Measuring the quality of care in nursing homes: a pilot study in Wisconsin
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Measuring the quality of care in nursing homes: a pilot study in Wisconsin

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      The traditional method of evaluating nursing homes, which relies on State and Federal regulations, does not ensure quality care for nursing home residents. This fact led the Wisconsin State Department of Health and Social Services to fund a project for the development of a system that would permit rapid and reliable assessment of the quality of care given by nursing homes, permit the identification of specific problem areas, and suggest whether more in-depth investigation was needed. A corner-stone in that system was to be a screening instrument that would quickly determine where the care delivery system in a nursing home was breaking down so that resources could be focused on these problem areas.Eleven quality of care criteria to be used in the screening instrument were drawn up by a panel of experts. The instrument itself was then tested in nine Wisconsin nursing homes. Five teams of people with nursing home expertise (two persons per team) used the screening instrument to evaluate each of the homes. Another team, visiting the same homes, used a second screening instrument based on State and Federal regulations to evaluate the homes. Finally, without relying on any survey instrument, all of the teams did a general assessment of the homes. The purpose of this general assessment was to ascertain if a "common wisdom" exists among experts in the field. The results of the teams' evaluations using both instruments were compared with each other, as well as with the results of the general assessments and the results of the most recent standard survey. This analysis showed that there was a significant amount of inter-team reliability among the teams using the new screening model and, also, that the new screening model correlated well with the general assessments.The model is being tested further in a 2-year study of 170 nursing homes in urban and rural parts of Wisconsin.
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