What defines quality of care for older people in aged care? A comprehensive literature review

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The quality of the care provided to frail older people in aged care is a concern for all Australians and for the citizens of many other countries internationally. This paper summarizes the methods and findings from an Australian study commissioned by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety to identify and synthesize international literature relating to the quality of care in aged care. A comprehensive literature review was undertaken to search and identify the literature (grey and peer reviewed) relating to quality of care and/or person-centered care in aged care. The review identified nine key themes as salient to the quality of care experience, which include treating the older person with respect and dignity; acknowledging and supporting their spiritual, cultural, religious and sexual identity; the skills and training of the aged care staff providing care; relationships between the older person and the aged care staff; social relationships and the community; supporting the older person to make informed choices; supporting the older person's health and well-being; ensuring the delivery of safe care in a comfortable service environment; and the ability to make complaints and provide feedback to the aged care organization. In practice, particularly in the context of residential care, quality of care has traditionally been measured using clinical indicators of care quality. These findings highlight the central importance of person-centered care and care experience as fundamental tenets of the quality of aged care service delivery in Australia and internationally. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2021; 21: 765–778.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-778
Number of pages14
JournalGeriatrics and Gerontology International
Issue number9
Early online date13 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • aged
  • home care services
  • homes for the aged
  • patient-centered care
  • quality of healthcare


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