Findings from the national quality indicators program will be online later this year and chemical restraints and falls are likely to be added to the list of measures, the quality commissioner has told an aged care conference.
The National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program, which began on 1 January 2016 as a voluntary program, will be compulsory for all Commonwealth subsidised residential aged care services from July this year.
To date, only about 10 per cent of providers have participated in the program, which aims to measure aspects of service provision that contribute to the quality of care and services and residents’ quality of life.
It currently collects information on pressure injuries, use of physical restraint and unplanned weight loss.
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson told the Quality in Aged Care conference in Sydney on Tuesday that the first release of quality indicator data was expected by the end of the year.
The program will continue with the three current measures and additional indicators are also being contemplated, Ms Anderson said.
“Early work is underway on falls and fractures and medication misuse including chemical restraint,” Ms Anderson told the conference.
Ms Anderson said they were also looking at whether unexplained weight loss would be a better measure than unplanned weight loss.
“I know there is a very active debate about the difference between those two and a better indicator might be unexplained.”
Providers will need to submit data on pressure injuries, use of physical restraint and unplanned weight loss quarterly through My Aged Care or to the Department of Health using starting with the 1 July to 30 September 2019 quarter.
Putting the results of the quality indicators online is part of the commission’s plans to make more information on service providers and the outcomes of regulatory processes available.
Ms Anderson said the information would help consumers make informed decisions and allow providers to compare themselves to their counterparts and better manage risks.
“It is an opportunity for benchmarking and for self-analysis,” she said.
The commission is preparing to commence a regular data release on its website highlighting a range of sector performance issues starting with data collected by the previous quality agency for the six months from July to December 2018.
The data will likely include:
- number of audits
- occasions of non-compliance
- areas where services most frequently not meeting standards
- volume of complaints and the issues most frequently raised in them
Ms Anderson said they were also considering options for publishing a record of the commission’s decisions in regards to services that do not meet the standards.
“I think you can all agree if you have access to that [information] at a sector-wide level you are better able to analyse for yourselves where your own risks might lie, how to manage those risks now and what additional work you as a provider might have to do in order to bring those under control.”
She said work on a differentiated performance rating scheme, which is also called a star-rating system, was in progress, however, there have been no decisions made about what type of scheme the commission will go with.
Information about the National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program is available here.
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