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The Gerontologist 44:624-632 (2004)
© 2004 The Gerontological Society of America

Using Resident Reports of Quality of Life to Distinguish Among Nursing Homes

Robert L. Kane, MD1,, Boris Bershadsky, PhD1, Rosalie A. Kane, PhD1, Howard H. Degenholtz, PhD2, Jiexin (Jason) Liu, PhD3, Katherine Giles, RN, MBA1 and Kristen C. Kling, PhD4

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Robert L. Kane, MD, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, D351 Mayo (MMC 197), 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail: kanex001{at}

Purpose: We used measures created to assess the quality of life (QOL) of nursing home residents to distinguish among nursing facilities. Design and Methods: We statistically adjusted scores for 10 QOL domains derived from standardized interviews with nursing home residents for age, gender, activities of daily living functioning, cognitive functioning, and length of stay, and then we aggregated them to the facility level. We compared the patterns across a sample of 40 facilities. We correlated facility characteristics with QOL scores. Results: The pattern of QOL scores for each of the 10 domains was generally consistent within a given facility. Although resident characteristics played a major role in explaining variance, there were significant effects of facilities as well. Some modest relationships were found between facility characteristics such as ownership, percentage of private rooms, and rural–urban location and facility QOL scores. No effect of facility size was detected. Implications: This article shows that it is possible to differentiate among facilities on the basis of resident self-reported QOL. On the basis of our analysis, we find that a sample of 28 residents per facility is sufficient to generate a reliable QOL score for each of the domains studied.

Key Words: Quality of life • Nursing homes • Resident reports

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Copyright © 2004 by The Gerontological Society of America.