Quality of care was selected as the most important category of quality for nursing homes in the United States, according to a study sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR). Quality of life of residents and residents' rights were runners up.
Five nursing home "stakeholder" groups - nursing home advocates, administrators, regulators, ombudsmen, and nursing service directors - agreed on the top three, among 17, categories of quality that HHS's Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) regulations require state governments to evaluate to determine if nursing homes should be certified for participation in Medicare and Medicaid. State agencies survey approximately 17,000 nursing homes every 12 to 15 months on behalf of HCFA.
"Knowing how these different groups view quality could prove important for the eventual development of nursing home 'report cards,'" according to John M. Eisenberg, MD.
Other categories, in order of importance as ranked by stakeholders, are: resident behavior; nursing services; admission/transfer; resident assessment; dietary services; physical environment; physician service; rehabilitation services; infection control; administration; pharmacy services; dental services; other activities; and laboratory services.
"This survey shows that we are on the right track in asking state inspectors to focus of quality of care and quality of life when they visit nursing homes," said HCFA administrator Nancy-Ann De Parle, "All Americans deserve to know that they and their loved ones will receive quality, compassionate care in a nursing home."
For more information about HCFA's nursing home regulations, call Craig Palosky at (202) 6906145.