A new star rating system for aged care is giving existing and potential residents and their families helpful insight into the quality and staffing levels of an aged care facility.
Four key performance areas covering residents’ experience, staffing levels, compliance and quality measures are each given an individual star rating. These ratings are then combined to provide an overall rating which is made public on the My Aged Care website.
For many people, this will be the most consistent measure of whether aged care accommodation meets independent requirements for a good, average or poor facility.
A one-star rating indicates significant improvement needed; two stars indicate improvement needed; three stars indicate an acceptable quality of care; four stars indicate a good quality of care and a five-star rating indicates an excellent quality of care.
There has been one round of ratings revealed since the system was launched in December 2022, with about one-third of the 2,700 aged care facilities in Australia receiving four or five stars, two-thirds receiving three stars and one-in-10 receiving one or two stars.
How care is measured
The data is collected quarterly, with zero-star ratings given to providers who fail to report on each area.
The compliance rating, which is the responsibility of the existing Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, provides information on the extent to which a residential aged care service is meeting its responsibilities.
A service that receives a one-star compliance rating (which would occur if it was sanctioned or found to be punishing anyone who complained to the Commission) will receive an overall one-star rating, regardless of how they perform in other sub-categories. Services that receive a two-star compliance rating (if they were issued a compliance notice under the current system) cannot receive an overall star rating higher than two stars, regardless of how they perform in other sub-categories.
To understand the experience of residents, 12 questions are asked, for example – ‘do staff treat you with respect’, do you feel safe here, ‘do you get the care you need’, and ‘Are the staff kind and caring’. Responses can vary from never to always.
At least 10% of older Australians living in residential aged care will be interviewed face-to-face about their overall experience at their residential aged care home by a third-party vendor each year.
Anyone currently living in or considering a facility with a low rating should feel empowered to ask what management is going to do about improving things.
They will become an increasingly important tool in the planning and decision-making process.
Oracle Aged Care advice
Our financial advisers providing advice in aged care hold Specialist Accreditation as an Aged Care Steps Professional and are recognised as FPA Aged Care Specialists.