News: Featured Stories

February 21, 2018

UMass Boston Researchers: Satisfaction not the same thing as quality in nursing homes


  • Boston
Research first in a series of planned research projects based on satisfaction data

Associate Professor of Gerontology Pamela Nadash just finished leading a team of researchers from McCormack Graduate School in looking at whether publicly available information about the quality of a nursing home is a good predictor of the level of satisfaction at individual homes. Nadash and the other researchers found a clear indication that satisfaction and quality are not the same things in nursing homes.

“Our results are very consistent with the notion that satisfaction is a different construct from quality, and it captures something different about the nursing home experience,” said Nadash. “And that different thing is important for people to understand when they’re making a decision about a nursing home.”

The researchers examined average satisfaction survey results from individual nursing homes in all 50 states, which were collected using NRC Health’s MyInnerView product, a survey tool containing 24 items. NRC Health has data from about 2,500 nursing homes, Nadash said, though not all of it was included in the study.

The researchers matched the resident and family satisfaction information with several forms of nursing home quality data, including Nursing Home Compare’s (NHC’s) five-star quality rating system and deficiency in care measures.

Nadash said satisfaction correlated more closely with NHC’s star ratings than it did with deficiency in care information. But the overall results clearly indicated that satisfaction and quality are not synonymous in nursing homes.

This is the first in a planned series of research projects based on satisfaction data from nursing homes all over the country. Nadash and her co-investigators are currently preparing an article describing that work and the details of their results. Those co-investigators include assistant professor Jennifer Gaudet Hefele, professor Edward Alan Miller and associate professor Kathrin Boerner, all from UMass Boston’s Gerontology Department. Research assistants Adrita Baroom and Joyce Wang also contributed to the project. The Donaghue Foundation funded the research on nursing home satisfaction and quality.