Recommendations for reducing harm and improving quality of care for older people in residential respite care Academic Article uri icon


  • Objectives

    Residential respite care (RRC) is a vital service that supports older people and their informal caregivers to continue to live in the community. Older people in RRC have an increased risk of injury-related harm, such as choking and suicide, compared to permanent nursing home residents. However, the opportunities for the prevention of harm during a RRC admission are largely unknown. This study developed recommendations to reduce harm and improve quality of care for older people in RRC.


    Experts developed, refined and prioritised recommendations through two consultation forums applying the modified nominal group technique and a follow-up online survey. Participants were purposively sampled from an existing network and were selected based on their expertise in aged care practice, nursing, policy, research, caregiver advocacy and quality improvement in the aged and healthcare sectors. Haddon's Matrix, an injury prevention framework, was applied to the recommendations. Final recommendations were released to over 300 organisations for validation and feedback.


    Five experts were involved in forum one, seven attended forum two, and a further seven completed the survey. Seventeen draft recommendations were developed and refined to 11 final recommendations, four of which were prioritised as most important for implementation. These included the following: (a) a planned preventative care model of RRC; (b) facilities that specialised in RRC; (c) optimising information gathered on RRC residents; and (d) a standardised procedure for admission, handover and discharge from RRC. We received limited feedback from the organisations, which did not alter the recommendations.

    Implications for practice

    The recommendations developed in this study provide a valuable basis for the development of strategies to reduce harm and improve care in RRC and are a valuable first step towards improving practice. The next step is to empirically test the suggested recommendations to determine their effectiveness.

publication date

  • March 1, 2020