Residential aged care provider obligations

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 are 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, 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 behaviour 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 in December 2020. 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

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 the registration process 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.

For assistance in undertaking the renewal process please use the registration renewal process guide- for RAC providers seeking to renew.

Audit Resources and Toolkit

On 31 October 2022, Catherine Myers, Assistant Commissioner - Regulatory Operations Branch wrote to Residential aged care providers (RAC) providers supporting NDIS participants within their facilities informing that the NDIS Commission in partnership with an appropriately qualified supplier had developed a suite of tools, resources and webinars to assist RAC providers supporting NDIS participants in their facilities to meet the requirements of NDIS Commission registration processes, particularly third party audits.

The majority of RAC providers supporting NDIS participants living in their facilities have yet to undergo registration renewal with the NDIS Commission, including a third party quality audit. These audits will take place in 2023 to early 2024.

There is now a number of fact sheets, tools, resources and webinars to not only support RAC providers but also NDIS participants, auditors and other stakeholders when undertaking audit activities as part of the registration renewal process. This initiative supports the achievement and maintaining of compliance with the NDIS Practice Standards and other regulatory obligations.

Modified NDIS RAC audit pathway

Amendments to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Approved Quality Auditors Scheme) Guidelines 2018 will provide guidance for approved quality auditors in considering evidence contained in Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission assessment reports for the purpose of aged care audits as part of their assessment of a RAC provider against the NDIS Practice Standards, through a modified NDIS RAC audit, where authorised by the NDIS Commissioner to do so.

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. 

Code of Conduct for Aged Care

From 1 December 2022, a Code of Conduct for Aged Care (the Aged Care Code) will be introduced. The Code gives the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) the power to deal with behaviour that does not meet the Code. The Code has been developed based on the existing NDIS Code of Conduct. The NDIS Commission will continue to regulate and enforce its existing NDIS Code of Conduct for NDIS supports and services. The obligations under the aged care and NDIS codes are substantially the same, with slight differences in language and definitions that are specific to each sector.  Information about the Aged Care Code for aged care consumers, providers, and workers is available on the ACQSC website.

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.

View information about reasonable steps.

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 can access these resources on the RAC NDIS Resource Hub.

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.

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.

Related resources

NDIS Commission letter to residential aged care providers

Residential aged care providers: Registration requirements

Residential aged care providers: Worker screening requirements

Fact sheet: NDIS Worker Screening Check: What registered Residential Aged Care NDIS providers need to know

Identifying risk assessed roles in residential aged care

Residential aged care providers: Behaviour support and restrictive practice requirements

Residential aged care providers supporting NDIS participants: Frequently asked questions about restrictive practice requirements

 

This fact sheet explains how implementing providers can demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to facilitate the development of interim and comprehensive behaviour support plans related to the use of regulated restrictive practices.

Information for Residential Aged Care providers seeking to renew their registration.

Please note that this document is not in an accessible format. 

On 31 October 2022, Catherine Myers, Assistant Commissioner - Regulatory Operations Branch wrote to Residential aged care providers (RAC) providers supporting NDIS participants within their facilities informing that the NDIS Commission in partnership with an appropriately qualified supplier had developed a suite of tools, resources and webinars to assist RAC providers supporting NDIS participants in their facilities to meet the requirements of NDIS Commission registration processes, particularly third party audits.

Amendments to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Approved Quality Auditors Scheme) Guidelines 2018 will provide guidance for approved quality auditors in considering evidence contained in Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission assessment reports for the purpose of aged care audits as part of their assessment of a RAC provider against the NDIS Practice Standards, through a modified NDIS RAC audit, where authorised by the NDIS Commissioner to do so.

RAC Provider Fact Sheets

RAC providers supporting NDIS participants are required to be registered with the NDIS Commission.

This fact sheet explains what to do before you submit your application for registration and what to do when preparing for an audit. 

This fact sheet list the commonalities and differences across the aged care and NDIS audit processes.

Residential Aged Care (RAC) providers who apply to be a registered NDIS provider will be required to comply with the Core Module of the NDIS Practice Standards. The Core Module comprises 24 NDIS Practice Standards and related Quality Indicators.