Clinical outcomes in residential care: setting benchmarks for quality

Australas J Ageing. 2011 Jun;30(2):63-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6612.2010.00447.x. Epub 2010 Jul 22.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Benchmarking / standards*
  • Delphi Technique
  • Female
  • Health Services for the Aged / standards
  • Homes for the Aged / standards
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Homes / standards
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / standards*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / standards*
  • Residential Facilities / standards*