The Long & Short of It: Length of Stay & Resident Satisfaction in Nursing Homes

Using data from a survey of 11,362 nursing home residents from 51 nursing home organizations, the researchers investigated factors that influenced the likelihood that residents would recommend the facility to others. In the survey, residents responded to items related to self-reported health, length of stay at the facility, likelihood to recommend the facility, and nine subscales related to admission, room, dining, maintenance, nurses, nursing assistants, housekeeping, activities, and finances.

Results indicated that, depending on how long residents had lived at a facility (length of stay), certain characteristics of the facility were more important than others when it came to recommending it to others. While satisfaction with nursing was the most influential characteristic for all residents, differences emerged between residents who reported a length of stay of less than one year (newer residents) and residents who reported a length of stay of one year or longer (long-term residents).

Beyond nursing, satisfaction with admissions, dining, and activities were most influential for newer residents. This means that newer residents who were not satisfied with nursing were still likely to recommend the facility if they were satisfied with any of the other three factors. If they were satisfied with nursing, then their satisfaction with admissions, dining, and activities would only increase the likelihood to recommend the facility.

On the other hand, satisfaction with housekeeping and finances were most influential (beyond nursing) for long-term residents. If these residents were satisfied with housekeeping or finances, but not nursing, they might still recommend the facility. If they were satisfied with nursing as well as housekeeping or finances, they would be very likely to recommend the facility.

Nursing home providers may be able to use this information to guide offerings for different residents. It is not surprising that satisfaction with nursing is very influential, but for newer residents, also having a strong focus on admissions, dining, and activities may be beneficial for recommendations. Similarly, for residents who have lived at the facility for longer than a year, the emphasis may begin to move to financial services.



Abrahamson, K, Fulton, BR, Sternke, EA, Davila, D, and Morgan, KH. The resident experience: Influences upon the likelihood to recommend a nursing home to others. Seniors Housing & Care Journal (2017); 25(1): 85-95.

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