There was a decline in incidences across the three mandatory aged care quality indicators reported at beginning of this year compared to the previous quarter, the latest report shows.

In the January-March 2021 quarter, there were 50,653 reported physical restraint devices in use, such as bedrails, chairs with locked tables, seatbelts, safety vests and shackles, down from 54,264 in October-December 2020.

There were also 23,595 instances of intentional physical restraint in the January quarter, down from 24,476 in the previous quarter.

That’s according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program data of 2,585 residential aged care services, which represents 95 per cent of all subsidised homes.

Unplanned weight loss down

The report shows 14,429 residents recorded significant unplanned weight loss, which is a loss of 3 or more kilograms over a three-month period, in the first quarter of 2021. This is down from 14,985 in the previous quarter.

There was also a drop in residents who recorded consecutive unplanned weight loss, which is a loss of any amount every month over the three consecutive months, in the January-March quarter (14,391) compared to the previous quarter (15,274).

Significant unplanned weight loss by state. Source: AIHW

The Northern Territory recorded the highest rate of significant unplanned weight loss (1.25) followed by Western Australia (0.97), Queensland (0.91), Victoria (0.89), New South Wales (0.86), South Australia (0.82), the ACT (0.81) and Tasmania (0.67), according to the report.

Similarly, the NT recorded the highest rate of consecutive unplanned weight loss (1.18) followed by WA (0.99), Victoria (0.93), Queensland and NSW (0.85 respectively), SA (0.83), the ACT (0.78) and Tasmania (0.63).

Pressure injuries also down

There were 11,554 pressure injuries reported in the January – March 2021 quarter, down from 11,874 in the previous period.

Most reported pressure injuries were stage 2, which is partial-thickness skin loss with exposed dermis (5,040), followed by stage 1, which is non-blanchable erythema of intact skin (4,596).

There were far fewer reports of other pressure injuries reported including:

  • 787 stage 3, which is full-thickness skin loss
  • 599 unstageable, which is obscured full-thickness skin and tissue loss
  • 310 suspected deep tissue
  • 222 stage 4 pressure injuries, which is full thickness loss of skin and tissue.

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

As of 1 July 2021, residential aged care providers are also required to collect and report on two additional quality indicators, falls and major injury and medication management.

Access the report.

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