Overview of Quality First

Quality First is the aging-services field’s national quality improvement initiative. It is a philosophy of quality and a framework for earning the public’s trust in our field.

LeadingAge Quality First is the way in which LeadingAge and its members accept responsibility for assuring that the people they serve receive quality care and services. 

Quality First makes providers directly accountable for excellence and distinguishes LeadingAge members as not-for-profit aging-services providers.

LeadingAge Quality First provides all LeadingAge members with opportunities to:

  • Reaffirm their public commitment to quality.
  • Assess their strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  • Pursue continuous quality improvement based on the belief that improvement is always possible.
  • Earn the public’s trust and the confidence of consumers.

Through Quality First, LeadingAge works in partnership with all stakeholders—aging-services providers and their employees and board members, government policymakers, and consumers and their families—to create quality of care and quality of life for older adults.

Quality First applies to all of LeadingAge’s provider members: adult day services, home health, community services, senior housing, assisted living residences, continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) and nursing homes.

LeadingAge, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care launched Quality First in July 2002 to demonstrate the aging-services field’s commitment to quality and quality improvement. 

The LeadingAge Quality First Elements of Quality

Based on the fundamental values of quality in aging services, the LeadingAge Quality First 10 Elements of Quality provide a framework that covers a broad range of provider operations:

  1. Commitment.
  2. Governance and Accountability.
  3. Leading-Edge Care and Services.
  4. Community Involvement.
  5. Continuous Quality Improvement.
  6. Human Resources Development.
  7. Consumer-Friendly Information.
  8. Consumer Participation.
  9. Research Findings and Education.
  10. Public Trust and Consumer Confidence.

LeadingAge Quality First Covenant is a Promise by LeadingAge Members

Both the top executive and chair of the board of trustees of an organization sign LeadingAge’s Quality First Covenant, making the following pledge to maximize quality of care and quality of life for older adults:

  • We are committed to achieving excellence in the quality of care and services provided to consumers and to earning the public’s trust.
  • We believe that aging has a fulfilling purpose in life and that our society’s elders have enduring value to family and community.
  • We believe that not-for-profit organizations have a special role in society to provide healthy, affordable, and ethical aging services. Our objective is to provide the highest quality and most compassionate care and services to the people we serve.
  • We believe that the field of aging services should adhere to applicable legal, ethical and professional standards that are based on stated values and policies in each of our organizations.
  • We believe that we should strive to offer programs and services that are based on contemporary research and knowledge to meet the needs of the people we serve as well as paid and volunteer caregivers, to the best of our ability.

LeadingAge’s Commitment to Quality First

LeadingAge is committed to providing the tools, information, education and support to help providers honor their commitment to quality and to provide leadership and representation of our efforts in the national arena.

Individually, Quality First is a self-monitoring program. 

By signing the Quality First Covenant and making a commitment to quality, LeadingAge members set their own benchmarks and “raise the quality bar” in their organizations. As a result, LeadingAge is seeing continuing improvements in quality of care and service among LeadingAge member organizations.

You can download a LeadingAge Quality First Logo