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Development of consumer questions to assess quality in residential aged care underway


The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency has engaged La Trobe University researchers to develop an interview tool for use with aged care residents as part of the accreditation process for facilities.

Consumer responses gained through the tool will be outlined in a new report due to be published mid-year, the agency told Australian Ageing Ageing, but not available online from this month as previously announced.

During the accreditation and quality review process, the agency interviews a minimum of 10 per cent of residents and their representatives about their experiences, which it said equated to more than 50,000 care recipients and their family members each year.

Nick Ryan

Nick Ryan

Quality agency CEO Nick Ryan said that a team from La Trobe University’s Australian Institute for Primary Care & Ageing would develop and test a set of structured interview questions with consumers for use as part of each accreditation site audit of residential aged care services.

“We’ve listened to the aged care sector about the importance of having a meaningful and validated tool to measure the consumer experience of quality care and services in a home,” Mr Ryan told AAA.

“The interview questions will support the development of a consumer report on consumer experience of the quality of care and services in residential aged care.”

As previously reported by AAA, the agency said in March last year that it planned to capture consumer feedback using an interview tool and include the responses in its audit reports from January 2017.

However, the agency told AAA today that a new consumer-focused report highlighting the consumer experience would be delivered by 30 June 2017.

The La Trobe research and development team will be led by Professor Yvonne Wells and includes Dr Angela Herd and Dr Deirdre Fethersonhaugh.

The agency also confirmed that a forthcoming Consumer Guide to Accreditation of residential aged care services, which aims to help consumers understand the accreditation process, is due to be published by the end of the month.

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8 Responses to Development of consumer questions to assess quality in residential aged care underway

  1. Jamie January 11, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

    I hope they include family members under the “consumer” label. Many residents are hesitant to complain for fear of possible repercussions.

  2. Peter Stewart January 11, 2017 at 10:25 pm #

    Perhaps Mr Ryan could seek the same information from families, aged care advisers and carer groups in a one day forum and have the answers within one week.
    Just another example of not using available resources and spending tax payer dollars unnecessarily.
    Sorry Mr. Ryan – just another example of not understanding the aged care market

  3. Joan January 12, 2017 at 11:58 am #

    Family members/person responsible do need to be asked not only for the reason cited by Jamie but also because many residents literally can not speak/articulate/remember themselves.

  4. Chrissie January 12, 2017 at 11:29 pm #

    Since the demographic of aged care residential services are in the same vulnerable category as mental health patients in hospitals/residential care why is there not an extension of the Official Visitor into Residential Aged Care? The beaucracy, policies, procedures etc already in existence they would just need to be expanded and given the power to oversee private residential care. See:
    http://www.ovmh.nsw.gov.au/about-us/who-are-the-official-visitors.html

  5. Dave January 13, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    The AACQA Act clearly defines the agency’s functions in Part 3, Division 1, 12(a)-12(i). According to The Quality Agency Principles (Division 3, Subdivision B, 12.14 &12.15) The Agency should already be conducting assessments of the quality of care and services provided.

    So why do they now need a ‘meaningful and validated tool to measure the consumer experience of quality care and services in a home’? What have they been doing all these years?

    It seems the AACQA has inadvertently admitted they haven’t been doing their job properly. This might explain how an amazing number of facilities (97%) manage to pass accreditation (AACQA 2015/2016 annual report). Yet in Jan 2015, documents released under Freedom of Information show that nearly one in five new nursing homes failed to meet quality standards in the previous financial year…. why doesn’t The Agency collect, collate or publish objective data about failures or standards of care?

  6. Country carer January 13, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    And in yet another example of jobs for the boys, er, academics, this just admits that the accreditation process has been broken for many years. Seems nothing is “meaningful and validated” unless it has some big dollars and academic input. What a waste of money in an industry that is being already choked by reduced funding and more – not less – red tape. Why doesn’t the government just come out and say they don’t want residential aged care facilities any more?

  7. Frustrated carer January 16, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    I agree with the previous comments; the accreditation process is obviously not working, a fact which many representatives of residents will be well aware of.
    The system is broken, and the Complaints Scheme a toothless tiger. The government is not interested in our elderly and the quality of care they receive, as evidenced by ongoing funding cuts to the sector. The current standards are so vague that they are meaningless, and the increasing number of for-profit facilities means that profit is often the primary objective.

    A validated tool should not be required to uncover consumer dissatisfaction if the Quality Agency and Aged Care Complaints commissioner were doing their job properly.

  8. Aileen Wright January 26, 2017 at 10:28 am #

    Aileen(Aged Care Worker)
    Accreditation staff do need to speak to relatives/family as many residents targeted have dementia or some form of cogntive impairmnet and are unable to give a true picture ,plus they often feel confused and anxious

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