How is quality being monitored in Australian residential aged care facilities? A Narrative View

Courtney, Mary D., O'Reilly, Maria T., Edwards, Helen E., & Hassall, Stacey L. (2007) How is quality being monitored in Australian residential aged care facilities? A Narrative View. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 19(3), pp. 177-182.

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Background. 'Quality of Care' is a difficult concept to measure, particularly within the context of residential aged care, which involves lifestyle issues as much as health issues. Recent years have seen an increased focus on quality within residential aged care. Yet, Australia does not have a structured and comprehensive quality monitoring system within this sector.

Problem. While the Australian Accreditation Standards have been credited with contributing to improving care since their introduction in 1998, they are only considered to represent minimum (rather than optimal) standards of quality, and they do not sufficiently focus on clinical outcomes. Further, individual facilities might only be assessed against these standards every 3 years; within that time, there is much scope for quality variations to go unnoticed.

Implications. This paper contends that collecting and analysing comprehensive clinical data from aged care facility residents constitutes an essential step in the process of monitoring quality in this environment. Such data can be used to formulate indicators of quality, that is, to create markers to highlight areas of clinical care that might be of questionable (or exceptional) quality, enabling more detailed investigations of care practices within a facility.

Conclusions. The above processes could thus fill the current gap in quality monitoring that exists within the Australian residential aged care system, thus ensuring the provision of best-practice care to this vulnerable population.

Impact and interest:

12 citations in Scopus
11 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 9495
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: aged, residential facilities, quality of care, quality indicators, outcome and process assessment
DOI: 10.1093/intqhc/mzm002
ISSN: 1353-4505
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Aged Care Nursing (111001)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (The authors): Licensed to Oxford University Press
Copyright Statement: This is an electronic version of an article published in International Journal for Quality in Health Care 19(3):pp. 177-182.
Deposited On: 19 Sep 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:31

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