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Several national research projects have been undertaken during the life of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety that have substantially improved understanding of the quality of aged care services and the community’s expectations for higher quality care to be achieved in the future. This report summarises the results from those national research projects and provides additional analysis about how the results were distributed.
The national research projects utilised a large-scale general public survey of Australians and two surveys of older people receiving home care and residential care in Australia (or their family carer as a proxy). The general public survey included questions about respondents’ perception of the importance of various aged care quality attributes, their understanding of the aged care system, and their willingness to pay for care that they regard as ‘satisfactory’ and ‘high’ quality.
These surveys provide Australia with an important set of baseline data from which to evaluate aged care reform and public expectations in the future. Importantly, they also enabled the development and validation of the QCE which has filled the gap in the research toolkit needed to measure the overall quality of care experience from the care recipient’s perspective.
Routine measurement and public reporting of quality of care experience, as well as quality of life, are essential to understanding the effectiveness of aged care in Australia and internationally. By repeating the surveys at regular intervals, it will be possible to monitor the progress of Australian aged care, promote continuous quality improvement among service providers, and move more quickly to address problems within the system. Routine measurement will also be critical for maintaining the public’s understanding of the aged care system’s performance, whether their expectations for high quality are being achieved, and to foster public confidence.