Care of older people toolkit

Welcome to the Best care for older people everywhere - The toolkit.

The toolkit has been developed to increase awareness about the unique aspects of caring for older people and to provide staff with accessible information and practical tools to help them reduce the likelihood of functional decline occurring in older people under their care.

The toolkit is intended to be used to support service change and best practice within the funds that have been allocated. The toolkit is expected to challenge how any current funds for this area are spent ensuring that the allocated funds are reviewed and used to deliver best practice models of care. The toolkit is not a tool to seek funds over and above what is allocated now or into the future for these services.

Development and application of The toolkit

The toolkit was first developed as part of the Victorian Government’s implementation of the Council of Australian Governments Long Stay Older Patients (COAG LSOP) initiative.

SA Health has permission from the Victorian Department of Health to use 'Best care for older people everywhere - The toolkit' as a resource for promoting high quality care for older people in hospital.

Please note that some resources and services referred to in The toolkit may not be applicable in South Australia due to differences in state laws and policies.  

Resources specific to South Australia, which are not in The toolkit are listed on our ‘SA resources’ page.

The toolkit is closely aligned to criteria in the recently endorsed National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards. Health services can use The toolkit to demonstrate compliance against the new Standards.


The toolkit defines older people as those aged 65 years or more and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or more.

Functional decline is defined as the decrement in physical and/or cognitive functioning  and occurs when a person is unable to engage in activities of daily living. See our 'What is functional decline?' page for more information.

Who should use The toolkit?

Although the main focus of The toolkit is on care provided to older people in hospital, some of the tools and resources may be useful in community or residential care settings. It can be used in different ways by clinicians, team leaders and people with organisation-wide responsibilities.

Clinicians can use The toolkit as a stand-alone resource or 'how to' guide to preventing functional decline in older people. Team leaders, quality managers and project officers can use The toolkit to introduce or evaluate practices and processes within their team, ward, hospital or aged care facility.