NARI’s submission draws on our knowledge of what makes good aged care. Residents want to be socially engaged, have good relationships with staff members, choice and control over their living space and routines, and opportunities to speak out about what is important to them. Good clinical care is also critically important.

The evidence base 

In our submission, we conducted a review of the literature on defining and measuring quality in residential aged care. Our review focused primarily on assessments of quality from the perspectives of residents, including through quality of life instruments, consumer satisfaction surveys and qualitative research studies. Despite the differences between these methods, we found they all came to similar findings. Residents want to:

  • Be socially engaged
  • Have good relationships with staff members,
  • Have choice and control over their living space and routines, and
  • Have opportunities to speak out about what is important to them.

Policy aimed at improving aged care models and quality standards should therefore incorporate these elements of quality care as priorities.

The importance of NARI’s research

Our submission also highlights the important role NARI has played in addressing the current challenges in aged care through our commitment to evidence-driven, translational research. This work includes our research into falls prevention and management, promotion of physical activity and healthy ageing, pain management, depression management, and cultural differences and language barriers.

Current federal aged care policy broadly assumes that market forces are the primary mechanism for driving quality improvements in aged care, where providers will self-innovate models of care to attract and retain consumers. In their Interim Report, the Royal Commission has noted some flaws of this assumption, and suggested a more active role for government in promoting innovative models of care. NARI endorses this suggestion. Our submission provides an outline of what such models might consist of, including examples of innovations to care and home design drawn from recent research literature. We emphasise that improvements to the Australian aged care system need to be evidence-based and supported by the kind of robust research NARI has been committed to for over 40 years.

Submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

Contact: Briony Dow