Inside the system: home and respite care clients’ perspectives presents the results of a nation-wide telephone survey of people receiving Home Care Packages or respite services. The survey was designed to enable older people who receive home care or respite care services, including those living with cognitive decline, to express how they feel about their lives and the care they receive. To our knowledge, this is the first detailed study of its kind in Australia.

The study was undertaken by the National Ageing Research Institute, in partnership with Ipsos and the Social Policy Research Centre of UNSW.

The survey explored:

  • Clients’ views on their quality of care,
  • Clients’ life satisfaction and quality of life, and
  • Clients’ concerns and complaints about care, including reasons that concerns go unreported.

In this survey, telephone interviews were conducted between mid-April 2020 and early June 2020 with a randomly drawn representative sample of clients or their representative who were receiving:

  • A Home Care Package (HCP),
  • Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) respite services (centre, cottage or flexible respite), or
  • Residential respite services.

As this survey was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, clients were also asked how the pandemic and associated restrictions affected their lives and the care services they need or receive.

The report identified areas in which clients most commonly had concerns, to whom they spoke about those concerns and whether they were resolved satisfactorily. For clients who did not discuss their concerns with anyone else, we explored the reasons why these concerns were unreported.

There is a need to develop a far more comprehensive system for capturing and resolving client concerns. Increased regulation of the aged care sector is also needed to ensure that all aged care services are of optimal quality and are improving outcomes for older people.

Research Paper 14 – Inside the system: home and respite care clients’ perspectives

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety media release: What it’s like for people inside the aged care system