Improving accommodation in residential aged care

The Australian Government is working with older Australians and the aged care sector to improve the design of residential aged care accommodation.

Consultation and design principles and guidelines

We are creating a new residential aged care accommodation framework, including design principles and guidelines, to be introduced from 1 July 2024. These are being developed in response to recommendation 45 of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Final Report.

The new design principles and guidelines will focus on creating more accessible, dementia-friendly and home like living environments. This aims to improve quality of life and wellbeing for older Australians.

We have heard about what is important in the design of high-quality residential aged care accommodation from:

  • older Australians, their families and carers
  • the aged care sector, including providers, peaks and stakeholders
  • technical experts, such as architects, dementia advisors, accessibility experts and health professionals.

The first stage of consultations involved the release of two discussion papers and a design survey. A summary of the feedback can be found on the Aged Care Engagement Hub.

The findings informed the second phase of targeted consultations being conducted by the University of Wollongong.

In developing the new residential aged care accommodation framework, consultations are focusing on:

  • developing national aged care design principles and guidelines that promote safer, more innovative accommodation options, accessibility and enablement
  • creating dementia-friendly services
  • demonstrating the use of the new design principles and guidelines
  • empowering older Australians and their families with information to guide their choice in a residential aged care home.

Benefits of the new design principles and guidelines

Older Australians

The new design principles and guidelines will improve the quality of life for older Australians in residential aged care. In developing the design principles and guidelines, we are taking into consideration:

  • preferences of older Australians
  • the role of small-home models
  • dementia-friendly design
  • accessible design
  • suitability for diverse populations
  • location
  • appropriate safety features, including infection control
  • encouraging innovation.

Older Australians, especially those living with cognitive impairment or dementia, will benefit from better quality accommodation design and more choice. By adopting national design principles and guidelines, we will give people entering residential aged care greater confidence that the aged care home they choose will be better able to meet their needs.

Older Australians, their families and carers were invited to give feedback through a design survey on characteristics they think are important in residential aged care.

Residential care providers and technical experts

With clear design principles and guidelines to help guide capital works for both refurbishments and new builds, we can create accessible, safe, user-friendly environments for residents and support high-quality care.

Residential aged care providers and technical experts have been consulted. They provided feedback on the proposed residential aged care accommodation framework in response to our discussion papers:

Keep in touch

Consultation has included a range of activities to engage older Australians, their families and carers, the aged care sector and technical experts. To receive notification of future opportunities, please sign up to the Aged Care Engagement Hub.

Contact

Contact us for information about the residential aged care accommodation design consultation: accommodationdesign.reform@health.gov.au.

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