MEASURING QUALITY IN ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES
The local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association is participating in a focus group project designed to explore the issues related to the quality of care provided by assisted living facilities to persons with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias. The local chapters participating are in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, northern Virginia, and Portland, Oregon.
The purpose of these discussions is to learn what to look for when we conduct an upcoming national study of assisted living facilities. We need to learn from focus group participants about indicators of good care and what we might look for as indicators of poor care or unmet care needs. In the focus group meetings, we would like people to treat us as they would a friend who was "shopping" for a good facility for her mother. What should we look for? What kinds of questions should we ask residents if we want to know whether this is a "high quality" facility? What should we ask family members? staff? operators?
A focus group is a discussion with a group of people about a particular topic. The discussion is led be a person called a moderator, who guides the discussion through a series of questions. Everyone in the group is encouraged to speak their mind, and tell about their experiences or opinions on the topic being discussed. The focus group you are being asked to participate in will be with 8-10 other family members in your area. The meeting will last for about 2 hours, during which you will be asked to share your thoughts with us about what constitutes good quality and what family members and others should look for when visiting a facility and trying to make a judgement about whether it is a "good" place.
There is no risk to your relative who is in an assisted living facility. Your participation is voluntary and confidential. Nothing you might say about a particular facility will ever be made public or reported in any way that would allow identification of either individual participants or facilities. While the meetings will be recorded, the recording is only to allow us to make sure we "hear" everything that is said. Only people working on the project will ever hear any of the recordings or read the notes we take.
This project is funded by the Alzheimer's Association. The study is being conducted by Research Triangle Institute (RTI). Questions can be directed to Candace Laska at Columbia/Wilamette Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. Her number is 503-413-7115. You may also contact Angela Greene at Research Triangle Institute. Her number is 800-334-8571. If you have questions about being a participant in a research project, you can contact Dr. Wendy Visscher at 1-800-334-8571.