What quality of life domains are most important to older adults in residential care?

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Quality of life is a critically important outcome measure in aged care. However, few studies have provided a detailed examination of what quality of life means to older adults living in residential care. In the current study, N = 43 older adults (67 to 99 years) living in six residential aged care facilities in four Australian states took part in semi-structured interviews. Participants had normal cognition through to mild /moderate cognitive impairment as measured by the PAS-Cog, were able to provide informed consent, and could participate in an interview conducted in English. Interviews were transcribed, and data was analyzed in NVivo using thematic analysis. Both physical and psycho-social aspects were identified as important for older adults’ quality of life with six key quality of life domains identified: independence, mobility, pain management, social connections, emotional well-being, and activities. More research is needed to test these domains with a more diverse sample of older adults living in residential aged care, in particular older adults from culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Such qualitative work is essential for the development of suitable quality of life measures for this population and provides valuable information to inform improvements to care practices and service provision. Some ways in which the identified quality of life domains could be used to enhance care provision are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Aging and Social Policy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Oct 2022


  • Long-term care
  • outcomes
  • qualitative research
  • quality of life
  • residential aged care


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