Inside the system: aged care residents’ perspectives reports on a nation-wide survey of people living in residential aged care facilities. NARI conducted the survey on behalf of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, in partnership with Ipsos and the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW.

The survey explored:

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

To our knowledge, this is the first detailed study of its type that has been conducted independently in Australia about residential care services.

The survey included 391 residents or, where necessary, the resident’s representative as a proxy. Residents were drawn randomly from a representative random sample of 67 Australian residential aged care facilities (RACFs). The survey approach removed or minimised aged care providers’ influence on participant responses. Surveys were conducted from January to mid-March 2020 and halted early, prior to the lockdown of aged care facilities associated with the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Everyone living in residential aged care has the right to quality of care

Although this study found that the majority of residents are satisfied with the some aspects of the quality of their care, it is clear that a substantial proportion are not. These results highlight the need for action to improve quality of care delivered to those for whom the system is clearly failing.

It is clear that staffing issues (including understaffing, high staff turnover, and family-staff communication) are in need of addressing, as are many other aspects of residential aged care quality and services. The survey results also suggest the sector needs more effective management and regulation. This includes how complaints are resolved and monitoring how the system is performing so problems are identified and acted upon.

Research Paper 13 – Inside the system: aged care residents' perspectives

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