08 May 2023
What are Star Ratings for residential aged care?
8 min read
What is the Star Rating System?
The Star Ratings system is an Australian Government initiative to support older Australians and their representatives to make informed choices about their aged care services. The Australian Government assesses the quality of care at all government-funded aged care homes. Based on these assessments, each home receives a Star Rating as a simple way of showing information about the quality of care they provide and how they compare to other homes.
These Star Ratings have been available for all residential aged care services on My Aged Care since December 2022.
At Estia Health we are committed to continually improving the quality of care and services for our residents. We work cooperatively with government and aged care regulators to implement the ongoing reform program in aged care. We also understand the essential role that we play in meeting the growing need for older Australians to have access to high quality, safe and affordable residential aged care.
What are the benefits of Star Ratings and what do they mean?
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety highlighted the need for a simple and transparent way to compare the quality of aged care homes. Star Ratings were developed in response to the Royal Commission recommendation for a rating system based on measurable information about service quality.
Star Ratings provide:
• A greater understanding of how each residential aged care home is performing
• The ability to benchmark against other homes using nationally consistent quality measures
• The opportunity to see the results of continuous improvement activities through improved Star Ratings
• The opportunity to showcase a home’s performance and the quality of care residents are provided.
When you use the Find a provider tool on the My Aged Care website to check an aged care home’s Star Rating, you’ll see an overall Star Rating between 1 and 5 stars. More stars means an aged care home is delivering higher quality care across the four key areas of performance.
The table below displays the different rating levels and the number of homes nationwide that have received each rating.
What are the Star Ratings based on?
The Star Ratings are based on four areas that are important to older Australians and their families when making a choice about residential aged care:
- Quality Indicators (15%): how an aged care service performs on a relative basis against five different quality indicators.
- Service Compliance (30%): performance assessed by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission against the clinical and quality standards which apply to all providers.
- Resident Experience (33%): scores based on interviews conducted by an independent assessor with at least 10% of older Australians living in residential aged care about their overall experience at their aged care home.
- Staffing Minutes (22%): information about clinical staffing levels against targets set by the Department of Health and Aged Care, which apply from October 2023.
So, lets break these down:
A residential aged care home 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.
Homes 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.
The compliance rating – is the responsibility of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and provides information on the extent to which a residential aged care service is meeting its responsibilities, including the Aged Care Quality Standards – can change any day depending on the findings of the commission.
Rather than having staff ratios in aged care, the focus is on care minutes provided by registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers, which align to the care required by each individual in care.
A new funding model in place for aged care requires homes to meet a minimum average care minute target of 200 minutes a day, including 40 minutes of registered nurse time, from October 1, 2022. This target will become mandatory from October 1, 2023 for all aged care homes, and increase to 215 minutes, including 44 registered nurse minutes, from October 1, 2024.
Once a year all government-funded aged care homes will have an independent surveying team visit to survey 10% of the home’s residents. The aim of this program is to gather important feedback from residents about their lived experiences of care, culture, food and management within the home. Those residents who are surveyed will be asked the following 12 questions
Do staff treat you with respect?
Do you feel safe here?
Is this place well run?
Do you get the care you need?
Do staff know what they are doing?
Are you encouraged to do as much as possible for yourself?
Do staff explain things to you?
Do you like the food here?
Do staff follow up when you raise things with them?
Are staff kind and caring?
Do you have a say in your daily activities?
Do you feel at home here?
Estia Health remains continually committed to improving and listening to our residents and their families. We aim to survey 100% of our residents twice a year through our own Customer Experience Survey program, to hear and learn from their feedback.
Importantly during 2021-22, the Estia Health residents’ and families’ satisfaction rate was 93.2%. In the 12-month period, we received 8112 survey responses from across our homes.
Visiting a place and seeing and talking to staff and residents remains critical to choosing a place for you or a loved one.
Most people looking for the most suitable residential care know as soon as they walk in the door whether it is the right place for them. There is nothing like witnessing first-hand how staff interact with each other and residents, where and how the food is served and what it looks like, the activities and outings on offer and how the rooms look and feel.
We highly recommend and encourage all future residents, family members and carers to book a tour of the home that you are interested in and see how Estia Health can look after your loved one.