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Research helps give a voice to aged care residents

Australian aged care residents have been given a chance to share their experiences of life in residential homes, and to shape the future of the sector, as part of recent research conducted by La Trobe University.

Residents share their personal experiences on key aspects of their care (Source: Shutterstock)
Residents share their personal experiences on key aspects of their care (Source: Shutterstock)

La Trobe’s Australian Institute for Primary Care and Ageing conducted the extensive research on behalf of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA), supporting the agency in producing new Consumer Experience Reports.

The reports include responses to questions that the La Trobe team developed such as “Do you feel safe here?” and “Do you like the food here?”

The pilot study was run in March this year by La Trobe Professor Yvonne Wells, Dr Angela Herd and Dr Deidre Fetherstonhaugh to test the questions on residents at ten aged care homes in Sydney, Melbourne and Launceston.

“The pilot study found that Consumer Experience Reports are a feasible way to gather information on the experience of people living in residential aged care facilities,” Professor Wells says.

“We identified 12 questions for AACQA to ask residents as part of the accreditation process, including how well staff meet their healthcare needs, whether they feel safe, what they think of the food, and how they would improve the home.”

Professor Wells says the questions were designed to allow residents to share their personal experiences on key aspects of their care, either directly or through a representative.

“It gives residents a stronger voice and allows other consumers to make informed choices about aged care,” she says.

“Providers can also use the information to identify opportunities for improving the experiences of residents.”

Professor Wells will attend the Better Practice Conference in Sydney this week (17-18 August) where the AACQA will officially launch the new Consumer Experience Reports.

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