New system allows consistent appraisal of Home and Community Care quality

The latest report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Developing Quality Measures for Home and Community Care (HACC), describes the successful development of an Instrument to measure the performance of HACC agencies against the 27 HACC National Service Standards.

The HACC National Service Standards were developed by Commonwealth, State and Territory HACC Officials through a process of community consultation and have been in place since 1989. Until now there has been no formal system to measure the quality of HACC agencies' performance against these standards.

Institute staff refined and tested ways of implementing an assessment tool drafted by the Commonwealth, State and Territory HACC Officials. Close to 200 HACC funded agencies participated in the project undertaken by the AIHW. Consumers also provided feedback about the services they received.

According to the report's author, Dr Anne Jenkins, the Instrument will be used to collect quantitative data about HACC services such as: home delivered meals, home nursing, transport or centre respite care.

'It gives service providers the opportunity to relate the standards to the individual circumstances of their agencies. Flexibility in assessment is critical given the wide range of services provided under HACC,' Dr Jenkins said.

'This new system means that it is now possible to summarise the performance of the diverse range of HACC funded agencies against the standards on a common scale and describe the performance of agencies against each of the standards.

'Australia led the way in nursing home regulation in the late 1980's when we introduced the nursing home outcome standards monitoring program. This is another important step by State, Territory, and Commonwealth Government in seeking to ensure that the quality of care provided in Australia is of a high standard' Dr Jenkins said.

The project was undertaken in consultation with the Commonwealth, States and Territories. The assessment Instrument is expected to be introduced nationally in the current financial year.

Developing Quality Measures for Home and Community Care is the fourth in the AIHW's Aged Care Series which analyses and describes key aspects of Australia's aged care services.

23 October 1998


Further information: Dr Anne Jenkins, Aged Care Unit, AIHW, ph. 02 6244 1173.
For media copies of the report: Ms Lena Searle, ph. 02 6244 1032.
Availability: Check the AIHW for details.