Two new validated quality assessment tools developed by leading researchers at the Flinders Caring Futures Institute are now available for use across the aged care sector.
The Quality of Life-Aged Care Consumers (QOL-ACC) and the Quality of Care Experience – Aged Care Consumers (QCE-ACC) are designed to measure and value quality of life and quality of care experience from the perspective of aged care consumers (older people and family carers).
The tools consist of six items each, and are accessible and easy to use, according to their developers, a team of researchers led by health and social care economics expert Professor Julie Ratcliffe.
Prof Ratcliffe and her team have been developing a quality of life instrument with older Australians since 2018.
In 2020 the team conducted research for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety to develop and validate a quality of care experience instrument.
This led to the QCE-ACC, which was recommended by the Royal Commission in its final report, handed down in February 2021, as a suitable, valid, and reliable measure.
The final report delivered scathing findings that uncovered “fundamental systemic flaws with the way the Australian aged care system is designed and governed”.
Prof Ratcliffe welcomed the report, saying that the foundations of a new system must place older people at its heart.
She says it’s important that older people are encouraged and given tools to report their own quality of life and quality of care experience data.
“Approximately 53% of older Australians in permanent residential aged care have a dementia diagnosis. Where possible, we recommend that older people are encouraged to report their own quality of life and quality of care experience data,” Prof Ratcliffe says.
“However, when this is not possible, we have versions of both the measures that can be completed by proxies, that is a family carer or other person who knows the older person well and sees them regularly.”
In total, approximately 2500 older Australians and seven aged care providers have been involved in the development of the QOL-ACC.
Several formats are available for both instruments including hard copy, digital completion and interview-facilitated versions.
User guides are also available for both instruments.