Alternative staffing structures in a clustered domestic model of residential aged care in Australia

Stephanie L. Harrison, Suzanne M. Dyer, Rachel Milte, Enwu Liu, Emmanuel S. Gnanamanickam, Maria Crotty

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Objective: A clustered domestic model of residential aged care has been associated with better consumer-rated quality of care. Our objective was to examine differences in staffing structures between clustered domestic and standard models. Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 541 individuals living in 17 Australian not-for-profit residential aged care homes. Results: Four of the homes offered dementia-specific clustered domestic models of care with higher personal care attendant (PCA) hours-per-resident-per-day (mean [SD] 2.43 [0.29] vs. 1.74 [0.46], P < 0.001), slightly higher direct care hours-per-resident-per-day (2.66 [0.35] vs. 2.58 [0.44], P = 0.006), higher staff training costs ($1492 [258] vs. $989 [928], P < 0.001) and lower registered/enrolled nurse hours-per-resident-per-day (0.23 [0.10] vs. 0.85 [0.17], P < 0.001) compared to standard models. Conclusions: An Australian clustered domestic model of care had higher PCA hours, more staff training and more direct care time compared to standard models. Further research to determine optimal staffing structures within alternative models of care is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

(CC-BY 4.0) Open Access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license ( .


  • health services for the aged
  • nursing homes
  • nursing staff


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