Building a strong regulatory framework for aged care
We are continuing to design a new regulatory framework for aged care ($59.4m in 2023-24), to roll out from 1 July 2024. The new framework will be reflected in the new Aged Care Act and will support reforms including those to:
- improve food and nutrition and the dining experience in residential aged care ($12.9 million)
- require residential aged care services to provide residents with Monthly Care Statements on care provided and occurrences of significant change ($1.3 million)
- continuously improve and enhance Star Ratings for older people ($139.9 million)
- expand staffing quality indicators in residential aged care and undertake work to expand the Quality Indicator program for in-home care services ($10.5 million).
To ensure there is no disruption or impact on service delivery, we will work with the sector to:
- further design how the new framework will operate and transition the sector
- design ICT enhancements to support rollout of the framework, including strengthening the Aged Care Quality Standards
- extend the Governing for Reform Program to support aged care leaders to prepare for change.
Older people, their families and carers, will have the information they need to choose a provider and the confidence that the Government is able to keep providers accountable.
A dedicated Food, Nutrition and Dining (FND) Advisory Support Unit established within the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) will improve the quality of food in aged care by providing:
- annual spot checks for up to 720 high risk services
- a dedicated hotline for food complaints, staffed by dietician specialists
- clinical expertise to provide dietary advice to older people and providers
- targeted referrals for dietitian-led menu and mealtime assessments, and linking to food and nutrition education programs.
Aged care residents and recipients will benefit from stronger regulation that promote, mandate and monitor delivery of nutritious, appetising and culturally appropriate food in aged care.
Aged care chefs and cooks will gain guidance and resources, channels to raise concerns and access to expert advice to strengthen their capability.
Boosting monitoring and compliance
- Preliminary Report on the capability review of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission – $25.3 million in 2023-24.
As recommended by a preliminary independent capability review, funding for the ACQSC will continue to deliver core regulatory functions. This additional funding will support the ACQSC to:
- conduct over 1,200 aged care service audits
- monitor compliance of the new requirement for 24/7 registered nursing in residential aged care from 1 July 2023.
Older people, their families and carers, will have the confidence that aged care providers are regularly assessed and monitored for compliance against the Aged Care Quality Standards.
Expanding and aligning aged care worker screening
- Establish National Worker Registration Scheme for Aged Care – $59.5 million over 5 years.
We are continuing to implement the National Worker Registration Scheme (the scheme) to protect older people and professionalise the aged care workforce.
Additional funds will enable the roll out and support of:
- worker screening from 1 July 2024, aligned to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for a nationally consistent, risk-assessed approach
- policy design, ICT development and sector readiness, including linking up with NDIS to create a national database of workers that have been assessed and monitored
- English proficiency and ongoing training requirements from 1 July 2025, with funding for engagement across aged care, health and training sectors to scope and develop requirements.
Older people, their families and carers, will have greater confidence in knowing that aged care workers have been assessed against comprehensive benchmarks.
Aligned screening will enable aged care and disability service providers to benefit from reduced red tape, greater flexibility and access to information sharing systems and a database of assessed and monitored workers.
Aged care workers will benefit from clearer career pathways, access to training and development and a greater sense of professional identity knowing they have been vetted and are trusted to work with older people.