Caring Futures Institute research lead Professor Julie Ratcliffe reflected on the importance of quality of life to aged care consumers and their families at a Royal Commission workshop in Adelaide last month.
Professor Ratcliffe, who is a Matthew Flinders Fellow and research lead for the Better Systems and Health and Social Care Economics themes, was a witness at the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s February 11 workshop.
Professor Ratcliffe told the workshop that information about quality of life assessments and the costs and benefits associated with the provision of services should be routinely collected and made public.
“For every cost there is a benefit and we need to weigh those two sides of the equation up very carefully,” she said.
“I think we need to make better use of routinely collected data and we also need to introduce new data collection mechanisms. I think it’s very important … that we measure outcomes. But these should not only be clinical indicators of outcome, but they should also be those outcomes that we know matter the most to older people and their families and carers, which are focused on quality of life and wellbeing.”
Professor Ratcliffe has a strong research interest in measuring the quality of life and wellbeing of older Australians.
Her three-year research project, funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Program, aims to develop new quality of life measures that aged care providers can use for quality assessments with their clients.
Researchers from the Caring Futures Institute, partnering with several aged care organisations, are working with older people receiving aged care services to find out what is most important to them in having a good quality of life.
The new quality of life measures for home and residential care will also help quantify older people’s preferences which can be used in economic evaluation of services.
“I think that type of evidence is really important and critical as we move forward with the redesign of Australia’s aged care system,” Professor Ratcliffe said.
“We are expected to have our … final outcome measures available by the end of this year.”
Click here to read the full transcript of the workshop.