April 2018

Have your say on the Draft Standards Guidance

In May the Quality Agency will make the draft guidance material on the new Aged Care Quality Standards available for public comment.  See below for details on this consultation - as well as updates on the piloting of the standards and guidance material, development of consumer resources, transitioning to the new standards, and our education program.

About the standards and guidance material

The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency is working with consumers, providers and other key stakeholders to develop guidance material for the draft  Aged Care Quality Standards.  The new Aged Care Quality Standards, developed by the Department of Health, will be legislated from July 2018, subject to Government agreement and parliamentary processes, with a 12-month transition period until assessment against the new standards commences in July 2019. Also see our Guidance on the draft Aged Care Quality Standards web pages.

Have Your Say

For four weeks in May, the draft guidance material on the new Aged Care Quality Standards will be available for public comment on the Quality Agency’s website. This is an opportunity for members of the public to:

  • view the proposed new Aged Care Quality Standards and guidance material
  • understand the minimum requirements for providers of aged care services
  • provide feedback on whether the draft guidance can ensure quality outcomes for consumers.

Feedback received on the drafts will inform the final versions. To participate, see our website from 3 May 2018.

Piloting the Standards

The Quality Agency is continuing to pilot the new standards and supporting guidance material in consultation with providers. We completed Stage 2 testing of the individual standards and guidance material with providers in April 2018. The feedback is currently being reviewed and incorporated as appropriate.

We will soon conduct Stage 3 field testing with a selection of providers in an end-to-end quality audit scenario – where our Quality Surveyors conduct site visits to test the standards and guidance material.

Consumer Resources

The Quality Agency is developing consumer resources to help consumers understand the new Aged Care Quality Standards and how the standards relate to their care. These new resources will include information about the practical application of the quality standards, accreditation process and guidance material, and required consumer outcomes. It will show what consumers can expect and what they can do if these outcomes are not being met.

We have now completed Phase one face-to-face consultations. These have included:

  • one focus group in Sydney with consumers living with dementia
  • two focus groups in the Melbourne area with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) consumers
  • two focus groups in the Melbourne area with Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) consumers
  • one focus group in Brisbane with advocates for vulnerable consumers*
  • four interviews in Brisbane with vulnerable consumers
  • one interview in Caboolture with a vulnerable consumer
  • one focus group in Canberra with residential care consumers.

Planning is also under way for consultation with Indigenous consumers of aged care services to determine their information needs. These consultations will inform the final consumer resources which are expected to be published in July 2018.

Transition Phase

The new Aged Care Quality Standards, developed by the Department of Health, will be legislated from July 2018, subject to Government agreement and parliamentary processes. This means providers have a 12-month transition period until assessment against the new standards commences in July 2019. Service providers are encouraged to use the transition period to:

  • align their system, policies and practices with the new standards
  • support staff to understand the requirements of the new standards, and
  • support care recipients and their families, carers and representatives to understand what the changes mean for them.

During the transition period the Quality Agency will conduct activities to:

  • assist consumers to understand the new arrangements
  • support service providers to understand the new standards
  • equip quality surveyors to assess performance against the new standards
  • continue to obtain feedback on the guidance and assessment process. This feedback will be incorporated as appropriate at the six-month point.

Education on the Standards

The Quality Agency will provide education programs, online learning resources and a series of state-based events to support the sector transition to the new Aged Care Quality Standards.

  • Consumer focus - From July 2018, we will offer a new workshop on consumer engagement for providers and a range of consumer-focused resources.
  • Getting to know the new Standards - From September 2018, we will provide a national program of compliance assistance face to face training in a range of locations including regional areas. We will also make these new Qassist learning resources available online.
  • Better Practice series - Preparing for the new Standards - From February 2019, we will offer a series of state-based events in Adelaide, Brisbane, Launceston, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Note: Until March 2019, the Quality Agency will continue to offer our three foundation education programs addressing the current Aged Care Standards. See our Courses and Workshops pages for details. 

For more information on the count down to the new standards, see our Guidance on the draft Aged Care Quality Standards web pages

*A definition of vulnerable persons is available on the Department of Social Services’ website