Before providing aged care services
You must be approved to deliver Government-funded aged care services.
You must apply for approval through the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) to deliver Government-funded aged care services.
Once approved, you need to register online with Services Australia to:
- claim Government payments
- submit other online forms
- notify Services Australia of changes.
Responsibilities of aged care providers
Approved providers have responsibilities under the Aged Care Act about:
- the quality of care they provide
- the user rights of people accessing care
- being accountable for the care provided.
Effective governance is vital in delivering safe, quality aged care. The Aged Care Act also sets out requirements for:
- membership of providers’ governing bodies
- advisory bodies to the governing body
- reporting of provider circumstances
- procedures for provider key personnel
- provider reporting obligations.
Read about provider governance arrangements on the ACQSC’s website.
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
The ACQSC is the Australian regulator of aged care services.
The ACQSC also ensures providers comply with quality of care and user rights.
The Quality of Care Principles 2014 include:
- the specified care and services to be provided
- complying with the Aged Care Quality Standards
- requirements for the use of restrictive practices in residential aged care
- incident management and reporting requirements under the Serious Incident Response Scheme
- minimising infection-related risks.
The User Rights Principles 2014 include:
- how much to charge care recipients for services
- complying with requirements relating to fees, costs and charges
- ensuring security of tenure (for residential aged care)
- enabling a person acting for a care recipient, or an advocate or community visitor (for residential aged care), access to services
- meeting requirements for resident, home care and flexible care agreements
- managing and solving complaints
- complying with the Charter of Aged Care Rights.
If you don’t comply with these responsibilities, your approved provider status may be revoked and sanctions may be imposed.
You must also tell the ACQSC when certain changes or events occur to ensure any potential risks in governance are identified.
Code of Conduct for Aged Care
The Code of Conduct for Aged Care sets standards of behaviour for:
- aged care providers
- their governing bodies
- aged care workers.
Compliance with the code ensures safe, respectful and quality care for older people.
The ACQSC monitors compliance and can take enforcement action for breaches of the code. In serious cases, the ASQSC may:
- ban an aged care worker or governing person from working in aged care
- apply a sanction or revoke your approved provider’s status.
Learn more about the Code of Conduct.
Check for valid approval
An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) must assess and approve a care recipient to go into Government-funded aged care.
You must check that a care recipient has current ACAT approval for the care type and level you provide when they:
- move from one service to another
- change their care type
- need a higher level of care
- have a time limit on their approval
- have a break in their care.
You will not receive a subsidy for any day the care recipient does not have ACAT approval.
Privacy and confidentiality
The Government and approved providers can only use personal information about a care recipient for a purpose:
- connected with the provision of care to the care recipient
- for which the care recipient gives personal information.
- protect the care recipient’s privacy
- comply with all applicable laws relating to the use of personal information
- implement security safeguards to protect care recipients’ personal information against loss or misuse
- meet the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1988
- meet obligations in state or territory privacy laws.
Use of protected information
Protected information is information that was acquired under or for the purposes of the Privacy Act 1988 and:
- is personal information, as defined in the Privacy Act
- relates to an approved provider’s affairs
- relates to an applicant’s affairs for approval under Part 2.1 of the Aged Care Act
- relates to an applicant’s affairs for a grant under Chapter 5 of the Aged Care Act.
Any unauthorised release or misuse of protected information is a breach of the Privacy Act and can result in personal penalties of up to 2 years imprisonment.
Care recipients should feel supported to give feedback and make complaints. Their feedback and complaints should be addressed in a reasonable timeframe.
Under the Aged Care Quality Standards, you are required to:
- encourage care recipients, their family, friends, carers and others to provide feedback and make complaints
- make care recipients aware of, and facilitate access to, advocates, language services and other methods to help them make complaints
- respond to complaints
- use an open disclosure process if things go wrong
- review feedback and complaints to improve quality of care and services.