Assessing the quality of staff-family relationships in the Australian residential aged care setting: Development and evaluation of the Family and Staff Relationship Implementation Tool (FASRIT): a contribution to person-centered healthcare

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Michael Bauer
Deirdre Fetherstonhaugh
Virginia Lewis


Rationale: Older people living in residential aged care facilities are known to experience better care outcomes when staff and family have a constructive relationship. However, to date, there has been no measure to allow facilities to appraise practice in this area.Aims and objectives: To develop and evaluate psychometrically a tool that enables residential aged care facilities in Australia to assess the quality of staff-family relationships and appraise current practice against what is known to be best practice as an index of person-centered care.Method: To develop and test the 25 item FASRIT tool occurred in three phases: item development based on a systematic review of the research literature, interviews with aged care staff and residents’ families and expert panel review of the tool items followed by initial and final testing of the psychometric properties of the tools with residential aged care staff and managers.Results: Content validity and internal consistency of the FASRAT (alpha coefficient = 0.94) support its use as an assessment of the quality of current staff-family relationships in the Australian residential aged care context. Tool items can also serve as 'probes’ to allow facilities to explore staffs’ views and practices.Conclusion: The FASRIT demonstrates good basic psychometric properties and use of the tool will support quality in residential aged care by enabling facilities to identify gaps which impact on the quality of staff-family relationships, identify areas where further education may be required and monitor facility practice over time. Further testing of the structure of the scales is required. The tool is advanced as an important index of the person-centeredness of clinical services.

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