Understanding the New Aged Care Star Rating System

December 19, 2022 9:00 am

The new aged care star ratings went live this month following recommendations by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety of the need for residents and their families to be informed about the quality and safety of services in residential aged care.

Under the system, aged care homes will now receive ratings between one and five stars with three stars indicating an acceptable level of quality service. The intent of the Star Rating is to support older Australians and their representatives to easily compare services and make informed choices based on an overall Star Rating and the Star Rating four sub-categories:

Compliance – based on non-compliance decisions made by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission reported daily.

Residents’ Experience – at least 20% of older Australians living in residential aged care homes are interviewed face-to-face about their overall experience at their residential aged care home by a third-party vendor annually.

Staffing minutes – derived from reporting under the Quarterly Financial Report and Annual Financial report, case-mix adjusted through the Australian National Aged Care Classification and reported quarterly.

Quality Measures – data on five existing quality indicators (pressure injuries, physical restraint, unplanned weight loss, falls and major injury, and medication management) reported quarterly.

The aged care Star Ratings have been designed to provide a nationally consistent benchmark to monitor, compare and improve residential aged care services.

1 star indicates significant improvement needed

2 stars show improvement needed

3 stars equal an acceptable quality of care

4 stars suggest a good quality of care

5 stars highlight an excellent quality of care

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended developing and publishing a Star Ratings based on measurable information. Star Ratings have been designed to

  • help older Australians and their families to compare the quality and safety performance of different services.
  • transparency about the quality of care in all aged care homes
  • an easy way to compare the quality of aged care homes using the free ‘Find a provider’ tool on the My Aged Care website  
  • nationally consistent quality measures to monitor, compare and improve aged care
  • providers will be engaged to continuously improve their Star Ratings, improving the quality of care for older Australians.

Ninety per cent of residential aged care homes have received three stars or above in a new rating system, however, Star Ratings also show that 10 per cent of services have fallen short and received just 1 or 2 stars.

1 per cent of all aged care facilities in Australia received one star

9 per cent received two stars

59 per cent received three stars

30 per cent received four stars

1 per cent received five stars

“Our McLean care residential facilities across NSW and QLD have received a three or four star rating despite extraordinary funding and workforce challenges. Our Alkira facility in Gunnedah has received a two Star Rating due to our recent non-compliance in a re-accreditation audit which we are working to rectify by 30th December and Staffing Minutes. Alkira’s care minute scores were taken from earlier in the year when the sector wasn’t funded for or legislatively required to meet the specific 200 minute target.

Staffing minutes show the amount of care received from a registered nurse, enrolled nurse or personal care worker to each resident in an aged care home compared to the average government-set care targets for each individual facility. Minutes are case-mix adjusted through the recently introduced Australian National Aged Care Classification and reported quarterly.

It is also important to note that given the national workforce challenges across the health and aged care industries Staffing Minutes not being met will always be a challenge for many providers”, said McLean Care CEO Sue Thomson.

“Like all star ratings in any industry it will be important for consumers to look deeper into that rating especially if it is low.

The methodology behind the aged care star rating system is very different to the methodology that is utilised to review hotels, restaurants or movies. The criteria and what the ratings mean are vastly different, so it’s important the two are not compared,” stated Sue.

McLean Care supports The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and understands the need for transparency of the quality of care in all aged care homes. However, it’s important for consumers to know that the star rating cannot be considered in isolation to other aspects of a particular facility.  The information independently collected on behalf of the government around resident experience and quality at Alkira in Gunnedah shows that residents confirm that they are receiving the care that they need, they feel safe and are treated with respect.  However, because we did not meet all of the quality standards in our most recent re-accreditation audit and because we were unable to meet Staffing Minutes, Alkira has received a two star rating.

Providers who received a score of three stars or more “shows that services are providing everything they are funded by the government to provide for older Australians, at a good level of quality.

“A facility may always do great on resident satisfaction with a high percentage of residents saying, ‘I love the people’ and ‘I receive great care’ but if they haven’t met all standards or required staffing minutes, they might end up with two stars”, said Sue Thomson.

Providers have been issued with a preview of their ratings ahead of publication to allow them time to communicate with staff, residents and their families, and – if need be – to develop an improvement plan.

For more information https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/star-ratings-for-residential-aged-care

Further media information contact: 

Sue Thomson – CEO McLean Care

Phone 1300 791 660


Established in 1953 McLean Care is a long-established provider of the highest quality community, retirement, and aged care lifestyle services. McLean Care® has grown to become a National Provider. In 2023 we celebrate 70 years.