Researchers study Five-Star, resident satisfaction

Mountville, Penn.-Since last year’s inception of the national Five-Star rating system of nursing homes, a new question has emerged for owners: Is my facility’s rating impacting the positive perceptions of residents and their families? According to Holleran, a national research firm, it may still be too soon to tell.

Holleran’s research suggests that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) rating system has little effect on satisfaction rates in nursing homes as evidenced by data analysis from more than 12,000 nursing home residents and their families from 32 states.

Holleran’s National Satisfaction Databases reflect nursing home resident/family satisfaction in the nonprofit senior living sector. Managing Partner Lisa Scott Lehman reports that on the one (“much below average”) to five (much above average) scale represented by CMS’ Five-Star rating system, the system failed to capture any clear differences between a two and a three, a three and a four, and so on-although research found similarities between one and two. In the research, each facility’s satisfaction scores were compared with its respective Five-Star rating.

The research revealed that the satisfaction scores of residents/family members at the highest CMS-rated facilities do not differ from those living at “average” CMS-rated facilities. Even those homes rated “below average” achieved satisfaction scores in the high 80s, which the study suggests shows that key elements are missing from the Five-Star rating system.

Joint Commission releases flu immunization strategies

Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-To help healthcare organizations improve the rate of healthcare worker influenza vaccinations, The Joint Commission has released a free monograph, “Providing a Safer Environment for Health Care Personnel and Patients Through Influenza Vaccination: Strategies from Research and Practice.”

The monograph includes: Information about seasonal influenza and its vaccine, barriers to operating successful vaccination programs and strategies for overcoming them, and examples of successful initiatives organizations have used to improve vaccination rates. The Joint Commission received more than 229 submissions from healthcare organizations, which received a panel review. In the end, 28 were selected for inclusion in the monograph.

“Healthcare worker flu vaccination rates have been less than optimal for years and the vaccination rate is still below 50%,” says Jerod M. Loeb, PhD, executive vice president, Division of Quality Measurement and Research, The Joint Commission. In 2007, The Joint Commission implemented a new standard requiring staff of long-term care facilities be offered influenza vaccinations.

Providing an overview of evidence-based guidelines, published research, and legislative efforts, the monograph highlights strategies submitted by the 28 selected healthcare organizations. Electronic copies are available for download at

The monograph is the result of the project Strategies for Implementing Successful Influenza Immunization Programs for Health Care Personnel, a 10-month collaboration between The Joint Commission and other national healthcare organizations.

Long-Term Living 2009 August;58(8):12

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