Transitioning to the Aged Care Quality Standards
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.
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).
The Quality Standards apply to all aged care services including residential care, home care and short-term restorative care, as well as services under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program.
The Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Single Quality Framework Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Instrument 2019 amended the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Rules 2018 (Rules) to provide:
- Consequential amendments to give effect to the Quality Standards on 1 July 2019
- Transitional rules for implementation of the Quality Standards on 1 July 2019
Key changes for aged care providers
Transitioning to a single set of Quality Standards for all aged care services has resulted in temporary arrangements to the assessment and monitoring of aged care services. Providers should make themselves aware of what these changes mean for them.
For more information, download the Aged Care Quality Standards Transitional Arrangements Key Changes Fact Sheet (PDF available)
Accreditation of commencing residential services
The Application for Accreditation form has been updated to reference the Quality Standards. Applications submitted to the Commission from 1 July 2019 should be made using the new form.
This includes a self-assessment tool measuring planning and performance against the Quality Standards. Where an approved provider has submitted an application before the 1 July 2019, and a decision has not yet been made regarding accreditation, the approved provider can expect a decision to be made against the Accreditation Standards (old Standards).
Please contact the Commission to obtain the new Application for Accreditation form. For further information on applying for accreditation and the accreditation process, visit our Accreditation of commencing services page.
Re-accreditation of residential services
Approved providers applying for re-accreditation during the first half of 2019 have received a reminder notice indicated whether their service could expect to have a site audit against the old Standards or the Quality Standards. This was based on the service's accreditation expiry date. Services having site audits on or after 1 July will be assessed against the Quality Standards.
For further information on applying for re-accreditation and the re-accreditation process, visit our re-accreditation of residential services page.
Self-assessment and continuous improvement
From 1 July 2019, all self-assessment information submitted with applications for re-accreditations to measure a provider's compliance with the Quality Standards.
For further information on the self-assessment process and to download the self-assessment tool, visit our self-assessment page.
Self-assessment and continuous improvement will now be more closely linked. Under section 62 of the Rules, providers must have a written plan for continuous improvement (PCI) that explains how they will assess, monitor and improve their quality of care and services, measured against the Quality Standards.
If the Commission requests a PCI, the provider must comply with the request. A provider is also required to revise their PCI where the Commission has made a decision regarding non-compliance with the Quality Standards.
For further information visit our Continuous Improvement page.
Generally, announced and unannounced assessment contacts to assess a service's performance conducted on or after the 1 July 2019 will be measured against the Quality Standards. However, under transitional arrangements, assessment contacts conducted at the end of a service's timetable for improvement (TFI) may assessment performance against the old Standards.
Where a provider has a TFI set (and notified to the provider) prior to the 1 July 2019 that expired on or after 1 July 2019, the Commission will conduct an assessment contact at the end of the TFI to determine whether the quality of care and services provided through the service complies with the old Standards rather than the Quality Standards.
If the Commission identifies ongoing issues during the assessment contact at the end of the TFI, a separate performance assessment may be completed against the Quality Standards.
For further information on the assessment contact process, visit our assessment contact page.
Guidance on the Quality Standards
To assist understanding of, and compliance with, the Quality Standards, providers are encouraged to:
- identify and address areas for improvement in order for the Quality Standards to be met;
- support their staff to understand the requirements of the Quality Standards;
- support aged care consumers (consumers) and their families, carers, and representatives to understand what the changes mean for them; and
- align their systems, policies, and practices with the Quality Standards.
For more information about preparing for the Quality Standards, visit the Guidance and Resources for Providers to support the Aged Care Quality Standards page or watch this video that was developed before 1 July 2019 on how providers can prepare for the Quality Standards:
The Commission and the Department of Health have prepared numerous resource materials to help consumers understand new arrangements and support providers implementing the Quality Standards.
The Commission also distributes information about the Quality Standards through site visits to aged care services and our monthly newsletter. The Commission has been providing, and will continue to provide, education programs and online learning resources
Consumers seeking information and resources on the new Aged Care Quality Standards should refer to our New Standards - Consumer Resources page.
Guidelines for using Aged Care Quality Standards Images
Access terms and permission form to download and use Commission-produced Quality Standards images.
Regulatory Policy help desk
For support in understanding the transition to the Quality Standards, please contact the Commission Regulatory Policy Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.