Aged Care

A Guide to Set Residential Aged Care Facilities Up for Success

Nurse and Aged Care facility resident
AJ Joshi
January 19, 2023
1 min read
Nurse and Aged Care facility resident

Australia is facing an ageing population with 1 in 6 Australians aged 65 and above. It is projected the number of older people will grow to make up approximately 23% of the Australian population by 2066.

This will impose greater pressures on healthcare organisations such as hospitals and aged care facilities. These organisations are expected to face challenges namely growing costs and ability to meet the needs of the older consumers.

This is where the Star Ratings Initiative by the Australian government comes in handy.

Moving forward, let us take a look at:

  • The star ratings programme
  • What is the programme about?
  • Which elements are included in the initiative
  • Advantages and disadvantages of the programme 

What is the star ratings programme?

In response to the Royal Commission recommendation, the star ratings initiative was launched to help Australians make informed choices about the available care options. 

All residential aged care facilities providers are included in this initiative. 

During the assessment, consumer experience interviews (CEI) are conducted with aged care residents. Questions such as “Do you like the food here?”, “ Do you feel safe here?””, etc., are raised during the interviews to understand the lived reality.   

After the assessment, each facility will receive an overall rating between 1 to 5 stars; 5 stars being outstanding, and 1 star being poor standards. They will also receive ratings against the sub-categories.

Star ratings elements

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, the overall ratings are broken down into 4 sub-categories with various weightage.

Consumer experience (33%)

This sub-category has the highest weightage among the others. To assess this element, interviews are carried out by third-party organisations to understand residents experiences while living in aged care. 

Service compliance ratings (30%)

The next sub-category to top the list is service compliance ratings. It is held in high regard to provide senior Australians and their loved ones with greater transparency about the facilities. 

This rating reflects the compliance status of the facility. It also reviews the aged care facilities ability to provide safe and high quality care to their residents. 

Staff care minutes (22%)

The amount of care received by residents is a rising concern due to the high level of staff burnout and staffing shortages. Therefore understanding the amount of care provided is pivotal prior to choosing an aged care facility.

In this star ratings, the staff care minutes look at the number of minutes worked by registered nurses and other aged care workers. Failure to report such data means lack of information during assessment, making it harder for the facility to score. 

Five quality indicators (15%)

Through these indicators, potential residents and their loved ones can better understand the quality of care delivered by aged care institutions. On the other hand, it provides facilities with greater insights on how to improve their processes.

These indicators are:

  • Pressure injuries
  • Physical restraint
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Falls and major injury
  • Medication management: this category focuses on polypharmacy and antipsychotics

Benefits of star ratings

Managing shift in consumer behaviour

Potential residents’ family members are now pivoting to online searches instead.

These changes can be mitigated by the star ratings where ample data on various aged care institutions are available online. Not only does this provide easier access, it also enhances information transparency, empowering consumers to make informed decisions when choosing a facility. 

Aged care facilities can leverage on star ratings 

There are many areas in which the star ratings are useful for aged care institutions. 

Reality check

Firstly, the ratings serve as a form of reality check for aged care institutions. It allows them to understand their positioning as compared to their competitors on an aged care industry scale. 

From there, these findings can expand into the second benefit - insights. Through the information, they can understand which areas the facilities are doing good at, and which areas are underperforming and need to improve.  

Marketing platform

Beyond increased marketing effort, the star ratings can also help to boost your facility reputation. But the catch is, you have to deliver quality aged care and ace the star ratings element. 

Downsides of star ratings

Higher standards and stricter requirements

Aged care institutions may experience greater challenges with the onset of the star ratings. 

One of which is stricter requirements due to the nature of holistic assessment. This places facilities who are not skilled at certain areas at a disadvantage. For instance, facility A may be more skilled at providing great resident experience yet they are going through a staffing shortage. 

This may impact facility A’s star ratings although the extent of the staffing shortage impact is unclear.

Therefore aged care facilities have to come up with strategies on how to improve themselves to match the regulatory standards. 

Increased pressure for low-performing facilities

With the ratings system in place, it is natural for people to liken the ratings of the facility to the quality of care provided. As a result, this would negatively impact their reputation.

Furthermore, low ratings implies huge effort for facilities to upscale in order to ace the elements. This poses a bigger problem for facilities who are already facing economic problems where they may find themselves in the deep end. Thus, it is important for the management team to lay out strategic plans for the facility’s development. 

Tools to aged care facilities can adopt

Experience tracker

By adopting an experience tracker, facilities can understand resident’s sentiments about their stay and how they can further improve the experience. While some may prefer a more close up interaction by surveying the residents directly, they tend to face difficulty during hectic periods. 

Zipline’s experience tracker allows you to track residents or even their loved ones’ experience at various stages. This can refer to registration, treatment, or meal time, and more!

After consolidating the data, Zipline’s powerful reporting tool can group, rank and prioritise the issues brought forth by the residents. With these insights, your management team can effectively come up with corresponding solutions to enhance your residents' experience. 

Compliance management system

Apart from customer experience, the government also places great emphasis on service compliance. This looks at whether aged care facilities are acting in accordance with the regulatory requirements set by the government bodies. 

In some cases, aged care institutions may find themselves lost on how to get started with compliance without the proper tools. This may result in noncompliance and they find themselves involved in lawsuit cases or having to pay hefty fines. 

Our compliance management software can help you overcome the challenges and consequences of noncompliance.                    

In summary

Aged care facilities are under a time crunch to meet the standards with the star ratings set to launch at the end of the year. 

Now that you have a better grasp of the star ratings, are you clueless on where to begin despite wanting to enhance your services?

Zipline is here to help. 

We’ve developed frontline compliance expertise after working with over thousands of facilities like yours. We believe our software has the capability to help set your facility up for success.

Chat with us to find out more!

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