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New Aged Care Quality Indicators From October 2022

19/07/22
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The National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) started on 1 July 2019 and was updated on 1 July 2021. The mandatory Program requires Commonwealth-subsidised residential aged care services to collect data and report on a set of Quality Indicators (QIs) every three months.

Currently, services must collect data and report on these five QIs:

  • pressure injuries
  • physical restraint
  • unplanned weight loss
  • falls and major injury
  • medication management, including polypharmacy and anti-psychotics.

 

The QI Program is expanding to add six new QIs from October 2022. Today we look at what the Department of Health and Aged Care’s updated guidance tells us about the new QIs.

 

What Are the New QIs?

In addition to the five existing QIs, from October 2022 residential aged care providers will also have to report on:

  • Activities of daily living (ADL): percentage of care recipients whose ADL function has declined
  • Continence: percentage of care recipients with incontinence associated dermatitis
  • Hospitalisations: percentage of care recipients who presented to hospital
  • Workforce: percentage of staff turnover
  • Consumer experience: percentage of care recipients who report good or excellent experience of the service
  • Quality of life: percentage of care recipients who report good or excellent quality of life.

 

These new QIs were tested in the Department of Health and Aged Care’s recent pilot program.

 

QI Pilot Program

Between 15 November and 17 December 2021, the Department of Health and Aged Care (Department) sought feedback on the QI Program from a broad range of stakeholders via virtual and written consultations. Feedback from the consultations was combined with advice from technical experts to develop six additional/new QIs for a pilot program. The six-week pilot program commenced on 21 March 2022. The program tested the new QIs in a national representative sample of 131 residential aged care services.

 

What Did the Pilot Program Show?

Participants in the pilot program confirmed that:

  • the new QIs were easy to understand and feasible to implement
  • aged care services can use routine care processes and records to help gather data for the new QIs
  • different aged care services found different results when they gathered data on the new QIs (suggesting that the new QIs will provide some useful information about the quality of care provided by different services)
  • the new QIs can provide useful information about the quality of aged care services and assist in continuous quality improvement and performance.

 

What’s Next?

The new QIs are expected to commence in October 2022.

The Department is now consolidating the findings from the pilot program. These findings will inform a ministerial decision on the QIs for inclusion in the QI Program expansion. This will be followed by an announcement on the expanded QI Program.

The Department has assured aged care providers that they 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.

 

Further Resources

PricewaterhouseCoopers was part of the consortium that was engaged to assist the Department with the further expansion of the QI Program. They have provided an Evidence Review Summary Report, a Consultation Paper for All Stakeholders and a Consultation Paper for Consumers, Consumer Representatives, Families and Carers.

 

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About the Author

Elita Bird

Elita is a Legal Content Associate at CompliSpace. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree and is currently completing a Bachelor of Laws at the University of New England.

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