Consumer expectations and experiences of quality in Australian home‐based community services Academic Article uri icon


  • Australians want to live at home as they age and seek support from health and social care services to achieve this. The consumer driven market-based approach to community services in Australia has resulted in an increases in user's expectations of quality. What constitutes a quality service from the consumer's perspective is an important agenda to understand as the focus of care delivery moves to the domiciliary setting. This paper presents one aspect from a grounded theory PhD study, the aim of which was to understand the lived experience of receiving services in the home and its impact on the meaning of home. Participants were 11 people with dementia and 18 family supporters living in the state of Victoria, Australia. Data were collected between 2015 and 2017 through multiple interviews, photographic images, field notes and memos. NVIVO 10 qualitative analysis software program was used to support constant comparative analysis. Using a grounded theory approach, this study found that the decision to engage with community services was driven by the need to maintain autonomy, self-identity and home life. Participants sought quality services but discovered a dichotomy of positive and negative aspects in the way services were delivered. The most common reaction to the experience of poor-quality care was to reflect on their expectations for care quality; and manage the reality of what was delivered. Team work and service responsiveness were positive characteristics but were offset by service limitations and inefficiencies caused by poor communication and poor staff retention. The interpersonal relationships that participants developed with staff was highlighted; trust was an important factor whereas unreliable, task orientated and poorly trained staff would be rejected. The implications for policy and practice are described.

publication date

  • September 1, 2020

has subject area