This page contains a wide range of resources for consumers so they can better understand the new laws and guidelines that are now in place to help eliminate or reduce the use of restrictive practices in aged care settings.
If you are an aged care provider, please visit the provider resources page
If you are worried about the care you or someone else is receiving you can raise a concern or make a complaint with us on 1800 951 822.
You can also talk to someone at the Older Persons Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600 for support.
We care about the safety and wellbeing of consumers in aged care
Aged care consumers have the right to:
- safe and quality care
- to be treated with dignity and respect, and
- to live without abuse or neglect.
The Australian Government is committed to helping consumers access a world class aged care system.
It is why it has introduced significant changes to legislation that govern the use of restrictive practices in aged care settings so it is only used as a last resort.
When is it okay to use restrictive practices?
On 1 July 2021, legislation was strengthened and clarified to ensure restrictive practices in aged care settings are used as a last resort to prevent harm, and only after best practice behaviour supports have been considered, applied and documented.
If required, it must only be applied in the least restrictive form, and for the shortest period of time, following careful consideration of the impact on the consumer.
Providers must also ensure consent has been given by the consumer or their substitute decision maker before applying a restrictive practice.
Use of restrictive practices in an emergency
The legislation allows for the temporary use of restrictive practices in the event of an emergency without regard to some of the legislative requirements including the consumer’s or their substitute decision maker’s consent.
This exemption allows a provider to appropriately and rapidly respond to an emergency to protect a consumer, or another person, from immediate harm.
Once the emergency is over, the legislative requirements regarding the use of restrictive practices for aged care consumers applies as normal.
It is expected providers will be actively engaged in a consumer’s day-to-day care and support needs including behaviour support planning. This understanding and engagement will reduce the likelihood of emergencies occurring.
More information on use of restrictive practices in an emergency is on page 9 of the RB 2021-13 Regulation of restrictive practices and the role of the Senior Practitioner, Restrictive Practices
Behaviour support plans – improving care for consumers
It is now a requirement for all residential aged care providers to have behaviour support plans (BSP) in place for consumers that need them.
BSPs protect the rights, safety and wellbeing of senior Australians are at the centre of care planning and delivery.
For full details on BSPs, visit our consumer page on restrictive practices
We continually develop new resources and information to keep consumers and their families informed about legislative changes and reforms.
What are restrictive practices?
The Commission has developed a package of resources to help consumers understand the new restrictive practices requirements.
It includes a poster, guide and a short video that outlines what restrictive practices are and in what situations they can be applied.
Information is also provided to explain how consumers, or their families, can contact the Commission if there are concerns about how restrictive practices are being used.
Restrictive practices scenarios
We have put together a range of scenarios to help providers understand the issues around the use of restrictive practices in aged care settings.
The Regulatory Bulletin is a targeted communication resource to assist providers in understanding specific requirements and processes that fit into the aged care regulatory framework.
- RB 2021-13 Regulation of restrictive practices and the role of the Senior Practitioner, Restrictive Practices
Understanding consumer rights
- Charter of Aged Care Rights explainer video - this short video outlines the 14 rights contained in the Charter of Aged Care Rights, and aims to help consumers understand these rights and how to exercise them.
- Your Human Rights in Aged Care - further explores how consumers can exercise their rights.
Consent and decision-making
- Consent for medication in aged care – fact sheet provides information on the importance of consent when consumers are prescribed or taking medication in an aged care setting
- Dementia Australia provides information about the particular considerations of people with dementia, their families and carers, in relation to planning for changes in capacity and decision-making
- Supported decision making consumer handbook – a guide for people living with dementia, family members and carers produced by the Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre.
State and territory resources
Depending on the state and territory where a consumer with impaired capacity lives, there are differences in who can lawfully make decisions on their behalf, and in which circumstances.
For more information visit:
- ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal
- NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal
- NT Office of the Public Guardian
- QLD Civil and Administrative Tribunal
- SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal
- TAS Guardianship and Administrative Board
- VIC Civil and Administrative Tribunal
- WA Office of the Public Advocate
Knowing when medication can be used
- Medication. It’s your choice – The Commission partnered with OPAN to develop resources to raise awareness about the issues relating to psychotropic medicines. This dedicated webpage has a full suite of resources including:
- explainer video
- webinar series
- Reducing Use of Sedatives video – The RedUSe program promotes quality and appropriate use of sedatives, in particular antipsychotics and benzodiazepines, in residential aged care services in Australia, and assists with reducing use of these medications whenever possible.
Resources to support CALD communities
We have developed a range of storyboards to illustrate key behaviours and priority issues to support culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.
These can help support consumers whose English or literacy levels may be a barrier when it comes to accessing content, and are relevant to all providers and consumers, their families and representatives across the aged care sector.
- Minimising restraint in Residential Aged Care Facilities’ storyboard user guide
- Minimising restraint in Home Services’ storyboard
We have additional resources available to support consumers in relation to the Charter of Aged Care Rights, Quality Standards, advocacy and interpreter services, finding an aged care service, and understanding the Service Compliance Rating.