Consumer experience of residential aged care explored in new report

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH THE AGED CARE QUALITY AND SAFETY COMMISSION

The experiences of older Australians living in residential aged care have been analysed in a new report released today as a result of a partnership between the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (the Commission) and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

In a first for the Commission, it has engaged the AIHW to conduct an independent analysis of its residential consumer experience reports (CER) data gathered over a two year period for 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The results indicate that while consumers generally have a positive view of their experience in residential aged care, further work can be done across the sector to improve consumer experience.

For the first time, the CER results were further analysed by the type of organisation providing the service, by service size and remoteness level, and by characteristics of their resident populations.

The proportion of consumers born in English-speaking countries in a particular residential service was the factor most associated with positive reporting of consumer experience. Service size and organisation type were also associated with positive responses. Consumers in smaller services or those operated by not-for-profit organisations were more likely to report positively than those in larger or privately-operated residential aged care services.

Ms Janet Anderson PSM, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, regards the independent report as an important step towards better understanding the experiences of people living in residential aged care.

“I welcome the AIHW’s analysis of our consumer experience data. When we conduct visits to residential services, we interview a random sample of people living there. We ask a set of standardised questions and when a sufficient sample size exists, we publish a ‘Consumer Experience Report’ for the service on our website following these visits,” Ms Anderson said.

“The report released today by the AIHW takes our consumer experience reporting to the next level. It provides a sector-wide view of the lived experience of people in residential aged care, providing us with a better understanding of aged care services as seen through the eyes of those receiving care.”

Mr. Barry Sandison, AIHW Chief Executive Officer, noted the value of combining the consumer experience reporting with facility-level data from the aged care sector.   

“This provides a deeper understanding of the factors related to experiences of aged care and, with regular updating, will enable us to explore changes over time in the views, perceptions and impressions of those living in residential aged care services,” Mr Sandison said.

Today’s release of the Consumer Experience Reporting Data also coincides with the AIHW’s first release, in partnership with the Department of Health, of residential aged care quality indicators. This data, for the July-September quarter, is the first compilation of these indicators since supply of this information by the sector became mandatory from 1 July 2019.

“This is another example of the efforts to use data to better understand aged care. Providers will be able to compare themselves against national averages to assist them in undertaking continuous quality improvement. Over time, this data will also provide comparable information about aspects of quality in aged care,” Mr Sandison said.

A copy of the consumer experience report is available on the AIHW’s website: Consumers' experience of residential aged care, Australia 2017–19

For media enquiries:
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission – [email protected]
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – 02 6244 1148, [email protected]

Key findings of the report

  • The majority of people in residential aged care report positive experiences about their care, however a significant minority have less positive experiences from which we can learn.
     
  • The least positive responses related to having staff to talk to and liking the food.
     
  • People with restricted mobility and people with higher care needs were less positive about their autonomy.
     
  • Smaller residential aged care facilities had higher proportions of residents responding positively, to all questions.
     
  • Services with higher proportions of residents born in English-speaking countries raised the likelihood of positive experiences.
     
  • People in residential aged care services that are privately managed (as opposed to Not for Profit services or State-owned services) were less likely to report positive experiences.
     
  • Proportions of respondents reporting positive experience generally did not differ between the sexes.