Single set of quality standards – the Aged Care Quality Standards
Subject to parliamentary processes, from 1 July 2019, this 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 Program. There will be flexibility in the way the new Standards are applied to different services, as outlined in the explanatory document on how the standards will be applied to different service types.
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.
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 exposure draft of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Single Quality Framework) Principles 2018
- an explanatory document on how the Standards will be applied.
Minor changes to the final draft Standards were made during the legislative drafting process to ensure consistency with the Aged Care Act 1997 and current legislative drafting practices, and to improve the clarity of intent of the new Standards.
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.
The Aged Care (Single Quality Framework) Reform Bill 2018 is currently before Parliament. This Bill lays the foundation for the introduction of the Standards. Following the completion of parliamentary processes and approval by the Minister, the Standards will be set out in legislation.
Transition to the new Aged Care Quality Standards has begun.
Subject to parliamentary processes, 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:
- 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.