With the star ratings of Australian aged care homes now publicly available, let’s examine the four subcategories that star ratings are composed of, explore what we should know regarding reporting requirements and find the answers to the most frequently asked questions by Australian aged care providers.
In order to check, simply log in to the My Aged Care Portal, click on the ‘Staff Administration’ tile and review the administrator roles assigned to your care home.
What is made available to the public?
Each aged care facility has been be assigned an overall star rating from one to five displayed on My Aged Care. This rating is available to be viewed by the public as a measurement of the quality of service being provided at that aged care facility.
Overall star ratings are an amalgamation of four sub-category ratings which is also visible to the public and rated individually from one to five stars.
The four sub-categories and their impact on overall star ratings are as follows:
The rating of residents’ experience in a facility is based on Consumer Experience Interviews (CEI) which are conducted by a third party that interviews residents anonymously.
These interviews consist of a set of 12 questions. Each question has four possible responses, all of which have a point value ranging from one to four. The point value of each response is then multiplied by the percentage of care recipients at the facility that have the same response. These points are then summed up to create a total score for the sub category which – like the overall Star Rating – is also graded from one to five stars.
A facility’s score for Resident Experience has the greatest impact on overall star rating at 33%.
If an aged care home refuses to allow residents to participate in the survey they will automatically receive a one star rating for the Resident’s Experience sub-category which will have a significant negative impact on overall Star Rating.
Star ratings in the sub-category of compliance are based solely on decisions of non-compliance by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and the Aged Care Quality Standards.
A rating of one star is given to facilities that have an active sanction, a Notice to Agree or a Notice of Requirement to agree and an infringement. A rating of two stars is given to facilities with an active Notice to remedy or Compliance Notice. Facilities with no current non-compliance or with directions to support their improvement receive a score of three stars. Four stars is allocated to services that have had no non-compliance issues for at least one year, while homes that have avoided non-compliance for three successive years are awarded a five star rating.
A facility’s score for Compliance contributes to 30% of the overall Star Rating.
Services with a one or two star compliance rating will automatically have their overall rating capped to the same amount of stars as they received for the Compliance sub category. For example, If a service has received a one star rating due to an active sanction, that service will be unable to have a greater overall Star Rating than one star.
Star ratings in the sub-category of Staffing relate to the amount of care received from a registered nurse, enrolled nurse or personal care worker relative to each facility’s individualised target which is based on the An-ACC case mix of residents.
Care minutes that inform a services Staffing scores are reported by aged care providers in the Quarterly Financial report. On average, care minute targets equate to 200 minutes total care time from a registered nurse, enrolled nurse or personal care worker.
Staffing makes up 22% of the overall Star Rating.
Data from the most recent Quarterly Financial Report is being utilised to inform the aged care sector’s inaugural Star Rating which is due to be released in the coming days.
Quality measures gauge performance in crucial areas of care such as falls and major injury, unplanned weight loss, pressure injuries, medication management and physical restraint.
Data for the five quality indicators are reported through the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program which is then adjusted and utilised to inform a services Star Rating in the Quality Measures sub-category.Three of the quality indicators are adjusted to allow for fair comparisons between aged care facilities. These include pressure injuries, unplanned weight loss and falls and major injury. Scores from one to five are awarded for each of the quality indicators for a total score out of 25 which produce a Star rating for this sub-category.
A service’s Star rating for Quality Measures contributes to 15% of the overall Star Rating.
The new quality indicators do not currently inform Quality Measures, however, this has not been ruled out for the future and is subject to a decision by the Government.
What do the stars represent and when will they be updated?
When viewed in relation to a service’s overall Star Rating, one star indicates that significant improvement is needed. Two stars indicates that some improvement is needed. Three stars is an indication of an acceptable quality of care. Four stars implies a good quality of care while five stars is reserved for services that have been found to deliver an excellent quality of care.
The sub-category rating will be updated at the following intervals:
Residents’ Experience Rating – updated annually
Compliance Rating – updated daily
Staffing Rating – updated quarterly
Quality Measures Rating – updated quarterly
The information will filter through in close to real time and updates to Star Ratings will be made accordingly.
Star Rating published on My Aged Care will be available to view historically for up to three years, regardless of any future changes to a service’s Star Rating during that time.
According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, the Star Rating system will be assessed at regular intervals to understand how it drives the behaviour of providers, if it is useful for informing consumer choice and if it is driving continuous improvement.
How will facilities with new owners be scored?
New facilities or facilities with new owners will have a New Provider label applied to their profile for a period of 12 months unless the facility has been issued a decision on non-compliance.
Initially, new facilities will have no visible Star Rating, but sub-category ratings will appear as it becomes available. Star Rating for the Staffing and Quality Measures sub-categories will become available after two consecutive quarterly reports but no service with a New Provider label will be issued an overall Star rating until the facility has been rated across all four sub-categories.
What can I do if I have concerns about a compliance rating?
Providers that disagree or are seeking further information regarding the compliance rating of a service can contact the Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1800 951 822.
If a service has a compliance action in place and believe they’ve already provided the evidence of their compliance to the Commission, they can contact the Commission at the contact centre or via the contact details on their original compliance notice. The Commission can also be contacted to obtain information regarding the progress of a decision.
The Commission will also have a specialist team on hand to troubleshoot any technical issues around the Compliance Rating with providers and the Department.
Will providers be able to add context to their publicly visible Star Rating?
Star Ratings are a standardised rating system that was designed to provide consumers with a clear, simple indication of a service’s level of quality, although aged care providers will have the opportunity to enter text in the summary information section pertaining to a service on My Aged Care.
This offers providers the opportunity to share more information about their service which could include contextual information about different areas of your service and recent improvements that have been made.
Providers can access and update a service’s summary information section via their provider portal.
Is there a way for providers to control their own narrative and tell a more complete story?
While the sample size being used to gauge resident experience at a facility is limited, scores for this sub-category have the greatest impact on overall Star Rating – despite not telling the full story.
However, there is a way for providers to equip consumers with the resident experience data required to make a fully informed choice.
Aged care providers that employ their own independent data collection and benchmarking have the distinct advantage of being able to provide prospective consumers with much more comprehensive insights into the experience of their residents.
CarePage, Australia’s leading aged care feedback monitoring and tracking platform, currently provides close to 30% of the aged care market with vital independent data and analysis.
CarePage measures resident experience by using the same Department of Health’s Customer Experience Report (CER) currently being used to inform the Resident Experience sub-category for Star Ratings, but they do so using a far greater sample size of residents.
Resident experience surveying conducted by CarePage is also updated in real-time, which is far more efficient than being forced to wait for up to three months for an update to appear on My Aged Care.
This information can then be presented to potential consumers in the form of a widget that showcases the full story of resident experience when they visit a provider’s website.
For more information on how to take control of your narrative, get in contact with CarePage today.