CarePage and the Aged Care Guild have launched a world-first digital tool that allows aged care providers to measure resident satisfaction by asking them to rate how happy they are with a set of carefully selected quality-of-life indicators.
The ‘Happy Life Index’ measures the factors that matter most to those living in residential aged care – the quality of the food, friendliness of staff, care quality, activities and lifestyle, staff presence, the quality of management, and environment and cleanliness.
The Happy Life Index is a tool to give residents a voice, but also to provide greater transparency across the aged care sector and to give providers much-needed insights to create continuous improvement.
“It really matters to us that older people’s voices are heard”
Lauren Todorovic, founder of CarePage, has extensive experience in the aged care industry, having worked as a nurse in the sector for several years, and also experiencing the system through her grandmother who lived in residential aged care for a time.
Ms Todorovic has observed and spoken to hundreds of older people about what matters most to them, what makes them happy and, sometimes, what makes them sad.
Ms Todorovic wants older people to have a voice and to be heard.
“To me and the company I founded, CarePage, it really matters to us that older people’s voices are heard and that each and every resident living in aged care is happy where they live,” she said at The Happy Index launch at Bluecross Ivanhoe, Melbourne.
In her conversations with older people, it comes through “loud and clear” that residents place a high value on food quality. “This makes sense, not only from the aspect of enjoying what you eat, but there is also the social aspect of dining that comes with that,” Ms Todorovic said.
Staff presence is also crucial to a residents’ wellbeing, Ms Todorovic said. Do residents feel safe and cared for? Do they feel they are being rushed. Do residents feel their calls for help are attended to in a timely manner?
An important feedback tool
Although the focus of the Happy life Index is the consumer experience of aged care residents, it also provides employees with the opportunity to provide anonymous feedback to management.
“These people really are the backbone of the entire industry and their opinions need to be voiced to ensure they have the ability to provide residents with what they need,” Ms Todorovic said.
Valuable information for continuous improvement
Co-designed with older Australians, The Happy Life Index provides real-time resident feedback.
“Having a voice and knowing that the voice is actually being heard is really important for both staff and residents, and feedback from either is valuable information in regards to how things are going and finding ways to improve,” Ms Todorovic said.
Aged Care Guild CEO, Matthew Richter, said the index is a way for providers to demonstrate they are committed to responding to consumer feedback.
“We wanted to create an innovative tool for forward-thinking providers to better engage with their residents and help respond more proactively to their changing needs,” said Mr Richter.
“The Happy Life Index will provide insight into what matters most to senior Australians and is available to any and all providers interested in increasing and measuring engagement with their residents.
“Providers can, and should, take a stand for greater consumer choice, transparency and continuous improvement in aged care by implementing tools that support senior Australians like the Happy Life Index,” said Mr Richter.
Providers can use the platform to track, measure and publish information on quality of life and lived experience in aged care and are encouraged to display their Happy Life Index ratings on their website.
Ms Todorovic said the Happy Life Index also provides greater transparency about aged care services, providing a simple way for those trying to select an aged care facility to make a decision.
“At present, there is a lack of easily accessible resources for residents, family, friends and carers to compare the experiences that really matter in residential aged care,” said Ms Todorovic.
“People looking for aged care services need clear, comparable information on quality of life and experience.
“The Happy Life Index has been developed to do just that. We aim to empower consumers through greater transparency and access to information, so they can make better-informed decisions when it comes to choosing care for a loved one or themselves,” Ms Todorovic said.
“Everyone deserves to be happy”
“Everyone deserves to be happy no matter how old they are, and we need to work together to ensure that older people feel the same enjoyment and worth that many of us take for granted,” Ms Todorovic said.
To register your interest, or find out more, please visit www.happylifeindex.com.au.