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

Clinical outcomes in residential care: setting benchmarks for quality.

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Institute of Health & Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Queensland, Australia.



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.


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.


Clinical outcomes varied both within and between facilities; agreed thresholds for excellent and poor outcomes were finalised after three Delphi rounds.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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