National Invitational Conference on Long-Term Care Data Bases: Conference Package. 1985 NATIONAL NURSING HOME SURVEY: FACT SHEET


National Center for Health Statistics (March 1987)


As part of its continuing program to provide information on the health of the Nation and the utilization of its health resources, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) periodically conducts a nationwide survey of nursing facilities. The 1985 National Nursing Home Survey (NNHS), the third in a series, is authorized under Section 306 (42 USC 242k) of the Public Health Services Act. Facilities covered in the survey are those providing some level of nursing or personal care without regard to licensure status or to certification status under Medicare or Medicaid. Participation is voluntary.


The purpose of the NNHS is to collect baseline and trend statistics about nursing facilities, their services, residents, discharges, and staff. The resulting published statistics will describe the Nation's nursing facilities and the health status of their residents. These data are used for studying the utilization of nursing facilities, for supporting research directed at finding effective means for treatment of long-term health problems, and for setting national policies and priorities.


Confidentiality is provided to all respondents in the NNHS as assured by Section 308(d) of the Public Health Services Act (42 USC 242m) which states that: "Information...which would permit identification of any individual or establishment...will be held in strict confidence, will be used only for the purposes stated for this study, and will not be disclosed or released to others without the consent of the individual or establishment."


Data were collected from a nationally representative sample of 1,220 nursing and related-care homes using a combination of personal interview and self-enumeration techniques. Information about the facility (e.g., number of beds, certification status, number and kinds of staff) was collected through a personal interview with the administrator or designee. With the administrator's permission, a questionnaire was sent to the facility's accountant to obtain basic expense and revenue information and to a maximum of four registered nurses (RNs) to obtain information related to job retention. Through interviews with appropriate nursing staff, information was collected on maximum samples of five current residents and six recent dis- charges. In addition to basic demographic information, data were collected about the sample patients' medical conditions, impairments, functional limitations, services received and sources of payment. A family member of the patient was contacted by telephone to obtain data on socioeconomic status and prior episodes of health care -- information which generally is not available at the facility.


The results of the 1985 NNHS will be released in publications and public use computer tapes. As noted in the above section on confidentiality, no information will be released which identifies individuals or establishments. Publication plans include pamphlets presenting preliminary data, a summary volume presenting detailed tabulations, and individual analytical reports on special topics such as utilization measures and resident characteristics. Release of data will begin in 1987.