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Serious concerns have been raised for those older people living in substandard aged care homes that achieved only a one or two star rating in the recently introduced star rating system and advocates want urgent improvement plans put in place to protect the welfare of residents.

One in every 10 aged care homes (approximately 270) in Australia only achieved a one or two-star rating as new quality assessment standards came into effect last month – effectively a fail.

Fifty-nine per cent achieved a three-star rating and 30 per cent received four stars. Only one per cent of homes received a five-star rating.

There are about 2700 aged care facilities in Australia.

Star ratings were a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Age Well Quality and Safety and have been introduced to enhance transparency in the sector.

Residential aged care homes receive ratings against four sub-categories: compliance, residents’ experience, staffing and quality measures.

While welcoming the star ratings, the Older Persons Advocacy Network has expressed serious concerns for older people currently living in aged care homes that have received a one-star or two-star rating.

“Star ratings will enable older people and their families to compare quality across residential aged care homes and to make informed choices about where they want to live,” said OPAN chief executive Craig Gear.

“An improvement plan must be urgently put in place for each of these residential aged care homes with oversight by the Age Well Quality and Safety Commission.”

Mr Gear was pleased to see that the majority of residential aged care homes had received a three-star rating or higher.

“While three stars might well be considered a pass, we expect providers to be actively working towards a four or five-star rating through their continuous improvement plans,” he said. “About 30 per cent of providers have achieved this gold standard, which shows it can be done.

“All older people are entitled to five-star care.”

If you have concerns about your residential aged care home’s star rating OPAN recommends:

  1. Review the documentation on the My Age Well website to understand the reasons behind your provider’s low rating.
  2. Ask your provider what plans they have in place to rectify the issue(s).
  3. If you are unhappy with your provider’s response, call OPAN 1800-700-600.
  4. If you have further concerns or are unable to resolve the situation with your provider contact the Age Well Quality and Safety Commission on www.agedcarequality.gov.au or call 1800-951-822.

How to find the star rating of an aged care home

Aged care star ratings indicate the quality of care at an aged care home, allowing comparison between homes and can be found on the My Age Well website.

Homes are given an overall rating from one to five stars based on four key areas – compliance, quality measures, residents’ experience and staff rating.

Some homes may not have a star rating if they are new, under new management, recently re-opened, are experiencing data or IT difficulties, or have received a temporary exemption due to significant health or weather-related circumstances.

Author: Eileen Wood, Senior news journalist at The Senior newspaper