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Consumer and Employee Satisfaction Improves in U.S. Nursing Homes

MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media, June 22, 2009

Despite the toll the recession has taken on many of our nation's nursing homes, customer and employee satisfaction increased last year, according to the 2008 National Survey of Consumer and Workforce Satisfaction in Nursing Homes by My InnerView.

The recent report details the results of satisfaction surveys completed by employees, residents, and family members in 5,075 U.S. nursing homes in 2008. The data gives long-term care leaders insight into the factors that affect employee and consumer satisfaction, opportunities for improvements, and how satisfaction impacts other areas of facility operation. Some key findings include:

  • The percentage of nursing home consumers and employees who rated satisfaction as "excellent" or "good" increased for the first time since 2005, which is when My InnerView began publishing these satisfaction reports
  • Consumer and employee satisfaction are interrelated. Facilities with higher employee satisfaction have higher consumer satisfaction and facilities with lower employee satisfaction have lower consumer satisfaction.
  • "The care and services provided by the employee—and the employee/resident relationship—are the most consistent predictors of consumer recommendations," according to the report.
  • Nursing home employee and consumer satisfaction is higher in states with pay-for-performance programs.

Although satisfaction is on the rise, there are still many opportunities for improvement that long-term care leaders should explore. My InnerView found that "facilities with higher employee satisfaction tend to have lower staff turnover and better clinical outcomes," according to the report.

Ultimately, long-term care leaders can improve a variety of facility operations by increasing employee satisfaction. Some opportunities for improvement identified by nurses and nursing assistants who completed the surveys are:

  • Help with job stress and burnout
  • Management listens
  • Management cares
  • Training to deal with difficult residents
  • Supervisor appreciates
  • Adequacy of equipment/supplies

MacKenzie Kimball is an associate editor in the long-term care market at HCPro. She writes PPS Alert for Long-term Care and manages MDSCentral.

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