Care minutes in residential aged care

As an approved provider of residential aged care, you must deliver a certain number of minutes of direct care per day to each resident, including by a registered nurse (RN). Read about care minutes, support for providers and calculating and reporting on care minutes.

About care minutes

Care minutes are the amount of direct care that older people living in residential care receive from:

  • RNs
  • enrolled nurses (ENs)
  • personal care workers (PCWs) or assistants in nursing (AINs) – also known as nursing assistants.

The care minutes responsibility is based on a sector-wide average of 200 minutes of care per resident per day, including 40 minutes of direct care by an RN. 

From 1 October 2024, this will increase to a sector-wide average of 215 care minutes per resident per day, including 44 minutes of direct care by an RN.

See Section 3 of the Care minutes and 24/7 registered nurse responsibility guide for the types of activities that can be counted as direct care minutes.

You can see a Care minutes in residential aged care dashboard which provides an overview of the amount of care minutes being reported across the sector.

Why it is important

Mandatory direct care minutes were introduced in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Mandatory care minutes ensure that older people in aged care homes receive the dedicated care time they need.

Support

The Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model funds the delivery of the care component of residential aged care, including direct care minutes. 

From October 2024, funding amounts will rise to help you meet the increase to 215 care minutes.

Service-level amounts of direct care minutes 

You must deliver a certain number of direct care minutes to residents each quarter. 

This responsibility applies to all permanent and residential respite residents in a service. 

There are exceptions for residents on long-term leave. See Section 4 of the Care minutes and 24/7 registered nurse responsibility guide.

You must also give older people proper care, based on their specific care needs in their individual care plan.

Calculating service-level care minutes targets

To work out the required amount of direct care minutes for your service, use the method set out in section 9 of the Quality of Care Principles 2014. A calculator is available to support you with this. 

We use the same method to work out the care minutes targets for each service. See Care minutes targets in residential aged care by service

You can also view your:

Contact us if you have a query about your published care minutes target. 

Reporting

Your care minutes are determined from the care hours you report in the Quarterly Financial Report (QFR)

Care time reporting assessments check the accuracy of this data. 

Your direct care minutes will be determined from the hours provided by:

  • RNs
  • ENs
  • PCWs/AINs.

Care provided by both employees and agency staff will count towards the amount of direct care minutes.

RNs and ENs must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Work done by the following staff does not count towards direct care minutes: 

  • allied health staff
  • lifestyle and recreational staff
  • clinical funding managers
  • other aged care staff who work in:
    • catering (including plating and serving)
    • hotel services
    • facility and room cleaning
    • maintenance  
    • gardening.

You may still be required to report information on those staff in the QFR.

We continuously review how direct care minutes data is collected in the QFR, including ways to improve these reports.

Read more about care minutes reporting in the QFR.

Compliance

We provide QFR data on your direct care minutes and 24/7 RN responsibility reporting to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) to support its regulatory work.

If you do not meet your direct care minutes responsibility, the ACQSC may take action to address your non-compliance.

Read:

Learn more

For providers

Care minutes and 24/7 registered nurse responsibility guide

This guide provides information about care minutes targets, the 24/7 registered nurse responsibilities from 1 July 2023, and mandatory care minutes responsibilities from 1 October 2023. Learn more about these responsibilities, including definitions and reporting obligations.

For older people

Dashboard

Contact

Care minutes in aged care contact

Contact us if you have concerns about the accuracy of the care minutes targets in the My Aged Care service and support portal.
Date last updated:

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