Latest posts by Sue Walker (see all)

What the Indicators Show about an Aged Care Facility

For the first time in Australia research on the indicators of care in an Aged Care Facility has been undertaken by the Office of the Royal Commission. That report on a number of indicators has been released in November 2020.

The report is extensive and provides comparisons on a number of care indicators.

Aged care facilities with 1-30 places returned the best result on 24 of the quality and safety indicators. Facilities with over 180 places returned the best result on 6 indicators. Each indicator is presented separately in the report with a description and explanation. What I have done is provide the information on several indicators as a summary.

This indicator information is important because it provides both managers and staff in aged care facilities an understanding of key components of care and service delivery and allows comparison which should drive quality improvement. Likewise, for the community, it is important as it provides indicator information for consumers so that they understand the care issues associated with aged care facilities. Consequently, they are able to choose the best care option for them.

As you read the post you can start to reflect on how your aged care facility would rank. A full review of the indicators in the report will be provided as a webinar on the Nursing CPD Institute in the coming weeks.

Consider the Indicator of Nursing Minutes per Resident in an Aged Care Facility.

Staff reviewed under this indicator include registered and enrolled Nurses and the term Licensed Nurses

The result is during the 2018/19 financial year, on average facilities with 1-30 places showed the best result out of the four facility sizes for this indicator. How do we know how many minutes of care a Resident in an aged care facility requires? When planning budgets and rosters what system do we use to predict the number of minutes required to deliver care? There needs to be far more discussion on the system that we use to determine the minutes required by the residents in aged care facilities.

     1   – 30 beds 31 – 60 beds 61 – 100 beds 101 – 180 beds Over 180 beds
91 minutes per resident 44 minutes per resident 40 minutes per resident 39 minutes per resident 39 minutes per resident

Personal Care Indicator per Resident in an Aged Care Facility

With the personal care indicator during the 2018/19 financial year, on average facilities with over 180 places showed the best result out of the four facility sizes for this indicator. The report also notes that higher personal care minutes per resident may come at the expense of a decrease in the number of Nursing minutes per patient. It is also noteworthy that these figures are an average over a 24-hour day.

1 – 30 beds 31 – 60 beds 61 – 100 beds 101 – 180 beds Over 180 beds
118 minutes 118 minutes 128 minutes 130 minutes 136 minutes

Falls in an Aged Care Facility

For falls in the 2016/17 financial year, on average facilities with 1-30 places showed the best result out of the four facility sizes for this indicator. The criteria for this indicator was admission to hospital.

1 – 30 beds 31 – 60 beds 61 – 100 beds 101 – 180 beds Over 180 beds
1 in every 11.4 residents 1 in every 8.5 residents 1 in every 8.6 residents 1 in every 8.5 residents 1 in every 7.7 residents

Pressure Injuries a care indicator in an Aged Care Facility

With Pressure Injuries in the 2016/17 financial year, on average facilities with 1-30 places showed the best result out of the four facility sizes for this indicator. The figures are from Residents presenting to an emergency department or a hospital admission from an aged care facility with a pressure injury.

1 – 30 beds 31 – 60 beds 61 – 100 beds 101 – 180 beds Over 180 beds
1 in every 44.8 residents 1 in every 33.6 residents 1 in every 30.4 residents 1 in every 28.7 residents 1 in every 30.2 residents

Weight Loss a care indicator in an Aged Care Facility

And finally, I wanted to touch on weight loss. In the 2016/17 financial year, on average facilities with 1-30 places showed the best result out of the four facility sizes for this indicator. The indicator is where a resident of an aged care facility had an admission to hospital where weight loss and/or malnutrition was reported.

1 – 30 beds 31 – 60 beds 61 – 100 beds 101 – 180 beds Over 180 beds
1 in every 113.6 residents 1 in every 55.2 residents 1 in every 60.6 residents 1 in every 53.5 residents 1 in every 59.2 residents

Opportunities

This report provides an opportunity for the management and staff of aged care facilities to review the service delivered to clients. Specifically, it provides the opportunity for the aged care industry to reflect on the level of service that can be delivered with the funds available to do so. In fact, it has always been assumed that bigger is better but that is not necessarily the case – with smaller facilities being able to deliver better outcomes on a larger number of indicators.

As a community, we are able to deliver services in aged care facilities that we are willing to fund via our taxation system. When you ask the question should we provide a better level of service in aged care facilities the answer is always – yes of course. If we ask the question is the community willing to increase the amount of tax that workers pay to deliver a better service then the answer is a little different. It usually includes the caveat of – we need to be sure that the existing money is being spent well, there are cost efficiencies that could be made with purchasing,  and the staffing model should be reviewed. Not to mention – we should consider a more extensive user-pay model.

Conclusion

One thing for sure is that the existing system needs a rethink and I encourage you to be part of the conversation.

In conclusion, it is my opinion, the care provided to the clients of aged care facilities is a direct reflection of the ethics and morals of a society. This report identifies that there is a large amount of work to be done to review the way in which care and services are delivered to older people requiring institutional accommodation in this country. The full report can be found here>>.

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