Aim: Australian residential aged care does not have a system of quality assessment related to clinical outcomes, or comprehensive quality benchmarking. The Residential Care Quality Assessment was developed to fill this gap; and this paper discusses the process by which preliminary benchmarks representing high and low quality were developed for it.
Methods: Data were collected from all residents (n = 498) of nine facilities. Numerator-denominator analysis of clinical outcomes occurred at a facility-level, with rank-ordered results circulated to an expert panel. The panel identified threshold scores to indicate excellent and questionable care quality, and refined these through Delphi process.
Results: Clinical outcomes varied both within and between facilities; agreed thresholds for excellent and poor outcomes were finalised after three Delphi rounds.
Conclusion: Use of the Residential Care Quality Assessment provides a concrete means of monitoring care quality and allows benchmarking across facilities; its regular use could contribute to improved care outcomes within residential aged care in Australia.
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 ACOTA.