There have been over 2,000 more instances of intentional physical restraint of residents in the most recent reporting period compared to the previous quarter, the latest data on aged care quality indicators shows.

The National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program data shows 24,476 occasions of intentional physical restraint of residents across Australia in the October-December 2020 quarter, up from 22,364 during the July-September period, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare announced last week.

However, the data collected from 2,608 residential aged care services shows the number of physical restraint devices is use fell to 54,264 devices in the December quarter from 56,671 in the previous period.

Physical restraint devices include bedrails, chairs with locked tables, seatbelts, safety vests and shackles, which intentionally or otherwise restrain a resident.

The use of physical restraints was higher in regional and remote areas than in major cities, the data shows.

Unplanned weight loss increases

The report shows 14,985 residents recorded significant unplanned weight loss, which is a loss of 3 or more kilograms over a 3-month period, in the December quarter, up from 13,836 in the previous quarter.

The amount of consecutive unplanned weight loss, which is a loss of any amount every month in the quarter also rose from in the December quarter (15,274) compared to the previous period (13,338).

Western Australia recorded the highest rate of significant unplanned weight loss followed by the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania, according to the report.

However, the NT recorded the highest rate of consecutive unplanned weight loss followed by Victoria, SA, Qld, WA , NSW and Tasmania.

 Pressure injuries down

Source: AIHW

There were 11,874 pressure injuries recorded in the December quarter, down from 12,008 during the previous period.

Most report pressure injuries were stage two, which is partial-thickness skin loss with exposed dermis, was the highest recorded pressure injury (5,066) followed by stage one, which is non-blanchable erythema of intact skin (4,800).

There next most prevalent pressure injuries were stage three, which is full-thickness skin loss (749), unstageable, which is obscured full-thickness skin and tissue loss (570) suspected deep tissue (401) and stage four pressure injuries, which is full-thickness loss of skin and tissue (243 respectively).

The National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program, which commenced on 1 July 2019, collects data from residential aged care services every three months.

Residential aged care providers will be assessed against two additional quality indicators, falls and major injury and medication management from 1 July 2021.

View the quality indicators data here.

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