What matters most to nursing home elders: Quality of life in the nursing home

Orah R. Burack, Audrey S. Weiner, Joann P. Reinhardt, Rachel A. Annunziato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Objective: A growing number of nursing homes across the country are embarking on culture change transformations that focus on maximizing elder residents' quality of life (QOL). Challenges to culture change implementation include the wide range of possible interventions as well as a lack of research-based evidence to guide these choices. The purpose of this study was to determine those components of nursing home QOL that are associated with elder satisfaction so as to provide direction in the culture change journey. Design: A cross-sectional study using a survey administered face-to-face. Setting: Three large urban nursing homes within a long term care system in New York State. Participants: Sixty-two elder nursing home residents participated in face-to-face interviews. All elders had resided in their nursing communities for at least 3 months before participation. Measurements: The survey included the Quality of Life Scales for Nursing Home Residents, which examines elder QOL in 11 domains: autonomy, dignity, food enjoyment, functional competence, individuality, meaningful activity, physical comfort, privacy, relationships,security, and spiritual well-being. Elder satisfaction with the nursing home and nursing home staff were also examined. Results: After accounting for cognitive and physical functioning, among the QOL domains, dignity, spiritual well-being, and food enjoyment remained predictors of overall nursing home satisfaction. Additionally, dignity remained a significant predictor of elder satisfaction with staff. Conclusion: These results provide one possible path in the culture change journey based on empirical findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-53
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Culture change
  • Dignity
  • Long term care
  • QOL
  • Satisfaction


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