Standards and Indicators of Care

Standards and Indicators of Care


As of 1 July 2019 there is a new set of aged care quality standards (Single Quality Framework). The following refers to the 2019 Single Quality Framework, however, please note that these are currently being revised.

The new standards were developed by the Department of Health in collaboration with key stakeholder groups including consumers, carers, aged care service providers, aged care workers and clinicians. The single set of standards apply to all aged care providers in all settings, however, providers only need comply with those standards relevant to the type of care and services they provide. The type of aged care providers covered by the single framework standards are:

  • Residential aged care
  • Transition Care
  • Multi-purpose services
  • Short term restorative care
  • Home Care Packages
  • Services under the:
    • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (NATSIFACP)
    • Commonwealth Home Support Programme

Consisting of eight standards with a focus on consumer-related outcomes, each of the standards includes:

  • A statement of outcome for the consumer
  • A statement of expectation for the organisation, and
  • Organisational requirements to demonstrate that the standard has been met.

The eight standards are:

The Single Quality Framework standards are broadly defined and although palliative care is not explicitly mentioned many of the care standards are highly relevant to the provision of palliative care with its focus on person-centred care and quality of life. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has produced a video for service providers to support compliance with the standards. They have also developed a series of Case Studies for the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Aged care standards and palliative care

The new Standards are applicable to aged care service providers in the context of the care services being provided.

These standards impose a legal requirement to deliver services in accordance with best practice and as such all aged care services have an obligation to consider the applicability of a palliative care within the context of other services.

Under the new standards there are two specific references to end-of-life care:

Standard 2.3 (b) Assessment and planning identifies and addresses the consumer’s current needs, goals and preferences, including advance care planning and end of life planning if the consumer wishes.

Standard 3.3 (c) The needs, goals and preferences of consumers nearing the end of life are recognised and addressed, their comfort maximised and their dignity preserved.

All organisations as part of their care assessment needs will therefore need to be able to address how they have taken these requirements into account.

For more on the place of palliative care in the new Standards, see the Understanding the Standards page.

Measuring quality

The review of national aged care quality regulatory processes (2.11MB pdf) found that the accreditation of residential care providers had resulted in improved quality of care. However, evidence of failures and media reporting of anecdotal accounts of abuse and neglect has led to establishment of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Quality can mean different things to different people which makes it difficult to measure. Assessing quality in palliative care is even more difficult. As quality of care is difficult to measure, quality indicators are often used. These may measure aspects of care given or the experience of care received or the processes in place to ensure quality of care.

Recognising the importance of providing people with better information upon which to make a decision the Government has introduced two initiatives, the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program and Consumer Experience Reports. The first is aimed at providing objective information relating to performance around three key aspects of clinical care and the second is designed to provide information gathered from residents about their experience living in the facility around areas considered important for quality of life. Consumer experience reports can be viewed on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website.

All Commonwealth subsidised residential aged care services must collect and provide quality indicator data against the following quality indicators:

  • pressure injuries
  • use of physical restraint
  • unplanned weight loss.

You can learn more about consumer experience reports in the pages on Consumer Experience.

Page updated 16 December 2021