Nursing Home Selection: How Do Consumers Choose?

Volume I: Findings from Focus Groups of Consumers and Information Intermediaries

by Lisa R. Shugarman, Julie A. Brown

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More than a million elders enter a nursing facility each year, yet we know little about how consumers of skilled and long-term nursing care select the facility to which they or their loved ones will be admitted. Consumers increasingly need useful and reliable information about their health- and social care options, including nursing homes. This study uses qualitative methods to (1) systematically review the existence and accessibility of Internet-based resources intended to support the decision to enter a nursing facility and select the appropriate facility for one’s needs and preferences; (2) examine how consumers select a nursing home; (3) explore if and how existing information resources are used in the decision-making process; and (4) identify gaps in needed information resources.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Background and Conceptual Framework

  • Chapter Three

    Approach and Methods

  • Chapter Four

    Results and Findings

  • Chapter Five


  • Chapter Six

    Areas for Further Examination and Research

  • Chapter Seven


  • Appendix A

    Focus Group Methods

  • Appendix B

    Study Strengths and Limitations

  • Appendix C

    Focus Group Protocols

  • Appendix D

    Characteristics of Information Intermediaries

  • Appendix E

    Characteristics of Consumers

  • Appendix F

    Key Characteristics Informing Nursing Home Selection

The research described in this report was prepared for the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and conducted by RAND Health.

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