National Quality Indicators: Now Compulsory


How do you match up on your management of unplanned weight loss?

The National Aged Care Quality Indicator (NQI) program, which until now has been voluntary for most aged care providers, is becoming compulsory program commencing 1 July 2019.   This issue of Nutrition Matters gives you a few pointers on managing this new requirement.

The required data on unplanned weight loss is the number of residents with
– Loss of 3 kg or more in a month
– Loss of weight over each month of the quarter

All homes which are Commonwealth subsidised must now collect data on rates of unplanned weight loss across their resident groups.   In most homes, this is on top of the existing processes ie

  • Weight Management Policies,
  • dietitian referral processes and
  • staff initiated interventions,

which are all aimed at responding to unplanned weight loss.

It’s fair to say that with multiple systems in place to record, report and act on weight loss within residents, there is the risk that this can increase the burden on nursing, clinical and dietetic resources within facilities.  Certainly we, at Leading Nutrition have seen many homes, where referrals to the dietitian are higher in the NQI data collection month!

This doesn’t need to be the case.  It’s worth considering the following…

How does your existing weight policy compare to the parameters in the NQI reporting?

Having conflicting parameters in the weight management policy compared to what is in the NQI, could be confusing for everyone. It’s useful to take a look at which system is more stringent and captures the most “at risk” residents.   Consider updating your policy to reflect what the practise is.

There should be no resident highlighted in the collection of NQI data that hasn’t already been identified by your Weight Management Policy and interventions put in place for

How well is your Existing policy being implemented by all staff?

A policy is only as good as the staff who know about it and use it.  Collecting data for the NQI can seem to put additional pressure on staff, when in fact, the existing Weight Management Policy may already supersede the requirement of the NQI.   Are your staff aware of this?  Do they need upskilling and reminding that the existing policy, if used daily, already meets the need?

Your staff should all be confident that the Weight Management process at your home remains appropriate, or is being updated to reflect the inclusion of NQI

It’s useful for all homes to consider the background policy and education support needed to reduce the stress around collecting this data and ensure that all staff are confident in their use of the policies of your home.  An Aged Care Dietitian is well skilled, of course, to assist you with this.  Discussing it with your dietitian is a great place to start!

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