CONSUMER GUIDE TO ACCREDITATION
Residential aged care services

What standard of care can I expect in residential aged care?

The Accreditation Standards set clear expectations of the core standards of care and services for aged care homes receiving government subsidies. The four standards cover:

1. Management systems, staffing and organisational development

Within the philosophy and level of care offered in the residential care service, management systems are responsive to the needs of care recipients, their representatives, staff and stakeholders, and the changing environment in which the service operates.

2. Health and personal care

Care recipients' physical and mental health will be promoted and achieved at the optimum level in partnership between each care recipient (or his or her representative) and the health care team.

3. Care recipient lifestyle

Care recipients retain their personal, civic, legal and consumer rights, and are assisted to achieve active control of their own lives within the residential care service and in the community.

4. Physical environment and safe systems

Care recipients live in a safe and comfortable environment that ensures the quality of life and welfare of care recipients, staff and visitors.

Under these four standards there are 44 expected outcomes that set out the expectations of the quality of care and services.

What is accreditation?

All residential aged care homes must be accredited by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (Quality Agency) in order to receive Australian Government subsidies. The Quality Agency undertakes a site audit to assess the home's performance against the Accreditation Standards. This is done when a home applies for accreditation and each time re-accreditation of the home is due.

The home has an opportunity to respond to the audit findings before an accreditation decision is made. The accreditation decision is based on the audit report, any response by the home, any other relevant information and whether the home undertakes a process of continuous improvement. Homes are usually accredited for a three year period, however the Quality Agency may revoke, or vary a period of accreditation.

How are consumers involved in the accreditation process?

The consumer's experience of the quality of care and services is an important part of the site audit. This ensures that the consumer experience is considered in decision making by the Quality Agency. A minimum of 10% of residents and representatives are interviewed by the Quality Agency. Representatives may include family members, enduring power of attorney or any other representatives of the resident.

The home must notify residents, or their representatives, of the date of the audit so they have the opportunity to meet with the assessment team to provide their views as to the quality of care and services provided.

Information provided by residents and their representatives is used alongside an assessment of management practices, systems and processes through interviews, observations and review of documentation.

You can contact us at any time about the quality of care and services of a home by ringing 1800 288 025.

What can I expect of a home between accreditation audits?

Continuous improvement is central to quality and safety within a home. This includes acting on feedback and taking action to improve services and outcomes for residents. The Quality Agency requires homes to have a plan for continuous improvement that explains how they will continuously improve the service. You can see the Quality Agency's audit findings related to continuous improvement at a home, in the published accreditation report. This is listed under the Expected Outcomes 1.1, 2.1, 3.1 and 4.1.

The performance of homes against the Accreditation Standards is monitored through annual unannounced and case management or monitoring visits between the accreditation audits. The Quality Agency may arrange for a review audit if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the home may not be complying with the Accreditation Standards.

Every year, a home may be nominated for a Better Practice Award. These recognise exemplary programs, practices and improvements implemented by the home. You can view better practice award winners at the Better Practice Awards page on our website http://www.aacqa.gov.au/providers/promoting-quality/better-practice-awards.

Where can I find accreditation reports for a home?

Every accreditation audit and review audit report, along with the Quality Agency's accreditation decision is published on the Quality Agency's website. This helps ensure that information about aged care services is available to residents and prospective residents to enable them to make informed decisions about their care. You can find the accreditation report and the Quality Agency's accreditation decision for each home on the Accreditation Reports Search page on the Quality Agency website.

Where can I get more information?

My Aged Care

Find information about the services you need and what you need to do to receive them. There is also a national contact centre that can answer your questions.

Website: My Aged Care at www.myagedcare.gov.au

National contact centre: 1800 200 422

Aged Care Complaints Commissioner

The Australian Government has appointed an independent Aged Care Complaints Commissioner to handle and investigate any complaint about a Commonwealth-subsidised aged care service. Any person can make a complaint to the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner, including care recipients, family members, friends, staff, volunteers, or professionals. Complaints may relate to any aspect of services including care, choice of activities, discrimination, catering, communication or the physical environment.

Complaints about an aged care service may be made to the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner: