Staffing level rating system could help force funding model rethink

Release date: 14 Oct 2019

The peak body for non-profit aged care providers Aged and Community Services (ACSA) supports the idea of a universally understood and utilised star rating system for staffing levels in residential aged care.


A recently released Royal Commission research report “How Australian residential aged care staffing levels compare with international and national benchmarks” prepared by the Centre for Health Service Development undertakes a comparison of staffing levels in Australian and international homes using a star rating system used in the USA.  It makes the suggestion that such a system could be developed and implemented in Australia.

ACSA supports this system in principle, provided it doesn’t create a two-tiered system. The proposed system includes a range of staff and occupations and acknowledges that residents have different needs which require different levels of support and skills combinations to provide the right support.

“Right now, not everyone is getting the care they expect and deserve and the largest factor in this relates to staffing levels,” ACSA CEO, Patricia Sparrow said.

“Unfortunately, the fact that our staff levels rate so lowly on this US scale is not surprising. Our workforce is under pressure. We are innovating and meeting new standards, but the improvements we are working towards won’t be fully realised without better support from government and community.

“Aged care simply isn’t funded to provide the level of care people expect and deserve. A new direction like this could be exactly what we need to force a rethink and set up Australia for our ageing population and the decades to come.

 “Recently, the focus has rightly been on quality and safety in aged care, but the challenges for our ageing population are bigger than this. We desperately need more workforce, funding and a plan for the future.

 “ACSA will continue to work closely with governments and stakeholders at all levels to help implement programs and protections for older Australians.

“It will be extremely important that in exploring a model like this that we do not set up a two-tiered system. The model must be about guaranteeing a good standard across the board,” Ms Sparrow said.


As the peak body representing church, charitable and community-based organisations providing accommodation and care services to older people, people with a disability and their carers, ACSA can be contacted for comment on issues affecting the industry.

Areas ACSA may provide media commentary on include:  

  • Aged care reforms
  • Residential aged care
  • Home care
  • Independent and retirement living
  • Housing for older Australians
  • Palliative care
  • The aged care workforce in Australia


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