Two satisfaction reports show two sides of long-term care

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Paying careful attention to our Web news this week, you may have been scratching your heads about the state of resident satisfaction in long-term care facilities.

The reason is two differing takes on the topic. While guest columnist Lisa Scott Lehman said that satisfaction among residents has fallen in certain areas (see here), a My InnerView survey (click here) has concluded that resident satisfaction has never been better—at least since it began tracking the issue in 2005.

It turns out, however, upon closer inspection of the stories, that the two assessments of resident satisfaction in long-term care are not so far apart.

“I don’t think we’re on a different page with My InnerView,” Lehman, a managing partner at Holleran, an independent research firm specializing in long-term care, told me. “Satisfaction with the community’s ability to fund that resident’s care has gone down as the economy has gone down.”

As Lehman says in her column, resident satisfaction declined—but only when residents were asked about their financial stability. The national average fell slightly among residents when asked to rate the community’s ability to serve them in the event their funds are depleted. Residents also are less comfortable with their financial situation compared with a year ago. That makes sense, given how the downturn has affected people’s 401Ks, right?

The real question on people’s minds—whether residents like their community—has stayed more or less the same compared with last year, Lehman said in her column.

Apples to oranges

Still, the survey snapshots are different. Holleran’s database, upon which she draws her conclusions, is composed of about 500 primarily continuing care retirement communities. Meanwhile, My InnerView compiled resident satisfaction information on feedback from residents in 5,075 nursing facilities.

Also, Holleran’s database is comprised of mostly not-for-profit facilities. My InnerView’s database leans more heavily toward the for-profit.

Apples to apples comparisons? Not really. As Brad Shiverick, vice president of My InnerView, noted, the populations of nursing facilities and independent living communities (a component of CCRCs) are vastly different. Nursing facility residents rely largely on government funding for skilled nursing care. CCRCs, with their assisted and independent living components, are based on more of a hospitality model.

So, two different reports, two vastly different populations.

But as the results indicate, all roads seem to lead to happy customers. Both sets of data show that long-term care residents—be they skilled nursing, assisted living or independent living—are, by and large, satisfied with where they live. And that, we can all agree, is something to be satisfied about.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.