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Quality in aged care

This page includes data available at December 2019. You can download data directly from the visualisations by clicking in the graph area and using the 'download' menu.

The quality of care plays an integral role in the quality of life and outcomes for people using aged care in Australia. The quality of Australian Government-funded aged care is assessed against a set of quality standards by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC). As well as these standards, since 1 July 2019 residential aged care services must also participate in the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program).

In addition, the ACQSC undertakes consumer experience surveys of residents in residential aged care services, in conjunction with regulatory audits. This topic presents the most current data and analysis for the consumer experience surveys and Quality Indicator Program.

Experiences of people living in residential aged care

Consumers themselves have identified consumer experience in residential aged care as key information to support informed choice. Since 2017 the former Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and its successor, the ACQSC, have conducted consumer experience surveys of residents in residential aged care services, in conjunction with visits made for reaccreditation audits. Survey results for each service are published alongside the respective site audit report on the ACQSC website.

Substantial work has gone into identifying three dimensions of residential aged care that are of most interest to consumers:

  • aspects of the care environment (social, physical, functional)
  • organisational aspects of care provision
  • respect for and autonomy of the consumer.

These dimensions have been used to develop a set of standardised questions for obtaining consumer feedback on the quality of the care received and the service provider delivering the care.

Consumer Experience Report – standard questions and response categories
Residents are asked:
Q1: Do staff treat you with respect?
Q2: Do you feel safe here?
Q3: Do staff meet your healthcare needs?
Q4: Do staff follow up with you raise things with them?
Q5: Do staff explain things to you?
Q6: Do you like the food here?
Response categories: Never / Some of the time / Most of the time / Always
Residents are asked whether they agreed with these statements:
Q7: If I’m feeling a bit sad or worried, there are staff here who I can talk to.
Q8: The staff know what they are doing.
Q9: This place is well run.
Q10: I am encouraged to do as much as possible for myself. 
Response categories: Strongly agree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly agree

This topic summarises the combined 2017–18 and 2018–19 results at a national level and, through analysis, seeks to identify factors associated with respondents’ choices. The full report Consumers' experience of residential aged care, Australia 2017–19 is available on the AIHW website.

Explore the national level results for the combined 2017–18 and 2018–19 surveys in the Explore consumer experience section.

Measures of the quality of residential aged care

Data are collected by service providers at the service level and submitted to the Department of Health via the My Aged Care Provider Portal or, with the prior agreement of the Department, through a commercial benchmarking company. Data for the first quarter—July to September 2019—are described in this release in December 2019.

National quality indicators
There are currently three quality indicators mandated for collection and reporting.

QI1: Pressure injuries
There are 6 stages of pressure injury used in the reporting for this indicator, defined in the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program Manual 1.0:

  • Stage 1 pressure injuries: non-blanchable erythema of intact skin
  • Stage 2 pressure injuries: partial-thickness skin loss with exposed dermis
  • Stage 3 pressure injuries: full-thickness skin loss
  • Stage 4 pressure injuries: full-thickness loss of skin and tissue
  • Unstageable pressure injuries: obscured full-thickness skin and tissue loss
  • Suspected deep tissue injuries: persistent non-blanchable deep red, maroon or purple discolouration.

QI2: Use of physical restraint
For the purposes of the QI Program, in accordance with the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program Manual 1.0, restraint means any practice, device or action that interferes with a care recipient’s ability to make a decision or restricts a care recipient’s free movement. Physical restraint means any restraint other than use of a chemical restraint or a prescribed medication.

QI3: Unplanned weight loss
There are two categories of unplanned weight loss collected as part of this indicator:
Significant unplanned weight loss is unplanned weight loss equal to or greater than 3 kilograms over a 3-month period. This result is determined by comparing the care recipient’s weight at the last weigh this quarter (3-month period) with their weight at the last weigh last quarter. Consecutive unplanned weight loss is unplanned weight loss of any amount every month over three consecutive months of the quarter.

Explore first results from the QI Program in the Explore quality indicators section.
Information on the compilation of Quality Indicators for July to September 2019, including data quality, are available in the Technical notes.