Public consultation informs strengthened Quality Standards

Older and younger lady walking and talking

From October to November 2022, we consulted extensively with the public on a draft set of strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards.

We heard from more than 900 people who participated in 18 focus groups, engaged with 1069 people in an introductory webinar, received 873 survey responses and 119 written submissions.

Through this process we heard from older people and their representatives, aged care providers and workers, peak bodies, representative groups, diverse populations and health professionals and clinicians.

Thank you to everyone who gave their time and shared their insights and feedback during the consultation, because aged care quality matters.

To learn more about the insights and feedback that came out of this consultation, you can read the Consultation Summary Report.

What we heard

Overall, feedback on the draft strengthened Quality Standards was positive and constructive.

Many stakeholders commented that the strengthened standards are more detailed and easier to understand than the current Quality Standards and were pleased to see continued and strengthened focus on person-centred care, diversity and cultural safety.

We also received positive feedback on the detailed requirements regarding caring for people living with dementia, provider governance, food and nutrition and clinical care.

There were some key areas where stakeholders told us the strengthened Quality Standards could be improved or enhanced further, including:

  • role of carers and families in a person’s care
  • reablement, independence and quality of life
  • role of a multidisciplinary care team
  • preventative care and prevention of decline
  • promoting mental health and wellbeing, including a holistic approach to the person’s spiritual, cultural, emotional and psychosocial needs.

We also heard a range of views on two main issues:

  • How the Quality Standards will apply to different services

    • Stakeholders expressed differing views on how the Quality Standards should apply, for example to home care, sole traders or for allied health professionals.
  • Level of prescription

    • Some stakeholders expressed a desire for more prescription and detail such as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), while other stakeholders requested less detail to allow more flexibility in service offerings.

A range of other opinions were received across each of the Quality Standards. We also gathered a lot of feedback about supports and guidance for successful implementation and transition to the strengthened Quality Standards.

What we’re doing

We heard your feedback and have made further changes to improve the draft strengthened Quality Standards. This includes addressing identified gaps and areas for further improvement.

Read the updated draft strengthened Quality Standards.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (the Commission) is the national regulator of aged care and is currently undertaking a pilot of the strengthened Quality Standards with almost 40 aged care providers.

The Commission is testing how the strengthened Quality Standards will work in practice. This will help us to understand how the standards apply in different service settings and ensure they are at the right level of prescription. Further information on the Commission’s Pilot can be found on the website.

We are working closely with the Commission to identify what support is needed to transition and implement the strengthened Quality Standards, and our approach is informed by feedback received during the consultation period. The Commission is developing specific guidance and other implementation resources to support the sector.

We will consider the outcomes of the pilot and incorporate further changes to the Quality Standards as required before drafting into Commonwealth law. We plan to implement the strengthened Quality Standards in line with the new Aged Care Act.

To receive updates and information on future consultation activities please sign up to our engagement database and get involved in current activities.

Let's change aged care, together

Every Australian should feel confident about accessing high quality and safe aged care, when and where they need it.

The changes mean Older people will have greater choice and control, services that respect and meet their needs, and support to stay independent as they age.

To find out more and help design the changes, visit the Get Involved page or call 1800 318 209.

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The Department of Health and Aged Care acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.