Expansion of residential aged care quality indicators

A man and a woman, both seniors, standing together in a kitchen. The woman holds a bowl on the kitchen counter while the man scrapes something into it from another bowl.

The National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) is expanding to include new quality indicators and consumer experience and quality of life measures from October 2022.

The Department is making progress on work to develop quality indicators through a review of the evidence, extensive consultation, and testing through a six-week pilot in residential aged care.

Older Australians, aged care providers, peak organisations and technical experts have been engaged to provide feedback on quality indicators they find most meaningful, useful for quality improvement and appropriate for collection as part of the QI Program.

What we heard

Consultation with older Australians, aged care providers, peak organisations and technical experts highlighted:

  • value in monitoring care to build transparency into the aged care system and, over time, to inform choice
  • direct links between quality indicators and improvements in quality outcomes
  • support for capturing the consumer voice through consumer experience and quality of life measures
  • importance of meaningful and consistent relationships with aged care staff and the need to measure workforce continuity
  • the need for basic quality outcome measures across crucial areas of care, including activities of daily living (ADLs), continence and hospitalisation.

Feedback from consultation was consolidated alongside input from technical experts, to develop the following quality indicators for pilot.

DomainQuality indicators
Activities of daily livingPercentage of care recipients whose ADL function has declined
ContinencePercentage of care recipients with incontinence associated dermatitis
HospitalisationPercentage of care recipients who presented to hospital
WorkforcePercentage of staff turnover
Consumer experiencePercentage of care recipients who report good or excellent experience of the service
Quality of lifePercentage of care recipients who report good or excellent quality of life

A six-week pilot tested the quality indicators in a national representative sample of 131 residential aged care services.

Through this pilot, participants confirmed:

  • the quality indicators were easy to understand and feasible to implement
  • routine care processes and records can be used to supporting reporting across the quality indicators
  • variation in the quality indicator results supporting use of the measures for the QI Program
  • quality indicators can provide useful information about the quality of aged care services and assist in continuous quality improvement and performance.

What we’re doing

The Department is now consolidating findings across the entirety of the project. These findings will inform a ministerial decision on the quality indicators for inclusion in the QI Program expansion.

An announcement on the expanded QI Program will follow. Aged care providers will be supported in the lead-up to implementation, with tailored resources and guidance materials. The existing QI Program materials will be revised to incorporate the new measures across manuals, dedicated information sheets, interactive modules and data reporting templates.

For further updates on QI Program expansion please sign up to the engagement database.

Let's change aged care, together

Every Australian should feel confident about accessing high quality and safe aged care, when and where they need it.

The changes mean older Australians will have greater choice and control, services that respect and meet their needs, and support to stay independent as they age.

To find out more and help design the changes, visit the Get Involved page or call 1800 318 209.

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The Department of Health and Aged Care acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.