Older Australians have the right to receive safe, compassionate and quality care and services.
The Aged Care Quality Standards (the Standards) aim to protect these rights and treat people with dignity and respect. Our role is to ensure providers meet the Standards.
We expect the strengthened Standards to take effect in 2024. To prepare, we're implementing the Stronger Standards, Better Aged Care Program.
We understand that you may have questions or concerns about the strengthened Standards. We aim to address these with transparency and accountability.
In 2021, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended that the Department of Health and Aged Care (the Department) review the Standards.
They recommended that the reviewed Standards include vital areas such as:
- Food and nutrition
- clinical care.
The Department is now finalising the review and drafting the strengthened Standards. We contributed to the revisions as national aged care services regulator.
For information about the consultation that informed the review, visit the Department website.
About the new program
Our new program will prepare the aged care sector for the strengthened Standards.
As part of the program, we will:
- change how we assess the quality of aged care and services
- focus on building awareness and capacity in the aged care sector
- simplify our processes and resources so they're consistent and easy to understand
- improve interactions by adopting a people-first focus and service delivery mindset.
To learn more about how the Standards are being strengthened, read the:
- Strengthened Quality Standards framework analysis (PDF, 3.9 MB)
- Plenary session from the National Aged Care Provider Conference 2023 (PDF, 4 MB)
The program will also help providers to deliver care that:
- treats people with compassion and respect
- meets people's needs, goals and preferences
- keeps people safe from preventable harm
- engages people with activities and social connection opportunities
- supports coordination between the aged care and disability sectors
- provides accessible ways for organisations and people to speak to us
- prepares us for the strengthened Standards.
It will rely on feedback from organisations and people who receive aged care.
We expect the new Standards to take effect from 1 July 2024. The existing Standards will remain in effect until then.
Our vision and goals
Our vision is to be a world-class regulator. We want to have strong capabilities, effectiveness and accountability.
We're committed to protecting and enhancing the health, safety, and quality of life of people who receive aged care.
We also have end-state goals for providers and people who receive aged care.
We'll achieve our vision and end-state goals by:
- implementing new processes
- continuing to test our assumptions
- engaging with people receiving aged care to understand and improve their experience
- consulting with stakeholders to make sure our resources meet their needs.
For more information, read our Stronger Standards, Better Aged Care Program Vision Statement (PDF, 484 KB).
Strengthened Standards pilot
Early this year we conducted a pilot project on the draft Strengthened Standards to test:
- how the strengthened Standards will be applied in practice
- if the draft Standards support the delivery of high-quality aged care
- a new audit methodology supporting the assessment of performance across the diversity of aged care providers
- how we can support providers to understand and comply with the strengthened Standards.
We engaged Ernst and Young Partnership Australia to partner with us. The pilot involved a sample of 40 providers representative of the aged care sector. Audits started in April 2023 and are now completed.
Overall feedback from the participating providers was positive, indicating they found the audit process:
- more transparent,
- easier to understand
- embraced the natural justice process to ensure they could review and comment before compliance decisions are made.
Findings show areas where content of the Standards could be amended to reduce overlaps and increase understanding. We will share information on the pilot outcomes with the sector in early 2024.
We are also developing a first draft of guidance materials to support providers to implement the strengthened Standards. Workshops are currently being held with aged care providers, the Department of Health and Aged Care, Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and other stakeholders.
We will be releasing the first draft of guidance materials in early 2024 for broader consultation with older Australians, their carers, other providers and peak bodies.
The strengthened Standards tested assessment against 3 gradings:
- minor non-conformance – there are issues with performance but the relative risks to consumers are lower
- major non-conformance – there are issues with performance and the relative risks to consumers are higher
The intention of graded assessment is to provide greater transparency to older Australians and the sector on provider performance and to promote continuous improvement across the sector.
A provider’s response to any areas of minor or major non-conformance will inform the regulatory response to audit outcomes.
We're considering how to apply the best-practice conformance and will identify examples for providers.
Up to Standard video series
In preparation of the strengthened Quality Standards being introduced on 1 July 2024, we’ve created the video series Up to Standard. Here we give you the latest updates and answers to the most common questions we have received about the strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards.
If you have any other questions or feedback about the Standards, please email us at email@example.com to help us to make sure the sector is prepared.
- Strengthened Quality Standards pilot project – Consumer fact sheet (PDF, 634 KB)
- Strengthened Quality Standards pilot project – Provider fact sheet (PDF, 412 KB).
Have your say
We value your questions, suggestions and feedback. We look forward to working together to improve our services to older Australians continuously.
If you have any questions or comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.