Single set of aged care quality standards
The Department has worked with the sector to develop a draft single set of consumer-focused quality standards.
The Department has developed a draft single set of quality standards called the Aged Care Quality Standards to 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 Program. There will be flexibility in the way the new standards are applied to different services
The Aged Care Quality Standards will 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 has been working 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.
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. Since then, the draft Aged Care Quality Standards have been refined in consideration of feedback from public consultations and key stakeholders, testing of the draft standards for assessability, and advice from the TAG.
The draft Aged Care Quality Standards and an explanatory document on how the standards will be applied have been published to advise stakeholders of changes since public consultation.
Guidance material is being 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.
In addition to the testing already undertaken by the Quality Agency, a pilot of the draft Aged Care Quality Standards and guidance material will be undertaken from late January to April 2018. It will involve a number of service providers and consumers from across Australia. Further information is available on the Quality Agency website.
The Department is also preparing for the required legislative amendments to the Aged Care Act 1997, the Quality Agency Act 2013 and the associated Principles.
The Department will keep the sector informed of developments regarding the progress of the new Aged Care Quality Standards.
Subject to agreement by the Government and parliamentary processes,transition to the Aged Care Quality Standards is expected to commence from 1 July 2018, with assessment against the Standards from 1 July 2019..Providers will have a 12 month transition period during which they will continue to be assessed against the current applicable standards.
Service providers are encouraged to use the transition period to:
- align their system, policies and practices with the new standards
- 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.
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.