In an industry often the focus of criticism, a new satisfaction study that surveyed nursing home residents produced some very positive results. Recently reported by McKnights.com, the study showed nursing homes with higher staffing levels and with fewer deficiencies in their overall operation have more satisfied residents, but there are definitely some key areas needing improvement. The study was conducted by researchers at University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Public Health Science, the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of California, Irvine.
The data came from satisfaction surveys completed in a three-year study in Massachusetts. One of the researchers’ goals was to determine if consumer satisfaction surveys should be part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service’s national nursing homes’ report cards. Five other states have completed similar satisfaction surveys. Both residents and their family members who completed the surveys were asked to score various components, such as administration and staffing, the nursing home’s physical environment, personal care provided, activities and meals. They were also asked if they would recommend the facility to a friend and their overall satisfaction.
While scores fluctuated quite dramatically, with some nursing homes receiving a 25 percent “less than satisfactory” score, the average out of a one to five score was 4.22 to 4.31 and an overall satisfaction rate that residents’ needs were being met was at 4.09 to 4.16 on the rating scale. Also ninety percent of survey participants said they would recommend their nursing home.
The two specific areas receiving consistently low ratings were nursing homes’ activities and the meals provided. As for types of facilities, non-profit and government-run and owned nursing homes generally had higher scores for-profit facilities.
Yue Li, Ph.D., lead author of the study, said “Satisfaction scores are clearly an important indicator of the quality of care in nursing homes. When used with other quality of care indicators, these assessments have great potential to empower consumers to make choices, incent improvements by nursing homes, and inform pay-for-performance.”