultations with key stakeholders has informed the draft standards and is summarised in the Report on the outcome of Consultations on the Single Quality Framework.
The Department is working with the sector to develop a single Charter of rights that will provide the same rights to all aged care consumers, regardless of the type of care and services they receive.
Information on the quality of both residential and community aged care services helps consumers to make informed decisions about their care and services.
Aged care service quality information available on the My Aged Care website to support consumer choice includes:
- improvements to the home care packages service finder, enabling providers to advertise detailed information about their costs and the addition of search fields such as: religion, language, special needs and specialised services
- a ‘non-compliance service finder’ to allow consumers to more easily search for current and archived compliance action taken against residential services and home care package providers
- information about how to find quality services, questions to ask providers when choosing an aged care home, and how consumers’ rights are protected
- information about a residential aged care service’s accreditation status with improved links to the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency‘s accreditation audit reports and consumer experience reports, where available
- an icon in the service finder identifying a provider’s participation in the voluntary National Quality Indicator Program (NQIP) for residential aged care providers.
- updates which aim to make it easier for consumers to find relevant information about complaints, advocacy and quality.
The Department is considering further opportunities for enhancing quality information for consumers in light of the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes.