The South Australian Innovation Hub has developed and trialled an aged care quality-of-life framework as part of first-of-its-kind research describing and measuring subjective wellbeing and satisfaction of residents.
Dr Adrian Tomyn and Dr Melissa Weinberg from the Australian Centre on Quality of Life at Deakin University were commissioned in 2016 to undertake research in aged care on quality-of-life indicators by the SA Innovation Hub, a group of aged care providers in the state collaborating to translate ideas, innovation, learning and research into practise.
The research project, which released its final report this month, used the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) to measure subjective wellbeing and the Modified Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT) to measure aged care satisfaction.
The primary aim of the research project was to explore levels of subjective wellbeing in 187 aged care residents aged between 60 and 101 years and living in a number of SA facilities, said Richard Hearn, who is chairman of the SA Innovation Hub and CEO of aged care organisation Resthaven.
“This is the first research project to measure subjective wellbeing and aged care satisfaction in aged care residents using a robust and standardised measurement approach,” Mr Hearn told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“The result has been the development of a quality-of-life framework that allows us to actively promote quality of life, not just measure it, and go beyond providing quality of care.”
The draft framework, which has been developed by hub members who participated in the research, includes a guiding policy statement, the PWI and ASCOT customer metric tools and sections on staff impact, healthy environments and partnerships.
“Understanding which individuals are at risk of depression or are dissatisfied with their life can be of enormous assistance to a provider when seeking to deliver services that improve quality of life,” he said.
SA Innovation Hub project lead Thuy Phan, who is CEO of St Hilarion Aged Care, said that the average aged care satisfaction was high and positive across all aged care settings sampled, suggesting that most participants were generally satisfied with their aged care experience.
“This is positive feedback for service providers who do their best to make sure that individual needs are understood and planned for,” Ms Phan told AAA.
Hub member Kalyra Communities trialled the framework across its three residential aged care sites.
It identified that one site was showing weaker results in two domains – achievement in life and connectedness to community – despite a high level of lifestyle services.
Working with the residents revealed that they wanted more than just entertainment; they wanted to have a stronger connection to the local community and especially children.
A number of initiatives began including the development of a local play group organised and hosted by residents. A further partnership with a local primary school had residents working with students on history and music appreciation.
“12 months after the quality of life initiatives were introduced at Kalyra, we saw significant measurable increases in overall quality of life,” Ms Phan said.
More information and the research report is available on the South Australia Innovation Hub website.
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