This chapter describes the arrangements in Australia for regulating the quality of long-term care services delivered in the community or in a residential setting. Its focus is on the long-term care of ‘older people’ – ‘aged care’ in Australian parlance. The chapter begins with an overview of Australia’s aged care system and its quality framework, including its place within the broader health and welfare system. It then discusses the arrangements for regulating the quality of residential care, which have been a major focus in recent decades, and the arrangements for regulating the quality of community care, which have a shorter history and are less developed. The chapter then discusses current reforms, which are aimed at better integrating these arrangements within and across programmes, and concludes with some reflections on the key challenges currently facing Australian public policy in this area.
Overview of Australia’s aged care system and its quality framework
Australia’s aged care system is funded and regulated through a complex set of arrangements, involving different levels of government and a diverse range of stakeholders, including informal carers and formal care providers from the not-for-profit (religious and charitable), for-profit and government sectors. These arrangements reflect, in part, the broader Australian health and welfare system, involving a similarly complex range of providers, with responsibilities for funding, regulation and service delivery shared between the three levels of government: federal, state and territory (‘state’), and local (AIHW, 2010, 2011a).