On 1 July 2019, a single Charter of Aged Care Rights (Charter) came into effect. It replaced previous charters of care recipients' rights and responsibilities.
The comprehensive and concise new Charter provides the same rights to all consumers, regardless of the type of subsidised care and services they receive.
Responsibilities of providers
From 1 July 2019, providers have responsibilities to support consumers to understand the Charter. They must:
- give consumers a copy of the Charter signed by the provider;
- assist the consumer to understand the Charter (how this is achieved will be up to providers and will depend on the needs of individual consumers);
- ensure that the consumer or their representative has been given a reasonable opportunity to sign a copy of the Charter; and
- keep a record of the Charter given to the consumer.
The purpose of requesting the consumer’s signature is to allow them to acknowledge they have received the Charter and had assistance to understand it. Consumers are not required to sign the Charter and can commence or continue to receive care and services, even if they choose not to sign the Charter.
Charter implementation dates
For new aged care consumers
As of 1 July 2019, Charter implementation requirements are to be completed for all new consumers across aged care programs.
For existing aged care consumers
By 31 December 2019, Charter implementation requirements should have been completed for existing consumers receiving residential aged care, home care, short-term restorative care, transition care, Multi-Purpose Services and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program Services.
By 30 June 2020, Charter implementation requirements are to be completed for existing consumers of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
Browse the links below to access our Charter of Aged Care Rights resources:
- Charter of Aged Care Rights poster
- Charter of Aged Care Rights A5 booklet
- Charter of Aged Care Rights Template for Signing. This resource is now available in 18 translated languages including Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Croatian, Dutch, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Macedonian, Maltese, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Access translated versions here.
- Read the ministerial release: Australia signs up for new era of Aged Care rights.
- Find out more about consumer rights in aged care.
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) has a range of resources to support the sector’s understanding of the Charter of Aged Care Rights, including a Charter information phone line, explainer videos and webinars for consumers and providers. For more information please visit the OPAN website.
Note: These resources are not available to order from the Commission's website. Downloadable versions and hard copies of the booklet and poster can be accessed via the links above.
The Charter of Aged Care Rights is easy to read. It focuses on 14 high-level consumer rights. It will make it easier for consumers, their families, carers and representatives to understand what they can expect from an aged care service.
Rights afforded to consumers under existing charters have been maintained through the Charter, the Aged Care Quality Standards, amendments to the User Rights Principles 2014 (User Rights Principles), and other laws that inform the delivery and quality of aged care. This includes rights under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and Commonwealth anti-discrimination law.
In addition, changes have been made to the home care security of tenure provision to include critical consumer responsibilities currently contained in the Charter of care recipients’ rights and responsibilities – home care (for example: payment of fees).
For residential care services, provisions addressing consumers responsibilities were already included in the User Rights Principles 2014 and remain in place.
Standards of care
Aged care services that receive a subsidy from the Australian Government have to meet the Aged Care Quality Standards. These Quality Standards are part of the legislation and set out the quality of care that must be provided to consumers. Our role as the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Commission) is to hold aged care providers accountable to the Quality Standards.
Making a complaint
Any person, including aged care staff, volunteers, professionals, consumers and their families, can make a complaint about an Australian Government funded aged care provider to the Commission. Complaints may relate to any aspect of service including care, choice of activities, discrimination, catering, communication or the physical environment.
Complaints about the aged care service can be made by: