Jun 15, 2021

New research to evaluate quality of life measurement tool for aged care

Happy lady in aged care home

In a collaboration between CarePage, Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC) and the University of South Australia, the project will evaluate the Happy Life Index, which launched in 2019 after four years of co-design with consumers, health professionals and providers.

CarePage CEO Lauren Todorovic, who is a co-creator of the Happy Life Index, explained as older people move into the stage of their life where they require additional care and support, their priorities and preferences inevitably change. Many of the existing quality of life measurement tools do not recognise this, and are better designed for more independent individuals. 

DHCRC CEO Dr Terry Sweeney said the project was closely aligned with the organisation’s focus on aged care and responding to the findings of the recent Royal Commission report, confirming the individual must be at the centre of reform for the sector.

“Both providers and regulators need access to information about what recipients of care and their families want to see,” Dr Sweeney said. 

The research project will be led by Associate Professor Steven Milanese from the University of South Australia, providing independent validation contributing to the evidence basis supporting future development, such as building in predictive algorithms. 

“It is vital that when we collect feedback from consumers, we are confident that the tools we are using and the questions we are asking give us a good understanding of the situation,” A/Prof Milanese said. 

“By assessing the Happy Life Index responses, we can gain an understanding of how well it reflects the individual’s perspective, which will provide us with a solid basis to explore how changes in the aged care sector change an individual’s quality of life. We are excited by the opportunity to explore how well the Happy Life Index performs.”

Ms Todorovic from CarePage added, “Through this research project, we hope to continue to build the Happy Life Index and encourage sector-wide adoption of tools to meet this unmet need.” 

Addressing Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations

The recent Aged Care Royal Commission highlighted the need to give greater weight to the voice of people receiving aged care, and the importance of consumer experience reporting.

The Executive Summary (p 138) notes “the most valuable feedback on the quality and safety of aged care comes from people receiving aged care and their families and advocates.”

Recommendation 94 in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, endorsed channels to enable aged care consumers and their families to report their experiences of aged care and the performance of aged care providers, year-round.

The report also highlighted the lack of digital development to support the collection and reporting of data, placing an administrative burden on providers. 

DHCRC’s Flagship Research & Education Director, Sue Gordon who is Professor of Healthy Ageing at Flinders University, confirmed this new research announcement was welcomed by the sector.

“This project can help directly address key recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission, making a positive contribution to the evidence base that is critical for the digital uplift of Australia’s aged care sector,” Professor Gordon said.

Providers can register their interest in participating or stay up-to-date with the Happy Life Index research by visiting happylifeindex.com.au

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  1. Hi everyone this is my first time seeing this article and i am pleased to see that somebody other than
    myself to have great interest in the Aged Care Industries all over Australia, i am a ex- aged care worker after many years ago.

    I am now here for more of a personal interest in the Treatment and Care of the elderly in aged care facilities because as of 4 years ago my own mother was admitted to a Aged Care Facility as her health is in need of care during this 4 years i her eldest daughter have witnessed and noticed a number of faults and lack of duty of care by staff members including the management and corporate office staff which some of them who give little or not much time when a family member of a elderly resident has a issue or problem which they should look into and if needed investigate and check up, which is just been dismissed by these people of different calibra in the work positions they are in, It seems to me that there are a Minimum amount of staff that do actually take there work position seriously and with passion and compassion towards the elderly the rest of the staff are not interested or even don’t take much notice of the needs of the fragile elderly. We the families and relatives we are there children and family members have to tolerate this lack of professionalism in the Aged Care Facilities all around Australia, what happened to the compassion, respect, dignity, care, responsibilities that should be given by those that are paid to protect and maintain a fair and reasonable amount of passion towards there jobs, and show respect, passion, to the elderly, our family members.

    My advice to this problem would be to have cameras installed in Every single aged care facility and that there should be a security department in each building at each aged care home 24hrs monitoring the behaviour of every person in the nursing home that way all are protected and the proper care would be given at the nursing home. considering the fact that these nursing homes are making millions of dollars profits for the corporate and shareholders, there has to be something done and not just talk only.

    I also think that there should be a regular Audit throughout each nursing home to and there should be surprised visits of the Audits visiting centres is more likely to notice the misbehaviour, negligence been done by some centres.

    I would also suggest that there is a box put at the end of each corridor and building at the nursing homes and so anyone including family members can leave a anonymous notes in this box which anyone has a complaint or needs to be looked in to.

    It all can and has to start somewhere before all is unmanageable later in years time.

    Thank You All .

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