Government-run aged care facilities followed by homes with up to 30 residents have the best average results on a range of quality indicators, a new aged care royal commission report shows.

The report released on Sunday evening analyses residential aged care performance over 50 quality indicators, including how results are distributed across organisation types.

The quality and safety indicators include clinical outcomes, compliance, complaints, reporting of assaults and missing residents, consumer experience and workforce levels.

The report, which used statistical methods to analyse the quality indicators, aims to improve understanding of quality and safety in the aged care system.

It found that 57 per cent of aged care facilities in Australia are operated by not-for-profit organisations, 34 per cent by for-profit and 9 per cent by Governments.  

Government-run facilities showed the best average results for 31 of the 50 indicators, while not-for-profit facilities performed best on two indicators and for-profit facilities showed the best average results for one indicator.

NFP facilities had better average results than for-profits on 25 indicators, while for-profits had stronger average results than NFPs on two.

The report also found that aged care facilities with 1 – 30 places returned the best result on 24 of the quality and safety indicators, while facilities with over 180 places returned the best result on six indicators.

Small facilities which have 1 – 30 places, make up 11 per cent of aged care facilities in Australia, while 26 per cent of facilities have 31 – 60 places, 32 per cent have 61 – 100 places and 31 per cent have over 100 places, the report shows.

Antipsychotic, opioid, sedative use

The quality indicators in the report include the use of antipsychotics, sedatives and opioids.

NFP facilities showed the best results for antipsychotic use where on average one in every 4.5 residents was dispensed an antipsychotic followed by for-profits (one in 4.3 residents) and government faiclities (one in 4.1).

NFPs also showed the best results on sedatives where one in every 2.2 residents experienced a high sedative load compared to government-run and for-profit facilities (one in 2.1 residents), the report shows.

However, for opioid use, for-profit facilities had the best result where one in every 3.6 residents was a chronic opioid user compared to NFPs (one in 3.4) and government facilities (one in 3).

The quality indicators in the report were compiled by the Office of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety using granular datasets collected in different parts of the aged care system.

The datasets, which were acquired under the legal authority of the aged care royal commission, have not yet been available to researchers before.

The research demonstrates the value of making data publicly available at the facility level to inform the community about aged care services, to support consumer choice, encourage continuous improvement and foster research and innovation, the report said.

Access the Research Paper 15 – Residential Care Quality Indicator Profile here.

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