Nursing Home Resident, Family Satisfaction Surveys Integral To Ongoing Quality Improvements

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The American Health Care Association said statistically-based nursing home resident and family satisfaction surveys are integral to the long term care profession’s ongoing quality improvement efforts, and stated the growing prevalence of consumer-driven data.

Research company ‘My InnerView’ will assist consumers as they evaluate an increasingly diverse array of facilities and options now available in the long term care marketplace.

“The report and consumer-friendly data released today by ‘My InnerView’ is yet another excellent tool now available to assess facility performance, and to help prospective residents and their families make intelligent decisions based on solid facts and statistics,” stated Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA, at a Capitol Hill news conference. “AHCA is very pleased the new 2006 analysis shows an increased level of satisfaction in seven quality of life areas, and we are cognizant that nursing home quality improvements are a year- in, year-out endeavor that will require our sustained efforts on many fronts.”

In releasing the report, Neil Gulsvig, CEO of ‘My InnerView,’ noted the 2006 dataset is the largest ever assembled for the long term care profession, and provides key, statistically-derived insights upon which consumers, regulators and policymakers can make informed judgments about facility performance. The report summarizes key findings from 92,433 survey respondents, a 30 percent increase compared to last year’s national survey. Altogether, 2,899 nursing facilities participated in this year’s survey process. Survey responses were collected in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The 2006 report finds the proportion of “excellent” responses showed modest and statistically significant improvements in seven of nine quality of life items when compared to data from last year’s national survey. The seven quality of life items with the greatest improvement in 2006 include the nursing facility’s ability to meet the choices and preferences of the customer, the meaningfulness of activities offered to residents, friendship opportunities for residents, respect for privacy within the facility, resident religious and spiritual opportunities, security of resident belongings, and the quality of the resident’s dining experience.

While testifying before the Senate Special Committee on Aging last week, Mary Ousley, a past AHCA Chair, pointed out that while there remain many challenges in terms of addressing and improving the nation’s most troubled facilities, “developing a ‘culture of cooperation’ between long term care providers, regulators, and consumers is essential to building upon the improvements in patient care quality made to date, and in the years ahead.”

In discussing the profession’s twenty year experience with OBRA ’87 — the federal law establishing much of today’s nursing home oversight rules — Ousley said OBRA ’87 was intended to move the survey and certification process in a new direction, and that the statute originally envisioned a resident- centered, outcome-oriented, consistent system of oversight. “Unfortunately the system we have today bears little resemblance to that vision,” she said.

Yarwood, pointing towards the success of the joint federal-provider Nursing Home Quality Initiative (NHQI) and the profession’s own Quality First and Advancing Excellence programs — all of which focus upon utilizing and expanding the use of consumer-driven data and experiences — said the objective ‘My InnerView’ methodology and findings “merit ongoingsupport and attention, and we will continue to work with this pioneering enterprise to ensure consumers always receive the best possible objective information and care we can offer.”

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