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.
The information on this page is for home services. This includes home care services, Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) services and flexible care services through which short-term restorative care is provided in a home care setting.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program will have a quality review under the Quality Framework.
Key changes for aged care providers
Commencement of the Aged Care Quality Standards
On 1 July 2019, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Commission) began assessing and monitoring the quality of care and services against the Aged Care Quality Standards (Quality Standards).
Please see our Transitioning to the Aged Care Quality Standards page. It includes a transitional arrangements fact sheet about the key changes for providers.
Commission Act and Rules
For information about changes for home service providers when the Commission was established on 1 January 2019, please see our Key Changes under the Commission Act and Rules page where you access fact sheets that include:
- Quality Review key changes fact sheet
- Commonwealth Home Support Programme key changes fact sheet
- Consent to access premises key changes fact sheet
What is a quality review?
A quality review is conducted at least once every three years. It is the process of reviewing the quality of services delivered against the Quality Standards. The process includes a notification of a quality review, a site visit, an interim quality review report and a final quality review report.
Notification of quality review
A quality review must include a site visit to the premises of the home service provider of the service. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner (Commissioner) will generally give the service written notification of the date or dates of the site visit to the premises of the home service provider. This will include a form of words for telling consumers and their nominated representatives about the site visit.
If the Commissioner considers, on reasonable grounds, that the home service provider of the service is not complying with the Quality Standards, prior notification of the site visit is not required.
Informing consumers and nominated representatives
If the home service provider has been advised of the dates of the site visit, the home service provider must take all reasonable steps to use the form of words in the written notice, to tell each consumer and their nominated representative about the site visit.
Ongoing self-assessment helps home services to ensure they maintain and improve the quality of care and services they deliver to their consumers. Home service providers will be requested during quality reviews to provide self-assessment information that demonstrates their performance against the Quality Standards. Providers may use their own self-assessment tools and methods or they may choose to use our template.
For more information, please visit our self-assessment page.
Quality review site visit
Upon arrival at the premises, quality assessors will request consent to enter the premises and exercise search powers for regulatory purposes. The quality assessors will show their credentials and give the person of the service who is in charge at the service a letter confirming the visit.
The quality assessors will interview the person in charge of the service. This will include asking the following questions to identify key areas of risk:
- Have there been any adverse findings by another regulatory agency or oversight body in the last 12 months? (e.g. HealthCare Complaints Commission or similar, Food safety authority, WorkCover etc.)
- What trends do your complaints data show you?
- Has the service had unfilled shifts in the last month?
- Does the service have specific strategies to help staff provide care to people living with dementia? If so, what are these?
- Does the service have a process to identify and respond to changes in the condition of consumers? If so, what are these?
Quality assessors will assess the quality of care and services provided through the home service against the Quality Standards. Quality assessors use a standardised assessment methodology, using interview, observation and document review, to gather and corroborate information.
As part of the quality review, quality assessors may conduct a site visit to premises on which the service is provided. This may include the site of a contractor (for example, for offsite meal preparation) or the home of a consumer receiving home services. Quality assessors must request consent to enter these premises.
Interviews with aged care consumers or their nominated representatives
Prior to the quality review, consumers or their nominated representatives may contact the Commission to provide feedback about the care and services they receive.
If a consumer or their nominated representative asks to meet with a quality assessors during the site visit, the home service provider must take all reasonable steps to assist the quality assessor to meet privately with the consumer or their nominated representative.
Interim quality review report
The quality assessors will provide an interim quality review report with their assessment of the provider’s performance in relation to the service against the Quality Standards to the Commission within 7 days of the end of the site visit. A copy of the report will then be given to the home service provider as soon as practicable.
Responding to an interim quality review report
If the home service provider wishes to respond to the interim quality review report they will have 14 days to do so after receiving the report.
The home service provider's response will be considered by the Commission in preparing a final quality review report.
The response should present factual information about how the service meets the Quality Standards. It should include actions have been taken or are planned to meet the Quality Standards to ensure adequate and sustainable services for consumers.
Providers should consider all information provided in reports when preparing their response or when planning continuous improvement to the care and services to consumers.
Final quality review report
The Commissioner will prepare a final quality review report within 20 days of the interim quality review report being given to the home service provider. The final report will include an assessment of the home service provider's performance in relation to the service against the Quality Standards. The report will specify any areas for improvement should there be any failure to meet the Quality Standards, as well as the timetable for making those improvements and arrangements for assessment contacts.
Please read our page on Non-compliance with the Aged Care Quality Standards for more information.