Almost all residents say they feel safe and respected in their facility most or all of the time, but one in six report they sometimes or never like the food served, according to the quality agency’s first annual resident experience report.

The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) began randomly interviewing at least 10 per cent of residents during re-accreditation audits in July 2017 with a tool developed by researchers at La Trobe University (read our backgrounder here).

The questions ask residents whether they feel respected, safe and looked after and whether they like the food. They also ask how well staff explain things and follow up issues and whether they are available to talk and know what they are doing.

Following each re-accreditation audit, resident experience reports are published on the quality agency’s website along with the facility’s full site audit report and accreditation status.

This new two-page Consumer Experience Report, which was released on Thursday, is based on over 15,000 interviews with residents from more than 1,100 facilities between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018.

It shows that over 97 per cent of respondents said staff treated them with respect most (25 per cent) or all of the time (73 per cent) while over 98 per cent said they felt safe in the service most (17 per cent) or all of the time (81 per cent).

More than 97 per cent of residents said staff met their healthcare needs always (70 per cent) or most of the time (28 per cent) while 94 per cent of respondents said staff followed up when they raised things with them always (55 per cent) or or most of the time (39 per cent).

While most of the results are considered positive, food and staff being available to talk to residents are among areas in need of improvement, according to the report.

Only 84 per cent of residents said they liked the food always (39 per cent) or most of the time (45 per cent) while 14 per cent of residents said they liked it some of the time and more than 2 per cent said they never liked it.

Ken Wyatt

On whether there were staff to talk to when feeling sad or worried most residents either agreed (57 per cent) or strongly agreed (24 per cent) but more than 3 per cent disagreed while almost 16 per cent neither agreed nor disagreed.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt said the results provided valuable insights into the performance of individual service providers and allowed a better understanding of what providers were getting right and where there were care concerns.

“Despite the high percentages, this data shows the aged care sector and individual providers need to work harder to ensure that all Australians receiving aged care feel safe at all times,” Mr Wyatt said in a statement.

AACQA CEO Nick Ryan said the findings were helpful in assisting service providers to continuously improve the quality of care provided.

Nick Ryan

“We will be closely monitoring these trends and working with researchers and consumers to undertake further analysis of the feedback to understand what is behind some of the differences in performance between homes,” Mr Ryan said in a statement.

The new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which begins operations on 1 January, will extend Consumer Experience Reports to home care services in 2019.

Access the 12-month consumer experience report here.

Access individual residential aged care service reports here.

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  1. Mr Wyatt is being unrealistic if he believes aged care facilities can achieve 100% of people feeling safe and 100% of people liking the food. That is not achievable. If 100 people went to a top class restaurant, they would not all agree on the food. You only have to look at Trip Advisor to see how peoples opinions differ on experiences.
    Many people in aged care facilities have to have pureed food because of swallowing difficulties. Of course this is not the food they are used to or would want and these opinions are included in these surveys. The majority of people in aged care facilities do not want to be there. They are there because they have to be. So many facilities do a fantastic job taking care of people and providing the best for them, but its not home. Yes, everyone can strive to do better but these results should be recognised as positive.
    So many of the residents have come from a home situation where they were lucky if they saw somebody twice a week, they were extremely vulnerable in their own homes and suffered malnutrition because they couldn’t shop or make a meal.

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