Comparing Resident and Family Opinions about Nursing Home Satisfaction

Nursing homes routinely survey their residents and family members about their performance. Previously, little was known about how well the opinions of family and residents coincide with other measures of performance, specifically, findings from the state surveys regarding regulatory compliance.

A new study published in the Seniors Housing and Care Journal compares how residents and family members rate nursing homes to findings on the state survey of their nursing home

Researchers from My Innerview analyzed data from two surveys of over 8,000 long-term care organizations annually. Data from a total of 89 nursing homes (located in 30 states), 18 from 2006 and 61 from 2001, were analyzed.  Family and resident responses were compared and contrasted to see if their opinions about the nursing home would converge and to determine what mattered more to each, quality of life (QoL) or quality of care (QoC). Then data from the state inspection survey, Online Survey, Certification and Reporting (OSCAR), was compared to the results of family and resident surveys. Three outcomes were derived from OSCAR data: deficiencies in a nursing home’s compliance with health-related standards cited by surveyors, characteristics of its residents as recorded by surveyors, and its organizational characteristics.

Overall, families and residents had high ratings for their nursing homes and interestingly, whether they would recommend the nursing home to others was highly correlated with the compliance measures from the state surveys. Both families and residents believed that staff show respect and ensured resident safety, as well as the nursing staff providing a high quality of care. Both residents and their families were least satisfied with the adequate numbers of nursing staff.

The biggest differences lied in how families and residents rated the specific areas of nursing home life. Residents gave most areas of nursing home life a more positive rating compared to families.  Residents were more concerned with QoL issues, whereas families were more concerned with issues of QoC. The families’ recommendation of their nursing home had a higher correlation with the measures of compliance compared to the residents’ recommendation.

The results of this study are two-fold. First, they show that families and residents are making a different investment regarding nursing home life. Residents are more concerned with quality of life issues, whereas families are more attentive to care issues. Second, resident and family opinions about the nursing homes do help provide a clue about how well a particular residence conforms to state standards of care, especially their willingness to recommend the place to others.


Source: Tellis, Nayak, Shiverick, and Hernandez. 2010. Where Allies Part Ways and Strangers Converge: Nursing Home Performance in the Eyes of Residents, Families, and State Surveyors

Seniors Housing and Care Journal

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