Australian Government Department of Health
The My Aged Care website and contact centre is the gateway through which Australians can learn about and apply to access government-funded aged care services.
Consumers can search for a local aged care provider that offers the care they need using the My Aged Care Find a Provider tool. Within the Find a Provider tool, providers can indicate whether they specialise in caring for people from 9 different Special Needs Groups (as defined in aged care legislation). These groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI); and care leavers. The recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety heard criticisms of the accuracy of information displayed through the Find a Provider tool, and the lack of processes in place to verify and monitor provider entries.
AHA was engaged to review current processes and guidelines for nominating Special Needs Group specialisations on My Aged Care, and to develop a specialisation verification framework the department can implement to ensure the accuracy of specialisation claims.
Following an initial environmental scan and literature review, AHA conducted interviews and focus groups with representatives of Special Needs Groups and other aged care stakeholders. The purpose of these discussions was to explore the current arrangements for selecting and verifying specialisations, and to elicit participants’ views on what a validation framework could include. This work was complemented by an online survey of aged care service providers. The surveys were designed to:
Together, these findings were used to develop a draft specialisation verification framework.
From here, AHA commenced testing the feasibility of the draft framework with representatives of Special Needs Groups, and assessing the usability of the framework with providers. The framework was then finalised based on feedback received through the feasibility and usability testing.
Once in place, the framework and verification process will provide consumers and their families with greater assurance that aged care providers claiming to specialise in caring for consumers from Special Needs Groups are equipped to meet the unique care needs these groups.
The verification framework will provide consumers and their families with greater confidence in choosing an aged care provider that will meet their needs and preferences.