Associations between clinical indicators of quality and aged-care residents' needs and consumer and staff satisfaction: the first Australian study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Health Review, 2019, 43 (2), pp. 133 - 141
Issue Date:
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© 2019 AHHA. Objectives: To ascertain Australian multistate prevalence and incidence of five commonly collected clinical indicators of aged-care home quality and to measure associations between these clinical indicators and levels of care needs and consumer and staff satisfaction. Methods: A retrospective analysis of national audit data collected from 426 facilities between 2015 and 2016 was performed. Regression models were used to examine associations between five clinical indicators (falls, pressure injury, physical restraint, unplanned weight loss and polypharmacy) and level of care needs measured by the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) and consumer and care staff survey responses. Results: With the exception of polypharmacy, commonly collected negative clinical outcomes were rare events. Compared with care homes with <25% of residents having high-level care needs (high ACFI), homes with 25<75% high-ACFI residents had more occurrences of all negative clinical outcomes except pressure injury. Homes with ≥75% high-ACFI residents reported the highest rates of polypharmacy (odds ratio 1.48, 95% confidence interval 1.39-1.57). Falls, unplanned weight loss and pressure injury were inversely associated with satisfaction scores adjusted for residents' level of care needs. Conclusions: This first Australian study of multistate clinical indicator data suggests interpretation of clinical indicators of aged-care home quality requires consideration of the level of residents' care needs. What is known about the topic?: Many Australian aged-care providers use quality indicators (QI) through benchmarking companies or in-house programs. The five most widely used aged-care clinical QIs in Australia are falls, pressure injury, physical restraint, unplanned weight loss and polypharmacy. Prevalence and incidence of these QIs are highly variable among Australian studies. A consistent message in the international literature is that residents' clinical characteristics influence QI outcomes at baseline and may continue to influence outcomes over time. Study of associations between Australian aged-care home characteristics and QI outcomes has been limited. What does this paper add?: This is the first Australian study of multistate clinical QI data. It is also the first to consider the level of resident care needs in the interpretation of clinical QI outcomes and exploration of the association between level of consumer and staff satisfaction and QI outcomes. What are the implications for practitioners?: Understanding the connections between aged-care home characteristics, consumer and staff perceptions and clinical QIs is crucial in the meaningful interpretation of QI outcomes in context. With the recent introduction of the National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program, it is timely to review national policy, to gauge current quality of care and the measure of care quality in the sector, and to develop directions for possible research to inform and resolve debates regarding the potential influence and unplanned effects that such a program may have.
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