To measure family satisfaction in nursing homes, most states rely on measures developed by the nursing home industry that have not undergone rigorous testing. A new tool developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, in collaboration with Minnesota Department of Human Services, provides validated measures of family satisfaction. These measures have been used in all nursing homes in Minnesota and show strong performance among consumers.
“The literature has many criticisms of ‘satisfaction’ as a quality indicator — generally speaking, that it’s too general and suffers from social acceptability bias,” said Dr. Tetyana Shippee, lead author of the study and assistant professor at the School of Public Health. “In the case of nursing homes, however, family members are key stakeholders and their voice matters both for consumer choices and for policy efforts in improving the quality of nursing home care.”
The study was published in Research on Aging.
The tool consists of 32 questions and family members are asked to reflect on their experiences with the nursing facility and the care given there. Researchers explored the attributes of this tool including what domains it measures as well as whether family satisfaction is associated with measures of resident QOL.
Dr. Shippee found a weak association between family satisfaction reports and resident QOL reports, confirming that residents and families are distinct audiences and their voices need to be captured separately. Family satisfaction surveys should be used in addition to, not in place of, resident surveys.
Furthermore, Dr. Shippee and her colleagues studied facility characteristics associated with family satisfaction. They found: