Aged care homes under consumer watch

A new evidence-based index offers insights into consumer experiences of aged care.

The Consumer Choice Index – 6 Dimension (CCI-6D) questionnaire was designed by Flinders University’s Investigating Services Provided in the Residential Care Environment for Dementia (INSPIRED) team funded by the NHMRC Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre.

The questionnaire was presented at the Senate Inquiry into the Effectiveness of the Aged Care Quality Assessment and accreditation framework.

The CCI-6D has been developed to specifically evaluate the quality of care in aged care homes from a consumer perspective, and could be an effective response to the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes, released last month.

The review called for better systems of information sharing on provider performance and consumer directed care in the aged care sector.

The CCI-6D questionnaire can be used by organisations to properly evaluate the success of interventions and innovations to improve care from their customers’ perspectives.

The index could also provide a framework for national benchmarks and ratings in aged care, which if made available to the public, could help families make more informed choices about aged-care providers.

One of the research team, Dr Suzanne Dyer from Flinders University’s Rehabilitation, Aged and Extended Care in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, says the questionnaire incorporates multiple aspects of care.

“Our research indicates several things are important to residents and their family members; the way staff provide care, respect for the individual as a person, the physical and social environment, and the level of autonomy given to individuals,” Dr Suzanne Dyer says.

“Previous efforts to measure quality in aged care homes have focused mostly on the perspectives and opinions of staff or independent assessors. The CCI-6D bridges this gap, with a questionnaire that measures quality of care developed from its inception from the perspectives of residents and family members.”

The CCI-6D questionnaire measures six key characteristics of good quality care, which are the extent to which:
(a) formal caregivers are able to spend enough time attending to individual’s needs;
(b) the shared spaces of the facility are home-like and non-institutional;
(c) the individual rooms of the facility are homelike and non-institutional;
(d) there is choice in access to outside and gardens;
(e) there is access to meaningful activities individualised for the person;
(f) there is flexibility in the time that care activities are undertaken.

The project’s paper Evaluating the quality of care received in long-term care facilities from a consumer perspective: development and construct validity of the Consumer Choice Index – Six Dimension instrument was recently published in Ageing and Society here. (Doi:10.1017/S0144686X17000861)

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