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Residential Aged Care: Transition to NDIS Commission

From 1 December, all RACs supporting NDIS participants will have to become registered providers. Jess outlines the key details.

By Jessica Quilty

Updated 15 Apr 20249 Nov 2020

Residential aged care (RAC) providers that support NDIS participants do not currently have to be registered with the NDIS Commission if they deliver behaviour supports or use restrictive practices. This exemption was due to expire on 30 June 2020. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the exemption was extended to 30 November 2020. From 1 December, all RAC providers that provide supports to NDIS participants in RACs are to become registered NDIS providers.


Who does this affect?

While it was implied that only those RACs implementing restrictive practices and behaviour support would need to register it is now advised that all RACs delivering support to NDIS participants will require registration. This is because the NDIA apparently told the NDIS Commission that all NDIS participants residing in RACs are in fact Agency managed (proof they do speak from time to time). And as you might know, Agency-managed participants cannot use unregistered providers. The Commission advises that RACs do not need to do anything to register; this will be automatic. The Commission will send a certificate of registration to let RACs know when they must be audited by.


What support is out there?

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) has received $950K in funding to support RAC providers in meeting their responsibilities as they transition to the NDIS Commission registration arrangements. More information, including transition advice and support, can be found on ACSA’s RAC NDIS Support Hub. Word on the street is that JAS-ANZ has undertaken some mapping work between the Aged Care Quality Standards and NDIS Practice Standards to identify alignment. Trial audits were undertaken and evidence tested against the two sets of standards. Guidance materials will follow to support RACs preparing for an NDIS  audit. DSC has also provided some support and training to RACs on the key NDIS compliance areas and NDIS Practice Standards.


What will be different?

Restrictive Practice Regulation

The big question DSC has been fielding from RACs relates to the use of restrictive practices. Navigating this regulation is difficult at the best of times, let alone with dual systems. For example, it might be common to have a keypad entry in an Aged Care Facility, particularly in a dementia unit. If an NDIS participant is unable to use that keypad to exit, this could be classified as an environmental restraint.

The NDIS Commission regulates the following restrictive practices:

  • seclusion
  • environmental restraint
  • mechanical restraint
  • physical restraint
  • chemical restraint

In a nutshell, the use of these restrictive practices needs to

  • be contained in a Behaviour Support Plan lodged with the Commission,
  • be authorised as per any state or territory requirements (if applicable), and
  • be reported to the Commission by the implementing provider.

ACSA has recently run some training on this topic, and the recorded webinar can be found here. DSC also has some upcoming training on the quality and safeguarding requirements in relation to restrictive practice in the NDIS. ACSA and the NDIS Commission have confirmed there will be some transitional arrangements with which to comply, but these have not yet been released.  

Incident Management and Reportable Incidents

Registered providers are required to maintain an internal incident reporting system. Some incidents are reportable to the NDIS Commission within 24 hours. 

Complaints Management

Registered providers are required to maintain an internal complaints system that enables NDIS participants to make complaints. They are also required to support participants in understanding the role of the NDIS Commission and to support them in making a complaint to the Commission.

Worker Screening

It was confirmed that a national police check as required for Aged Care does not replace the requirement for an NDIS Worker Screening Check but may be suitable as a transitional arrangement. * Please refer to our more recent article in relation to this.

NDIS Code of Conduct and Worker Orientation Module

RACs delivering supports to NDIS participants were already required to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct. They will now also be required to ensure workers complete the mandatory NDIS Worker Orientation Module

NDIS Practice Standards

Affected RACs will be required to comply with the requirements of the NDIS Practice Standards, but it sounds like there will be a fair bit of time and support for the transition. It is unclear whether RACs will have a modified pathway, so we will just have to watch this space.


There is plenty more detail to come. ACSA has identified that it will be providing fact sheets, templates/sample documents, FAQs and facilitated workshops. In the meantime, RACs can familiarise themselves with ACSA’s webinars and information, the NDIS Commission website (there is a dedicated RAC page for providers and participants), the Provider Information Pack and of course all the training and free NDIS content on the DSC website


Jessica Quilty

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