Organisation of acute care services for people living in residential aged care facilities (RACF) is a complex area of health policy. For people living in RACF, the emergency department is often used to provide acute care; needs of RACF residents, however, are not always well met. Alternative models of delivering care must be acceptable to a variety of stakeholders; however, little is known about the values and preferences that people attach to aspects of how and where care is delivered.
The PROSpER Study examines people's preferences for the organisation of acute healthcare services for older people in RACF. The authors aim to (1) determine which factors influence preferences of residents, carers and providers for how and where acute care is delivered and (2) determine the relative importance of these factors and the acceptable trade-offs between them. Qualitative and quantitative methods will be used. One-on-one interviews will be conducted with RACF residents, their families, staff of RACF and emergency department staff. A discrete choice study will then be designed to quantitatively assess preferences for alternative models of care delivery. Approximately 600 respondents from three respondent groups will be surveyed: older people living in RACF, family members of aged care residents and staff of RACF. A mixed logit model will be used; results will be expressed as parameter estimates (β) and odds of choosing one option over an alternative. Trade-offs between attributes will also be calculated.
Ethics and dissemination
The PROSpER Study has been approved by the University of Sydney, Human Research Ethics Committee (Protocol numbers 10653 and 14382) and Royal Perth Hospital Ethics Committee (reference 2009/045). Results will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and via conference presentations; a newsletter will also be provided to study participants. A stakeholder roundtable will also be held to discuss the results.
To assess the preferences of older people living in residential aged care facilities (RACF), their families and staff in relation to the provision of acute health care services for older Australians in RACF.
To determine what factors most influence the preferences of these stakeholders for how and where acute care is delivered.
To determine the relative importance of these factors and the trade-offs between them.
The organisation of acute healthcare services for older people living in RACF is a complex area of health policy involving considerations of clinical, economic, ethical and legal issues. For older people living in RACF, the emergency department is frequently used to provide acute care services. While emergency department generally works well if people have a short-term problem that can be resolved with a one-off intervention, the needs of people from RACF, often with chronic disease, multiple complex health problems and frailty are less well met.
Alternative models of delivering acute care need to be acceptable to the residents, family and RACF staff; however, little is known about the values and preferences that people attach to aspects of how and where care is delivered or the trade-offs between various aspects of care that people are willing to make.
This study will use best practice qualitative and quantitative methods for preference elicitation (a discrete choice experiment) to assess the preferences and acceptable trade-offs of RACF residents, their families and staff for alternative healthcare delivery models.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The strengths of the study are that it is the first study to use discrete choice methods to examine preferences for alternative models of acute healthcare service delivery in multiple stakeholder groups: residents of RACF, their families and RACF staff.
The limitation is that it is conducted in one country, Australia, and thus its generalisability may be limited by the prevailing model of acute healthcare service delivery.