Aged care providers have told the Department of Health they have “serious concerns” with the quality indicators program that is being rolled out nationally.

Around 350 residential facilities were involved in a pilot that ran from May to September last year and trialled three clinical indicators –pressure injuries, unplanned weight loss and the use of physical restraint.

The program moved from the pilot phase into a voluntary national rollout from January. But some aged care providers involved in the pilot now say that concerns they raised during the trial have not been addressed in the final program.

Peak body Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) this week told the department its members that participated in the trial “never received a final evaluation regarding the project or a response as to how their feedback will be utilised.”

It appeared to the providers that the “significant concerns” they raised in the pilot projects have had no impact on the final outcome, ACSA said in a letter to the department.

The government is yet to release the findings of the pilot, which was conducted by KPMG.

Australian Ageing Agenda has previously made unsuccessful requests to the department and Minister for Aged Care Sussan Ley’s office to provide the report.

As AAA recently reported, as the department seeks to recruit additional facilities to take part in the quality indicators program, stakeholders continue to debate key aspects of the scheme.

ACSA told the department it was seeking “urgent intervention” to ensure the program provided useful comparative information and that significant attention be paid to the concerns raised by trial participants “to prevent inadvertent and inappropriate consequences.”

Some of the issues the peak said its members raised include:

  • confusion regarding the definitions used to collect and report data
  • concerns about the governance of data collection
  • labour-intensive processes and duplication of data collection
  • concerns that pre-existing conditions such as pressure injuries, and injuries acquired in hospital, were not excluded in the data
  • problems with gaining consent from some residents; some reported the process to be “intrusive” and “inconvenient”
  • lack of clarity on how the data will be presented on My Aged Care.

The peak body told the department that “ministers expect issues raised should be accompanied with proposed remedies” but this was “very difficult given the level of disregard to issues raised in the pilot project and lack of efficacy of the results.”

Previous AAA coverage on the quality indicators program:

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