The federal government has released the first annual report on consumer experiences in residential aged care homes.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, said the report reflected the government’s commitment to transparency in aged care.
“It is also a major step forward in supporting senior Australians receiving aged care and their families and is a fundamental part of our government’s reforms to help ensure safe, quality care,” Mr Wyatt said.
“For the first time, the results of 12 months of interviews with residents have been collated and compared, providing valuable insights into the performance of individual service providers and allowing better understanding of what providers are getting right and where there are care concerns.”
Since 1 July 2017, random interviews with residents - at least 12 per aged care home - have been conducted by Australian Aged Care Quality Agency assessment teams as part of re-accreditation audits of aged care homes.
During the first year, more than 15,000 interviews were conducted with aged care residents in more than 1,100 homes.
“The report data shows that more than 97 per cent of respondents felt staff treated them with respect either most of the time or all the time,” Mr Wyatt said.
“Further to this, over 98 per cent said they felt safe most or all of the time.
“Despite the high percentages, this data shows the aged care sector and individual providers need to work harder to ensure that all Australians receiving aged care feel safe at all times.”
Quality Agency CEO Nick Ryan said the findings were especially helpful in assisting providers to continuously improve the quality of care.
“The interview responses to the question ‘Would you say you like the food here?’ indicates that 16 per cent of respondents like the food some of the time or none of the time,” Mr Ryan said.
“The responses to the statement ‘If I'm feeling sad or worried, there are staff here who I can talk to’ suggests just over three per cent of consumers disagree or strongly disagree with this statement.
“We will be closely monitoring these trends and working with researchers and consumers to undertake further analysis of the feedback, to understand what is behind some of the differences in performance between homes.”
Following each re-accreditation audit, individual Consumer Experience Reports for each service provider are published on the Quality Agency website, along with the full site audit report and accreditation status.
Unannounced re-accreditation audits, which have been law since 1 July this year, are set to almost triple in 2019 compared with 2018.
Mr Wyatt said the new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which begins operations on 1 January, would extend Consumer Experience Reports to home care services in 2019.
“It is important for aged care quality and safety and for the confidence of aged care recipients and their families that we expand the scope of this feedback system,” Mr Wyatt said.
Total funding for the new and independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will be almost $300 million over four years.
The new 12-month reportis available on the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency website, along with individual residential aged care service reports.