In Australia, residential aged care services support around 270,500 clients in over 2,700 facilities.
Poor experience is a persistent concern and precipitated the recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. The COVID-19 pandemic has since highlighted issues with quality of life in residential aged care.
But are some residents at a higher risk than others of a poor experience in aged care?
Researchers, Professor Yvonne Wells and Kane Solly, analysed over 17,000 Consumer Experience Report interviews to determine the predictors of a quality experience.
The research team discovered that men and people with mobility issues have poorer experiences in aged care. Consumer experience, however, was best predicted by home size.
“There is evidence that smaller facilities provide care that is perceived more positively by residents,” explains Professor Wells, “which challenges the current funding structures that encourage the development of large aged care homes, while many smaller homes struggle to remain financially viable.”
Wells and Solly contend that better funding for smaller-sized facilities may help to improve the experiences of residents in aged care.
“The results also suggest that facilities and governments should attend to the experiences of targeted groups, such as men and people with mobility issues, and identify possible mitigating strategies,” adds Professor Wells. “Facilities, for example, may seek to create spaces and programs that are more accessible to people with mobility difficulty.”