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Facility rating, resident quality of life not linked

January 8, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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Long-term care facility residents whose cognition is not impaired have a lower quality of life than visitors to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) five-star quality-rating system website might assume, according to a study in press for the journal JAMDA.

The authors interviewed 316 long-stay nursing home residents with preserved cognition and measured their quality of life using the Participant Outcomes and Status Measures‒Nursing Facility Survey. They found that residents who were physically impaired or depressed had a lower quality of life than those who were not. Pain was not correlated with quality of life, nor was the overall star rating in the government’s Nursing Home Compare program of the facility where the resident lived.

This research follows in the footsteps of a three-year study by Abt Associates that linked the CMS rating system to increased consumer awareness and facility performance. Those results were released in July. Anecdotally, Abt Associates said that the rating system seemed to motivate nursing home operators to improve their facilities. One of the principals of the global research firm had helped CMS develop the system.

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