Ohio survey finds 3 areas where AL communities can improve

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Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D., left, and Beverely Laubert
Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D., left, and Beverely Laubert

Assisted living communities in Ohio could do a better job of resolving issues in a timely manner, making staff available at key times of the day and providing high-quality food and expanded menu choices. That assessment is according to the results of the Ohio Department of Aging's 2015 Long-Term Care Resident Satisfaction Survey.

The survey, nonetheless, found that statewide average resident satisfaction score for assisted living communities in Ohio was 91.7 out of 100. Results recently were posted to the state's Long-Term Care Consumer Guide website.

The survey is one of several tools available on the website to help individuals and families select a residential care facility or nursing home that best meets their needs and preferences or those of their loved ones. “Making sure Ohioans have access to quality, person-centered long-term services and supports has been a priority of this administration, and the Long-Term Care Resident Satisfaction Survey is one tool Ohio has used for over a decade to help providers focus on what matters most to their consumers,” said Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D., director of the department.

More than 16,000 residents in 635 residential care facilities participated in the survey through in-person interviews. Surveyors asked family members their opinions on activities, administration, admission, choices, direct care and nursing, laundry, meals and dining, social services, therapy and general satisfaction. Each facility receives a report with their overall and specific question scores, as well as suggestions to improve customer satisfaction in the future.

Survey results also are made available to facility operators to help them identify areas for continuous quality improvement. “One of the primary purposes of the Long-Term Care Resident Satisfaction Survey has always been to help facility owners and operators understand what goes into providing the highest quality care,” said Beverley Laubert, the state long-term care ombudsman. “Using data from this and similar surveys, Ohio has developed several quality improvement projects to help facilities develop processes, policies, services and activities that enhance the resident experience.”

The 2015 Long-Term Care Resident Satisfaction Survey was conducted between August and December by Vital Research LLC, under contract with the Ohio Department of Aging. Survey costs are supported by a fee charged to the providers by the state. Interviewers met face-to-face with a sample of residents at each facility to fill out the survey. In 2016, the department will survey family members of residential care facility and nursing home residents.

The statewide average score for nursing facility resident satisfaction was 87. More than 31,000 residents in 960 nursing homes participated in the survey. Ohio nursing homes are required to participate in at least one quality improvement project every two years to qualify for licensure.

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