Star Ratings Have ‘Significant Limitations’: ACCPA

The Association of Senior Care and Community Care Providers (ACCPA) has published an opinion piece on the evaluation of the star rating system, noting that consumers do not use star ratings when making decisions about senior care, which is the purpose for which the system was created, and that some subcategories disadvantage certain types of providers.

“We are pleased to note that since the introduction of the star rating system in December 2022, there has been a 15 per cent improvement in the number of care homes with a 4 or 5 star rating,” the application reads.

“However, the star rating system in its current form has some significant limitations.”

The leading 1,100-member organisation of aged care providers has made nine recommendations:

  1. The Department of Health and Aged Care is reviewing the way star rating data is presented on the My Aged Care website and making changes to make it more user-friendly for older people.
  2. The Department should update the My Aged Care website to provide the contextual information consumers need to understand and interpret star rating data.
  3. The Department should update its methodology so that ratings reflect a nursing home’s staffing situation in the most recent quarter, rather than two quarters earlier.
  4. The Department should reassess the Mitigation Practices Quality Indicator to better reflect the fact that there are circumstances in which mitigation practices may be appropriate.
  5. Polypharmacy should not affect the star rating of quality measures.
  6. The Department is to improve resident experience data to ensure that it does not unduly burden residents and that resident experience star ratings are timely, accurate and comparable.
  7. The Department should update the format of resident experience star rating websites to specify how many residents were surveyed in a given care home, allowing consumers to draw more meaningful conclusions.
  8. The Department will undertake a campaign to increase public awareness and understanding of the star rating system.
  9. The Department will conduct an independent technical review of the star rating system.

Allen and Clarke Consulting was awarded a $579,472 contract to conduct an “Independent Assessment of Star Ratings for Senior Care Homes” in February 2024. You can provide feedback on the assessment here.

The Department of Health and Aged Care also awarded consumer data analytics firm Fiftyfive5 a $330,000 contract to conduct market research for its Aged Care Star Ratings system.

Earlier this year, we reported on concerns within the sector that star ratings did not accurately reflect the quality of care homes.

The star rating system was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety to help consumers make informed decisions about aged care.