The conversations of life

The top complaint from aged care residents? The food


16 per cent of residents only like the food some of the time or none of the time, according to the first release of feedback from the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA)’s new Consumer Experience reports in aged care homes.

The AACQA began interviewing residents in July last year, at least 12 at each home, as part of its reaccreditation audits – in total, over 15,000 interviews in more than 1,100 – and the insights do show that the majority of residents are satisfied with their care.

Over 97 per cent of respondents said they felt staff treated them with respect either most of the time or all of the time, while over 98 per cent said they felt safe in the service most or all of the time.

However, three per cent of respondents said there was no staff they could talk to if they felt worried or sad while another 15 per cent said they were ‘neutral’ – which is a concern.

Putting residents and families first

There is some good news. The Federal Government has just signed off on new aged care Quality Standards which providers must implement by 1 July 2019.

The first revamp of the standards in 20 years, they cover:

  • Consumer dignity and choice
  • Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers
  • Personal care and clinical care
  • Services and supports for daily living
  • Organisation’s service environment
  • Feedback and complaints
  • Human resources
  • Organisational governance.

Under the standards, providers must work with residents and their families to manage their day-to-day and ongoing care.

While many providers do an exemplary job of this, the new Standards will ensure aged care boards and management will be held accountable for residents’ safety and quality of care – food included.

A practising aged care physiotherapist for the past 13 years, Jill has worked in more than 50 metropolitan and regional aged care homes. She has also toured care facilities across the US and Africa. She is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff that serve them.

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