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AND AT THE END OF IT ALL … Are staff and clients really happier?

McDonald, T. A., 2007

SQHC CONFERENCE, Brisbane, Australia

ABSTRACT

Background issue: Approaches to quality improvement within a service organisation can be all-encompassing to the point of exhaustion. The skills and attitudes of employees are often the basis upon which quality management succeeds and it would be most unwise to take this resource for granted. The services offered to clients also need to be geared to what they actually want rather than to some elusive deal treasured by managers. The monitoring of staff and client satisfaction can be done in tandem with other indicators of key performance to provide an insightful guide to quality management strategies. The benefits and challenges associated with the process of benchmarking employee satisfaction and client satisfaction, apply generally across all service organisations

Objective: The aim is to profile the aged care industry as a group of service organisations competing within the sector for clients, and also against other industries to attract and retain skilled employees capable of providing client services that are effective and satisfying.

Methods: The data upon which this study rests has been collected annually from 2002 to 2005 from between 125 to 278 aged care facilities across Australia. Analysis of the data has revealed statistically significant improvements over time for both of these quality measures with low care services having high significance of p>0.001 and combined high and low care services generating a significance level of p=0.02.

Results: On closer examination of variables within the employee satisfaction indicator, it is clear that staff appreciate being able to deliver high quality care to clients by having the skills and knowledge they need, and the equipment required to do the job well. Employees also derive satisfaction from working in organisations that demonstrate concern for their occupational health and safety. Employees also appreciate participative management styles that allow them to have input to decision-making processes. Client satisfaction with services is also revealing when indicator variables are closely examined. Clients of aged care services in Australia appreciate diligence in the provision of timely information when transferring to their new environment and also find the size, fittings and cleanliness of their new abode to be a driver of their satisfaction with services.

Conclusions: Overall the attitudes of employees is a major influence on the satisfaction feel clients with the services provided. Effective management of these complex variables contributes to the successful management of quality within the human services context.

CITATION McDonald, T. (2007) AND AT THE END OF IT ALL … Are staff and clients really happier? 5th Australasian Conference on Safety and Quality in Health Care (SQHC), Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. 5-8 August.

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