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Quick guide to major reforms in aged care

From new funding models and star ratings, to program reforms and care minutes, we’ve put together this quick guide of some of the major reforms in aged care.

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Quick guide to major reforms in aged care

25 May 2023

News | Home Care, Aged Care Homes

You’ve probably heard there’s a lot of change happening in Australian aged care at the moment. From new funding models and star ratings, to program reforms and care minutes.

But what does it actually all mean?

Navigating the detail surrounding aged care can be tricky for families and their loved ones at the best of times, so we’ve put together this quick overview of some of the main changes.

New Funding Model

The introduction of AN-ACC, which stands for Australian National Aged Care Classification funding model, is a milestone in residential aged care reform.

This new model was introduced by the Australian Government in October 2022 and replaces the old funding model, which was known as the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI).

Under the new model, each resident is independently assessed and provided with an AN-ACC class, numbered from 1 to 13, which determines part of the funding the facility receives from the government to meet the resident’s daily care needs.

The change is important because residential care providers can now best match a resident’s needs with the different levels of care available, from low to high care.

Care Minutes

Later this year, the government will introduce mandatory care minute standards for residential aged care.

The Royal Commission identified staffing levels as vital to the quality of care that older Australians receive.

From 1 October 2023, the average sector-wide target per resident, per day, will be 200 minutes of personal and nursing care (from a registered nurse, enrolled nurse, or personal care worker) and 40 minutes of nursing care (from a registered nurse).

From October 2024, the standards are set to increase to 215 minutes per day of personal care and 44 minutes of registered nurse time.

Star Ratings

Based on measurable information, the new star ratings system is designed to make it easier to compare the quality and safety of residential care facilities.

It offers a consistent means of comparison nationally, encourages greater transparency and continual improvement.

The system takes into account the following to give facilities a rating out of five stars:

  • Compliance: The outcome of reviews by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
  • Residents’ Experience: Face-to-face interviews completed once a year by an independent organisation.
  • Staffing Minutes: Numbers recorded in financial reports.
  • Quality Measures: Data reported regarding pressure injuries, physical restraint, unplanned weight loss, falls and major injury, and medication management.

The star rating system was introduced in December 2022.

Support at Home

To offer better access to care and greater choice for older Australians who need support living independently at home, a new home care program will be introduced. It was originally planned to be implemented in 2024, however, the Government has just announced it has been postponed and will now be introduced from July 2025.

Using a single, independent assessment tool, the new Support at Home Program will provide support plans based on care needs and individual circumstances. It will also better integrate respite care into assessments and service plans.

The Support at Home Program will replace the following three existing in-home programs:

  • Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)
  • Home Care Packages (HCP)
  • Short Term Restorative Care (STRC) Programme

For people currently receiving support under the HCP program, the Support at Home Program will enable them to self-manage their care, including multiple service providers should they choose to.

We will keep you up to date with further changes and developments as information becomes available.

Click here for more information about home care services or residential aged care options at BaptistCare.