Aged care quality indicators

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The Federal Government Department of Health, through its Ageing and Aged Care unit, has established the National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program with three initial quality indicators for residential aged care. These look at performance around:

  • pressure injuries
  • use of physical restraint
  • unplanned weight loss.

To be – and remain – an accredited provider, aged care facilities must meet benchmarks across four standards:

  • Management systems, staffing and organisational development
  • Health and personal care
  • Care recipient lifestyle
  • Physical environment and safe systems.

On the other hand, care provided in a person’s home or in the community is measured against three standards:

  • Effective management
  • Appropriate access and service delivery
  • Service user rights and responsibilities.

In addition, there are two flexible aged care program standards for Indigenous elders:

  • Care delivery and information
  • Management and accountability.

However, after reviewing the sector’s quality indicators, The University of Sydney and UNSW researchers have called for a review of aged care policy and the establishment of a “robust and comprehensive” aged care quality data system.

Speaking to Australian Ageing Agenda, they cautioned that understanding the connections between clinical indicators, the care needs of a facility’s residents, and the perceptions of clients and staff were “crucial”, having demonstrated a complex relationship among these factors in their analysis.

They reviewed data collected from 426 facilities between 2015 and 2016 covering five commonly gathered clinical indicators of care quality: falls, pressure injury, physical restraint, unplanned weight loss and polypharmacy. Only the last factor was regularly reported.

Conversation starter

Do you – or someone for whom you care – feel that the Federal Government’s aged care quality indicators already in place are sufficient to achieve a “robust and comprehensive” assessment of residential, in-home or community care? 

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