Policy-makers struggle to find ways of improving provider quality in long-term care over and above minimum standards. There is a lack of evidence on which methods are most effective, with changes in regulation, the introduction of market reforms and public reporting all seen as potential tools for changing provider behaviour. Best practice guidelines and published quality standards have recently been promoted as a way of defining what a higher level of quality should look like. However, there has been little exploration of the impact of guidelines and standards in long-term care, how they are used and how they fit into the broader regulatory framework.
Focusing on residential care for older people, Lisa’s study aims to explore the development and implementation of quality standards and best practice guidelines; how they fit within the broad range of mechanisms available to governments for mandating or promoting quality improvement; and the factors likely to influence their take-up and implementation by providers. To do this, it will compare the approaches taken by the governments of England and Australia, two countries which share many similarities in terms of the long-term care system, but which have taken different approaches to improving quality, and in particular, best practice. The study will consider the influence of different institutional factors on these approaches.
Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with policymakers and stakeholders in both England and Australia. These will be complemented by analysis of a range of related documents, mainly from government and quasi-government sources and from parliamentary review processes. Analysis will be based on the ‘framework’ approach developed by Ritchie and Spencer (2002). A thematic framework will be developed early on, based on the literature and on key informant interviews, and further refined throughout the process of data collection and analysis.
Lisa is a PhD student and a Research Fellow from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her main research focus is on social policy.