The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency will start publishing consumer experience reports as part of its reviews of home and community-based services later this year, the quality watchdog has announced.

The agency will start piloting the new consumer feedback measure by 1 July, with a full introduction of the reports later in 2018, Community Care Review can confirm.

Consumer experience reports commenced in residential aged care in July 2017.

“The pilot will involve working with a number of providers in testing a broad set of interview questions,” a spokesperson told CCR.

To develop a set of questions relevant to the community aged care context, the agency commissioned La Trobe University to review current evidence on what drives consumer choice in community care and how consumers assess a quality service.

Eight quality domains were identified in the review and relate to aspects such as control, interpersonal interaction, flexibility, affordability and timeliness of service provision.

A spokesperson for the agency said the full report by the Australian Institute for Primary Care and Ageing would be published “shortly” on its website.

The agency will pilot options for gathering consumer feedback in community care including surveys, online and face-to-face interviews.

“The intention in developing the consumer experience reports for home and community-based care is to optimise consumer participation in the quality assessment of services and reflect these views in a published report,” the spokesperson said.

The consumer questions will also cover the aged care standards.

In residential aged care, the consumer experience reports capture interview data from a randomly selected sample of residents via 10 questions. Areas covered include whether consumers feel safe, their healthcare needs are met, they are treated with respect and listened to, and whether they think staff are competent. (View a sample here)

The minimum number of interviews to be undertaken for the consumer reports in home and community-based care is still being determined and will be informed by the pilot results and consultation, the agency said.

The agency has evaluated the introduction of the consumer feedback reports in residential care and said the findings are being used to inform its auditing priorities.

“We have understood how the interviews can be used to more effectively identify risks and focus on areas that might require attention in our audits,” the spokesperson said.

The presentation of the data will be similar to the residential care reports to ensure consistency, the agency confirmed.

Home care and Commonwealth Home Support Program services are required to undergo a quality review at least once every three years.

The agency undertakes a quality review of each National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flexible aged care service at least once every two years.

In 2016, the Federal Government commissioned a pilot to test consumer experience and quality of life tools in home and residential care as part of its national quality indicator program.

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