NDIS participants in residential aged care

Residential Aged Care providers supporting NDIS participants became registered with the NDIS Commission on 1 December 2020

On 1 December 2020, residential aged care (RAC) providers delivering services to NDIS participants in their facilities automatically became registered NDIS providers. This means that as of 1 December 2020, RAC providers supporting NDIS participants were required to meet the obligations of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act) and the NDIS (Provider Registration and Practice Standards) Rules 2018, in relation to the NDIS participants they support.

Prior to 1 December 2020, residential aged care (RAC) providers and workers providing support to NDIS participants were required to comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct, and the NDIS Commission could handle complaints about such RAC providers and workers in relation to NDIS supports and services. The exemption had been planned to end on 30 June 2020 but was extended due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aged care sector.

These arrangements give effect to a decision made by all Australian governments to ensure NDIS participants have access to the same level of safeguarding, no matter where they live.

NDIS participants living in RAC are dual participants of the NDIS and aged care systems. This regulatory approach affords NDIS participants coverage across all NDIS Commission functions, including reportable incidents and behavior support. The approach is proportionate, recognising the existing regulation that RAC providers continue to be subject to under the Aged Care Act 1997.

RAC providers, like all NDIS providers, are required to comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct in supporting NDIS participants. From 1 December 2020, RAC providers who were registered with the NDIS Commission are also required to comply with relevant NDIS Practice Standards.

Letter from Registrar to RAC NDIS Providers

The NDIS Commission Registrar, Samantha Taylor PSM, wrote to all RAC registered NDIS providers in May 2021 responding to a number of questions from the sector. The letter and attachment can be found here.

Transitional Arrangements for RAC Providers

Transitional arrangements for RAC providers that commenced regulation with the NDIS Commission on 1 December 2020 were implemented on that date. These were set out in the National Disability Insurance Scheme Legislation Amendment (Transitioning Aged Care Providers) Rule 2020 (the Transition Rule). Transitional arrangements are in place for:

  • Registration of residential aged care providers as registered NDIS providers
  • NDIS Worker Screening; and
  • Positive Behaviour Support (these transitional arrangements have now expired).

NDIS Provider Registration

RAC providers with NDIS participants at 1 December 2020 were automatically registered as NDIS providers under the class of support (also known as registration group) 0115 - Assistance with daily life tasks in a group or shared living arrangement.

RAC providers were sent a certificate of registration from the NDIS Commission. The certificate of registration includes details of the registration, including the period for which the registration is in force and any conditions that apply to the registration.

Registration Renewal Requirements

RAC providers that were automatically registered with the NDIS Commission did not need to immediately undertake the audit process against relevant NDIS Practice Standards that is required of new applicants for NDIS provider registration.

A phased approach is being taken to the date when each transitioned RAC provider is required to commence the NDIS registration renewal cycle, including undergoing a third party audit against the relevant NDIS Practice Standards. Transitioned RAC providers have been advised of their registration renewal date on the certificate of registration that they received from the NDIS Commission. Registration renewal allows an assessment of the suitability and capability of the RAC provider to maintain NDIS provider registration.

All RAC providers supporting NDIS participants must commence registration renewal before their certificate of registration expires. Commencement of registration simply requires logging on to the NDIS Commission portal and clicking a button. Providers then have nine (9) months to complete the full renewal process, including a third party audit. For information or support in commencing renewal, please contact the NDIS Commission’s Registration Team on 1800 035 544 or by emailing Registration@ndiscommission.gov.au.

The arrangements for audit against the NDIS Practice Standards will take account of alignment with the Aged Care Quality Standards and minimise regulatory burden on providers, without reducing safeguards for NDIS participants.

We have created a flow chart explaining the registration requirements for RAC providers.

Guidance material is under development to assist RAC providers to prepare for and undertake an NDIS audit.

NDIS Worker Screening

From 1 February 2021, registered RAC providers are required to ensure that workers (staff members and volunteers) in risk assessed roles have:

These requirements under Part 6 of the Accountability Principles 2014 include a police check and, if necessary, a statutory declaration stating that the person has not been convicted of certain offences.

An acceptable aged care provider check will no longer be valid after three years having passed from the date the police certificate was issued (before 1 February 2021).

Compliance with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Practice Standards – Worker Screening) Rules 2018 is a condition of registration for all registered NDIS providers under the NDIS Act 2013.

We have created a flow chart explaining worker screening requirements for RAC providers.

See our fact sheet for more information about how the NDIS Worker Screening Check affects registered RAC providers.

There is also guidance available for identifying risk assessed roles for workers and personnel supporting NDIS participants in registered residential aged care facilities.

Aged care providers that are also registered NDIS providers

From 16 June 2021, NDIS worker screening clearances allow aged care providers to satisfy the requirements under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Aged Care Act) for aged care staff and volunteers who support NDIS participants.

For aged care providers that are also registered NDIS providers, these changes remove the dual screening obligations for workers in the aged care and disability sectors, creating an alternative pathway for you to meet the requirements for staff and volunteers under the aged care legislations. 

This applies if your worker needs an NDIS worker screening clearance for a risk assessed role, or already has an NDIS worker screening clearance that is current and less than five years old.

Further information about your responsibility to meet these requirements is on the Australian Government Department of Health website. 

Behaviour Support in the NDIS

There are significant differences between the behaviour support requirements in aged care and those in the NDIS.

The transitional arrangements helped facilitate an orderly processes for the NDIA to add funding for behaviour support to NDIS participant plans where required, for the development of positive behaviour support plans for participants, and to obtain state and territory authorisation for the use of regulated restrictive practices.

Transitioned providers have been required to take action as follows:

  • by 1 January 2021, notify the NDIS Commission regarding the use of a regulated restrictive practice for an NDIS participant (this does not replace the requirement of providers to report the use of an unauthorised restrictive practice as a reportable incident).
  • where no positive behaviour support plan exists for the NDIS participant:
    • by 1 March 2021, have taken all reasonable steps to obtain an interim behaviour support plan, and obtain authorisation for the use of the regulated restrictive practice from state and territory bodies.
    • by 1 June 2021, have taken all reasonable steps to obtain a comprehensive behaviour support plan and obtain authorisation for the use of the regulated restrictive practice from state and territory bodies.

View information about reasonable steps.

Comprehensive positive behaviour support plans for NDIS participants who required one needed to be in place by 1 December 2021.

Any use of a regulated restrictive practice not authorised (however described, by the state/territory) and not in accordance with a behaviour support plan is an unauthorised restrictive practice and needs to be reported to the NDIS Commission as a reportable incident within 5 business days. More information is available on our incident management and reportable incidents webpage.

We have created a flow chart to help RAC providers to determine if the NDIS (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 apply.

Frequently asked questions about restrictive practice requirements for transitioned RAC providers are now available.

Notice of changes and events

It is a condition of your registration to notify us of certain changes and events, especially those that substantially affect your ability to provide the supports and services you are registered to provide.

More information about this requirement is available on our registered NDIS Provider notice of changes and events webpage.

Resources for Residential Aged Care (RAC) providers

ACSA and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission worked in collaboration to identify and develop resources that support RAC providers to meet their responsibilities. While the project ceased 31 December 2021, RAC providers continue to be able to access these resources on the RAC NDIS Resource Hub.

Younger People in Residential Aged Care Strategy

The Younger People in Residential Aged Care Strategy 2020-25 (the Strategy) was released on 30 September 2020.

The Strategy covers all younger people under the age of 65 living in, or at risk of entering, residential aged care, including providing choice to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people between 50 and 64 years of age who are eligible for the aged care system. Information about the strategy is available on the Department of Social Services website.

Fact sheets for young people in residential aged care and their supporters are available on the Department of Social Services website.

Do you need further information or assistance?

If you wish to discuss your individual organisation's situation, please contact the NDIS Commission on 1800 035 544.