Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
What constitutes brilliant aged care.....pdf (2.76 MB)

What constitutes brilliant aged care? A qualitative study of practices that exceed expectation

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-19, 16:28 authored by Ann Dadich, Rachael Kearns, Ben Harris-Roxas, Danielle Ní Chróinín, Katherine Boydell, Eidin Ni SheEidin Ni She, David Lim, Peter Gonski, Friedbert Kohler

Aim: This study aimed to explore what constitutes brilliant aged care.

Background: Although many aged care services do not offer the care that older people and carers need and want, some perform better. Rather than focus on problems with aged care, this study examined brilliant aged care-practices that exceeded expectation.

Design: The methodology for this study was informed by grounded theory, underpinned by constructionism to socially construct meaning.

Methods: This study invited nominations for a Brilliant Award via a survey, and interviews with the nominees via web conference. After receiving survey responses from 10 nominators, interviews were conducted with 12 nominees. Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis and documented according to COREQ guidelines to optimise rigour and transparency.

Results: According to participants, brilliant aged care involved being relationally attuned to older people, a deep understanding of the older person, recognition of aged care as more than a job, innovative practices and permission to reprioritise.

Conclusions: This study suggests that, in aged care, brilliance happens. It emphasises the importance of meaningful connections and relationships in aged care, where thoughtful acts acknowledge an older person's value and humanity as well as creativity and innovation.

Relevance to clinical practice: For those who manage and deliver aged care, the findings suggest that small practice changes can make a positive difference to older people. Brilliant aged care can involve acts of empathy; enthusiasm for aged care; innovative practices, even those that are small scale; and reprioritising workplace tasks to spend time with older people. For policymakers, this study highlights the need to recognise and raise the profile of the pockets of brilliance within the aged care sector. This might be achieved via awards and other initiatives that serve to celebrate and learn from brilliance in its myriad forms.

Patient or public contribution: The nominees, who included carers, were invited to participate in workshops with other carers and older people to co-design a model of brilliant aged care, during which workshop participants discussed and critiqued the findings constructed from the data.


Age and Ageing Clinical Academic Group of Maridulu Budyari Gumal—the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE)

Open access publishing facilitated by Western Sydney University, as part of the Wiley - Western Sydney University agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians.



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Dadich A. et al. What constitutes brilliant aged care? A qualitative study of practices that exceed expectation. J Clin Nurs. 2023;32(19-20):7425-7441

Publication Date

14 June 2023

PubMed ID



  • Graduate School of Healthcare Management


Blackwell Scientific Publications


  • Published Version (Version of Record)