Support for aged care workers and quality care in Australia: A case of contract failure?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Public Administration, 2019, 78 (4), pp. 546 - 561
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© 2019 Institute of Public Administration Australia This paper is guided by Conservation of Resources theory and aims to investigate the impact of personal and organisational support on the quality of clinical care given to aged care residents in for-profit (FP) and not-for-profit (NFP) facilities. Broadly, the paper addresses challenges faced by governments in designing contract specifications that ensure quality outcomes from aged care providers. The argument is that the present accreditation standards that are used to assess the status of aged care providers are too narrow to capture the complexity in delivering social services. Data were collected from 442 aged care workers from aged care facilities in NSW, QLD and WA. The results show that carer support (personal and organisational support) explained half of the variance in quality of clinical care in NFP facilities, and a third of the variance in FP facilities. In particular, the findings suggest support for carers is important for carer retention, and ultimately the clinical care of residents. The findings provide supporting evidence to widen the required contract specifications for aged care provider accreditation to include organisational and personal support for carers.
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