Consumer Satisfaction in Long-Term Care

State Initiatives in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Published in: Gerontologist, v. 43, no. 6, Dec. 2003, p. 883-896

by Timothy J. Lowe, Judith A. Lucas, Nicholas G. Castle, Joanne P. Robinson, Stephen Crystal

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PURPOSE: The authors report the results of a survey of state initiatives that measure resident satisfaction in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and the authors describe several model programs for legislators and public administrators contemplating the initiation of their own state programs. DESIGN AND METHODS: Data on state initiatives and programs were collected during March and April 2000 through a mailed questionnaire and follow-up telephone interviews and were current as of September 2002. RESULTS: Of the 50 states surveyed, 50 responses were received (response rate = 100%); 12 states (24%) reported the use of consumer satisfaction measures, and 7 (Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin) reported using resident satisfaction data within their consumer information systems for nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Additionally, 2 states (Iowa and Wisconsin) use resident satisfaction data for facility licensing and recertification. The design of the instruments and collection methods vary in these states, as do the reported response rates, per-resident cost, and the purpose for satisfaction data collection. IMPLICATIONS: State satisfaction efforts are in an early stage of development. Well-produced, easily understandable reports on nursing home and assisted living quality could provide information and guidance for patients and families contemplating the utilization of long-term care services. Dissemination of quality information may also facilitate sustained quality and efficiency improvements in long-term care facilities and thus enhance the quality of care for and quality of life of long-term care residents.

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