Quality going up

More homes are rating 4 or 5 stars than a year ago, data shows.

The latest star ratings show a sizeable improvement in the quality of aged care homes across the country, according to government data.

Within 12 months of their introduction, the number of facilities with 4 or 5 stars has increased by 15 per cent. In all, 1,329 homes are now delivering good or excellent care – an increase of 352 facilities since this time last year.

The biggest improvement reflected in the star ratings over that time is the quality of care being received by residents, with 98 per cent of aged care homes now delivering acceptable, good or excellent care.

Meanwhile, the number of aged care homes that need improvement has fallen. Just 52 sites (2 per cent) have received 1 and 2 stars – a decrease of 152 since this time last year.

Anika Wells

“One year on and star ratings data show the Albanese Government is delivering its promise to lift the standard of aged care in Australia,” said Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells in a statement.

“Prior to star ratings, residential aged care providers didn’t have a way to benchmark and monitor their performance or improvement over time. Now they do, and it’s proving valuable for their management teams.”

Tom Symondson

Responding to the data, Tom Symondson – chief executive officer of the Aged & Community Care Providers Association – said: “This is extremely positive news and aged care providers should be congratulated.”

In a statement, the chief of the peak added: “We commend providers for their efforts to improve their performance under challenging circumstances. These results demonstrate our sector’s commitment to delivering the highest quality care to older Australians. We thank the minister for her recognition of this effort.”

Comparison and quality improvement tool

Introduced on 1 December 2022, the star ratings system offers an overview of an aged care facility’s performance. Recommended by the royal commission, star ratings aim to help older people, their families and carers compare services and encourage providers to up their game.

Residential aged care homes receive an overall star rating from one to five that is measured against four sub-categories:

  • staffing
  • compliance
  • residents’ experience
  • quality measures.

Under the star ratings system:

  • 1 star indicates significant improvement needed
  • 2 stars show improvement needed
  • 3 stars equal an acceptable quality of care
  • 4 stars suggest a good quality of care
  • 5 stars highlight an excellent quality of care.

“The new figures show 98 per cent of aged care homes are now rated 3 stars or above, a remarkable achievement in the past 12 months,” said Mr Symondson.

Over the course of the year, star ratings have been viewed online 634,529 times. The ratings draw on data from the results of resident surveys, recorded care minutes, the quality indicator program, and regulatory decisions of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

To ensure the sector continues on an upward trajectory, Mr Symondson – who is also a member of the Aged Care Taskforce – called for the industry to be properly funded.

“With over half of residential aged care providers still losing money and the financial position of home and community care providers trending down, getting the funding right will be essential to maintain these current high standards and increasing our capacity to support the growing number of older people over coming years.”

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