Improving quality of life through accommodation design

The Albanese Government is seeking feedback on the draft National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines.

The Hon Anika Wells MP
Minister for Aged Care
Minister for Sport

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The Albanese Government has been working with older people, their families and carers, the aged care sector and design experts to improve the design of residential aged care accommodation.

The Government is now seeking feedback on the draft National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines, which have been developed in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The Government wants to encourage flexibility and innovation in accommodation design and support providers to create safe and comfortable living environments that promote independence, function and enjoyment.

The draft Principles and Guidelines consider a range of design elements, including:

  • accessibility
  • dementia-friendly design principles
  • the role of ‘small home models’ with residents living together in smaller ‘households’
  • needs of diverse communities.

As well as informing new builds, the Principles and Guidelines include improvements that can be made to existing aged care homes.

The Government wants to hear from older people, aged care providers, design experts and those involved in construction and refurbishment projects in aged care homes. 

The National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines will be introduced from 1 July 2024.

A design ideas competition will also be launched later this year to test the draft Principles and Guidelines.


Quotes attributable to Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells:

“Your feedback will ensure the Principles and Guidelines provide a comprehensive, evidence-based resource to guide accommodation design and put quality and dignity back into aged care.

“Accommodation that is more homely and less clinical provides familiar environments for older people – and a sense of belonging.

“Better design will also provide improved working environments for the workers who provide care.

“The Principles and Guidelines will explain how to make simple changes that can have enormously positive impacts on residents and staff. For example, people can experience sensory overload when they are in cluttered environments.

“Floor coverings in solid colours with matte finishes can reduce confusion and make it easier for people to walk around.

“Evidence shows that long corridors can be confusing for residents living with dementia and difficult for people with reduced mobility, increasing demands on staff.

“The guidelines will show how corridors can be improved when they are shorter or when seating, landmarks and good lighting are used.

“The Principles and Guidelines will show how to create a variety of outdoor spaces that encourage access to and use of outdoor areas.”



The guidelines and more information can be found here:

Improving accommodation in residential aged care | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care



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