Person Holding a Stress Ball

Following years of criticism about the state of the Australian residential aged care system, including a Royal Commission, the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare has released the results of the latest National Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program), expanded since July 2021 to include the categories of pressure injuries, physical restraint, and unplanned weight loss.

The fourth quarterly report (April-June 2022) of the GEN Aged Care Data shows that -

  • Pressure Injuries in residential aged care affected 6.3% of residents
  • Physical Restraint was used for 21.5% of care recipients
  • Significant Unplanned Weight Loss was observed in 9.4% of residents
  • Falls (32.2% of residents) and falls that resulted in major injury (2.2%)

Medication management, the fifth indicator, played a significant role in residential aged care, with 37.3% of residents receiving polypharmacy, 19.3% antipsychotics and 10.4% antipsychotics with diagnosed psychosis.

The figures are close to those in the previous survey of Jan-March 2022.

The views of residents themselves is another focus of the reporting process, with consumer experience interviews (CEIs) being scheduled across approximately 2700 commonwealth funded residential aged care homes, with around 20% of older Australian residents. Interviewees include residents from vulnerable communities, diverse cultures and those with special needs to best represent the voice of those receiving residential aged care.

The interviews will use a simple set of questions intended to understand the lived experience of older Australian residents. The Commission developed the questions, with the help of La Trobe University’s Lincoln Centre for Research on Ageing.

 CEI questions were - 

  1. Do you like the food here?
  2. Do you feel safe here?
  3. Is this place well run?
  4. Do you get the care you need?
  5. Do staff know what they are doing?
  6. Are you encouraged to do as much as possible for yourself?
  7. Do staff explain things to you?
  8. Do staff treat you with respect?
  9. Do staff follow up when you raise things with them?
  10. Are staff kind and caring?
  11. Do you have a say in your daily activities?
  12. Do you feel at home here?
  13. What would you say is the best thing about this service?
  14. What is one thing you would suggest as an improvement at this service?

The Department of Health says it will publish the results of CEIs on My Aged Care as part of the Star Ratings for residential aged care program: ‘They will help older Australians and their families to make more informed and confident decisions about aged care services.’