Quality of Residential Aged Care: The Consumer Perspective

A report for Alzheimer's Australia, Paper 37, November 2013

This paper discusses from a consumer perspective concerns about the quality of care in a minority of residential aged care facilities. It puts forward strategies to address these concerns and seeks a higher priority for tackling them.

The paper recognises that there are dedicated, compassionate people who are working hard every day to provide the best care they can within existing funding resources. There is agreement among all stakeholders that there should be zero tolerance for poor quality care, and a common aspiration to achieve high quality residential care outcomes that respect the rights of residents.

The aim of the paper is to bring providers, staff and consumers together to address the systemic issues in the aged care system that have led to breakdowns in quality care so that we can begin to lay the basis for continuous improvement in quality care.

The paper proposes two lines of action. Firstly, to take the short-term action necessary to give consumers greater confidence in the complaints scheme and accreditation, and to ensure minimum standards are in place and being upheld for all residents.

Secondly, to develop a more consumer-oriented system by the greater involvement of consumers in the monitoring, assessment and complaints processes and by much greater transparency in the care outcomes being delivered. Funding issues are important but equally so are leadership and a culture that respects the rights and dignity of older people.

The paper includes the stories that consumers have shared with us of their experiences of residential aged care. Although some are good, there are many of concern.

Here are some of the consumer stories that were shared with us.

Download a PDF copy of the complete report, Quality of Residential Care: The Consumer Perspective.