Improving the Nursing Home Survey Process

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cecilia Vinson, MSN, RN
Department of Human, Services Division of Medical Services, Office of Long Term Care, Little Rock, AR

Learning Objective 1: Describe five common facility practices identified by High Performing (HP) Arkansas nursing homes.

Learning Objective 2: Describe two recommendations made by State Surveyors and HP nursing homes professionals to improve the nursing home survey process.

The process of nursing home regulation continues to need improvement to ensure that high quality of care is provided for the nation’s vulnerable elderly and disabled individuals who reside in these facilities.  This presentation describes results of data collected from State surveyors and professionals from high performing (HP) nursing homes about facility practice, quality of care and use of the regulatory process with recommendations for improving the survey process in the state of Arkansas.

A questionnaire developed by the stakeholder group made use of the Likert Scale and open ended questions with 75% of State surveyors and 59% of HP nursing home professionals responding. Results revealed that common HP facility practice is to utilize the regulatory process as a means to improve resident quality of care as well as making daily rounds on all residents.  The majority of surveyors and HP facilities defined good quality of care with answers related to the direct care staff.

Surveyors and HP nursing homes both agreed that understanding and utilizing the long term care regulations and survey process aids in providing a higher quality of care for nursing home residents. Both groups also agreed on the importance of facilities receiving positive feedback during the survey process.

Surveyors and HP nursing homes disagreed on how the survey process could be improved; the majority of surveyors’ recommendations focused on increasing surveyor expertise. The majority of the HP nursing homes’ recommendations focused on increased collaboration between the State survey agency and the nursing home industry.

Greater focus on professionalism and collaboration between the nursing home industry and the State Agency may provide common ground to ensure regulatory compliance, hence providing a higher quality of care to nursing home residents.