Study Reports Nursing Home Satisfaction at Its Highest Level

The 2008 National Survey of Consumer and Workforce Satisfaction in Nursing Homes released today by independent research firm My InnerView shows a majority (85%) of consumers report their nursing home satisfaction as either “excellent” or “good.” Sixty-six (66) percent of employees recommend their facility as a place to work as either “excellent” or “good.”

According to the pollster, these satisfaction levels are at their highest levels since they began this research in 2005, and have increased by three percentage points since 2007. One in every three facilities in the United States participated in the survey, with responses from 223,449 employees, 54,711 residents and 146,949 family members in 5,075 nursing facilities across the United States.

Keep in mind that the company administering the survey is a company that sells its satisfaction measurement services to long term care facilities so they naturally will put the best spin on the data. And that data may eventually affect pay for performance reimbursement.

Indeed the levels of satisfaction may have gone up but to think that 85% of consumers reporting their satisfaction as excellent or good is a great number is misleading. First of all, their press release does not define consumers. If you are grouping residents and family members together that is misleading because families may see a whole different care perspective when they drop in versus the resident who experiences the care full time. And at the end of the day only the ‰ÛÏexcellent‰Û responses count.

And the report shows that the workers most directly involved in patient care are the least satisfied employees and notes that job stress is a significant opportunity for leaders to address in order to improve nurse and nursing assistants’ satisfaction, while meeting resident choices and preferences. If only 66% of your employees would recommend you as a place to work then that is not a good score. And eliminate the ‰ÛÏgood‰Û responses and keep the ‰ÛÏexcellent‰Û and you will probably find an even worse score.

Here‰Ûªs the thing. This data does not jive with public opinion and perception. So even if it is accurate the industry has a long way to go to prove it.

I believe that a great resident experience starts with a great employee experience and it is not about a one and done let‰Ûªs all smile and be nice to each other program. It is about creating a culture around the resident. When this happens satisfaction improves, word of mouth marketing improves and revenue increases.

Satisfaction surveys only skim the surface. Deeper probing reveals the truth. A long term care facility that is truly centered around the resident does all that it needs to do to make sure the resident is front and center. It does not just perform in those areas that affect a survey question and possible reimbursement. Facilities that do that are not those who have a culture revolving around the resident. They are simply manipulating data to make themselves look good.

When you center on the resident, the satisfaction scores will increase as a byproduct of that. So facilities need to ask themselves what their motives are at the end of the day ‰ÛÒ better scores or a culture of resident centered care. And they can not be satisfied with anything but ‰ÛÏexcellent‰Û responses to any questions regarding the recommendation of the facility. The rest do not matter. And as the numbers indicate, while improved, there is a long long way to go.

After reading the survey in its entirety I will re-post my thoughts and give you an update.