Quality of life measurement in community-based aged care: understanding variation between clients and between care service providers

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Background: Measuring person-centred outcomes and using this information to improve service delivery is a challenge for many care providers. We aimed to identify predictors of QoL among older adults receiving community-based aged care services and examine variation across different community care service outlets.

Methods: A retrospective sample of 1141 Australians aged ≥60 years receiving community-based care services from a large service provider within 19 service outlets. Clients' QoL was captured using the ICEpop CAPability Index. QoL scores and predictors of QoL (i.e. sociodemographic, social participation and service use) were extracted from clients' electronic records and examined using multivariable regression. Funnel plots were used to examine variation in risk-adjusted QoL scores across service outlets.

Results: Mean age was 81.5 years (SD = 8) and 75.5% were women. Clients had a mean QoL score of 0.81 (range 0-1, SD = 0.15). After accounting for other factors, being older (p < 0.01), having lower-level care needs (p < 0.01), receiving services which met needs for assistance with activities of daily living (p < 0.01), and having higher levels of social participation (p < 0.001) were associated with higher QoL scores. Of the 19 service outlets, 21% (n = 4) had lower mean risk-adjusted QoL scores than expected (< 95% control limits) and 16% (n = 3) had higher mean scores than expected.

Conclusion: Using QoL as an indicator to compare care quality may be feasible, with appropriate risk adjustment. Implementing QoL tools allows providers to measure and monitor their performance and service outcomes, as well as identify clients with poor quality of life who may need extra support.

Trial registration: Australian and New Zealand clinical trial registry number: ACTRN12617001212347 . Registered 18/08/2017.

Original languageEnglish
Article number390
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Home and community care
  • Aged care services
  • Quality indicators


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