Single set of quality standards – the Aged Care Quality Standards
From 1 July 2019, the new single set of standards, called the Aged Care Quality Standards, will replace the:
- Accreditation Standards
- Home Care Standards
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program Quality Framework Standards
- Transition Care Standards.
The Aged Care Quality Standards will apply to all aged care services including residential care, home care, flexible care and services under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. There will be flexibility in the way the new Standards are applied to different services, as outlined in the Application of Aged Care Quality Standards by Service Type.
The Aged Care Quality Standards focus on quality outcomes for consumers rather than provider processes. This will make it easier for consumers, their families, carers and representatives to understand what they can expect from a service. It will also make regulation simpler for providers working across multiple aged care services, and encourage innovation, excellence and continuous improvement.
The department worked closely with a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), made up of consumer groups, service providers, academics and experts in the development of aged care or health standards, in developing the new standards.
The department conducted extensive public consultation on the draft Aged Care Quality Standards during March and April 2017. The outcomes of public consultation are summarised in the Report on the outcome of consultations on the Single Aged Care Quality Framework. The draft Aged Care Quality Standards were refined following TAG consideration of feedback from public consultations and key stakeholders and recommendations arising from the independent Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes. The draft Standards were tested for assessability and piloted from February to May 2018. Further information is available on the Quality Agency website.
The feedback obtained through all of these activities assisted the Department to finalise:
- the Aged Care Quality Standards contained within the Quality of Care Amendment (Single Quality Framework) Principles 2018.
- the Application of Aged Care Quality Standards by Service Type which provides information on how the Standards will be applied.
Guidance material has been developed by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (Quality Agency) to support provider compliance and assessment of the Aged Care Quality Standards. Supporting information for consumers is also being developed.
Transition to the new Aged Care Quality Standards has begun.
Providers will continue to be assessed against the current standards until 30 June 2019, with assessment and monitoring against the new Aged Care Quality Standards starting from 1 July 2019. Service providers are encouraged to use the transition period to:
- identify and address areas for improvement in order for the new Standards to be met
- support staff to understand the requirements of the new Standards
- support care recipients and their families, carers and representatives to understand what the changes mean for them.
- align their system, policies and practices with the new Standards.
During the transition period the Quality Agency and the Department will conduct activities to:
- assist consumers to understand the new arrangements
- support service providers to implement the new Standards.
Further information is available on the Quality Agency website.