Family Members' Views: What is Quality in Assisted Living Facilities Providing Care to People with Dementia?. NOTES

02/01/1997

  1. It is important to note that one group refused to "dot vote" their lists. In both verbal and body language, they withdrew from this option. Their argument, vigorously presented, was that all the elements were important, even essential aspects of quality. Moreover, they noted that the relative importance of one element or another would change across time, as the loved one'sneeds changes, and would "rank" differently according to a range of issues. For example, location close to the family is important but only if one has a choice between two or more facilities that provide what the family member defines as "adequate" quality. If no good facility is nearby, location becomes a "non-issue" in selecting a facility. The group discussion on this topic was vigorous and provided other similar examples. Further, members explicitly stated their reluctance to quantify and rank their concerns.

  2. RTI's team consisted of four persons, and all team members participated in at least one focus group meeting. This increased familiarity with the data collection process and outcome.

  3. While the focus group sample was not intended to be representative in a statistical sense, this distribution under-represents the proportion of the total population that is Hispanic or African-American. Whether it is representative of the more restricted population of families of persons residing in assisted living facilities is unknown, since there are no generalizable data on residents. However, our demographic distribution was not caused by refusals, since we had few. On the other hand, it is clear that achieving greater participation by spouses or securing participation by members of minority groups' would have required substantially different out-reach and recruitment strategies.

  4. In nursing homes, federal law requires use of a uniform resident assessment instrument (RAI) that is used on admission to the facility and at least annually thereafter to assess the resident's strengths, preferences and needs and to develop an individualized plan of care.

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