The Department of Health’s aged care regulatory functions have been transferred to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner. As these take effect from 1 January 2020, the content on this page is currently undergoing review. For a summary of key changes, please click here.
PLEASE NOTE: Unannounced re-accreditation audits apply to all applications for re-accreditation from 1 July 2018 and to residential aged care services with an accreditation expiry date on or after 1 January 2019. See our re-accreditation audits web page for more details.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation site audit reports and audit decisions for residential aged care services are published on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission's website. View the Accreditation Reports Search page to find a report on a home.
Accreditation is an internationally recognised evaluation process used in many countries to assess the quality of care and services provided in a range of areas such as health care, long term residential aged care, disability services, and non-health related sectors such as child care. Accreditation has been rapidly adopted by health and aged care services worldwide as part of a safety and quality framework.
Contemporary accreditation programs have both compliance and quality elements that work in a complementary way to promote quality and safety. Accreditation programs focus on continuous quality improvement strategies. They usually consist of a process that involves self-assessment, review or assessment of performance against predetermined standards by an external independent body, and monitoring of ongoing performance against the standards by the accreditation body.
In Australia, residential aged care services are required to be accredited to receive Australian Government subsidies. We have been appointed as the independent accreditation body, and we assess services' performance against a set of legislated Accreditation Standards.
Download the existing Accreditation Standards fact sheet (PDF).
This involves periodic full audits, as well as unannounced visits to monitor continuing compliance with standards.
While the accreditation-related processes invariably involve a relationship principally between us as the accrediting body and the approved provider, residential aged care accreditation exists for the benefit of aged care consumers – care recipients, their relatives and representatives.
Whenever we visit a home, our assessors review documented procedures, observe the practices at the home, and they look at resident records and other documents held by the home such as staff rosters, incident reports, care plans and complaints registers. They also talk with care recipients to get their feedback about their satisfaction with the care and services being provided by the service. Over the course of a year, we will collect the views of around 50,000 care recipients, and their representatives. Evidence of how a home is performing against the Accreditation Standards is based on a number of sources and corroborated, with the focus being on outcomes for care recipients.
The process of accreditation is outlined in the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Rules 2018. Other legislation, notably the Quality Agency Act 2013, the Aged Care Act 1997 and various sets of Principles also apply.
The main elements of the accreditation process are:
- self-assessment by the home against the Accreditation Standards
- submission of an application for re-accreditation (with or without the self-assessment)
- assessment by a team of registered aged care quality assessors at a site audit
- a decision about the home’s accreditation by a decision-maker (not part of the assessment team)
- issue of an accreditation certificate
- publication of the decision on this website
- unannounced visits to monitor services’ on-going performance
Consumer involvement in accreditation