Measuring quality of life in aged care

Thursday, 22 August, 2019

Measuring quality of life in aged care

Understanding what good quality of life means to aged-care consumers could assist economic evaluation of services, researchers say.

Their work, titled A Good Life: Developing a New Quality of Life Instrument with Older People For Economic Evaluation in Aged Care, is a three-year project based at Flinders University’s Caring Futures Institute, a dedicated research centre for the study of self-care and caring solutions.

Researchers from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, partnering with several aged-care organisations, are working with older people receiving aged-care services to find out what is important for them to have a good quality of life.

The quality of life measure will also quantify older people’s preferences, which can then be used in the economic evaluation of aged-care services.

The Australian Research Council Linkage Program includes interviews with older Australians living in residential care and aims to target older people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

“One in four older people accessing aged-care services are from CALD backgrounds and we want the final quality of life measure to be meaningful, suitable and acceptable to all older Australians,” Project Manager Dr Claire Hutchinson said.

The gathered interviews will help develop a descriptive model of what good quality of life means to aged-care consumers, the researchers said.

From this, a preference-based quality of life measure will be developed, producing a scoring algorithm for use in quality assessment and economic evaluation of aged-care services.

“The ageing of Australia’s population represents a significant challenge for aged care,” one of the project leaders, Professor Julie Ratcliffe, said.

“New methods, techniques and evaluative frameworks are needed to overcome resource constraints while maximising the quality of life and wellbeing of older Australians.

“Our new quality of life instrument will be the first of its kind developed from its inception with older Australians and placing their values at the heart of assessment of the quality and cost-effectiveness of aged-care innovations and services.”

The researchers said the need for the new measure was industry driven and the project was being conducted in partnership with aged-care service providers Helping Hand and ECH in SA, Presbyterian Aged Care in NSW and ACT, Uniting in NSW and ACT, and Uniting AgeWell in Victoria and Tasmania.

“This instrument is urgently needed and will give voice to what our consumers really want and value as they age,” said Helping Hand Research and Development Executive Manager Megan Corlis.

Image credit: © Kuttelvaserova

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