Hearing the Voice of the Resident in Long-Term Care Facilities—An Internationally Based Approach to Assessing Quality of Life

Published:October 10, 2017DOI:



      interRAI launched this study to introduce a set of standardized self-report measures through which residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) could describe their quality of life and services. This article reports on the international development effort, describing measures relative to privacy, food, security, comfort, autonomy, respect, staff responsiveness, relationships with staff, friendships, and activities. First, we evaluated these items individually and then combined them in summary scales. Second, we examined how the summary scales related to whether the residents did or did not say that the LTCFs in which they lived felt like home.


      Cross-sectional self-report surveys by residents of LTCFs regarding their quality of life and services.


      Resident self-report data came from 16,017 individuals who resided in 355 LTCFs. Of this total, 7113 were from the Flanders region of Belgium, 5143 residents were from Canada, and 3358 residents were from the eastern and mid-western United States. Smaller data sets were collected from facilities in Australia (20), the Czech Republic (72), Estonia (103), Poland (118), and South Africa (87).


      The interRAI Self-Report Quality of Life Survey for LTCFs was used to assess residents' quality of life and services. It includes 49 items. Each area of inquiry (eg, autonomy) is represented by multiple items; the item sets have been designed to elicit resident responses that could range from highly positive to highly negative. Each item has a 5-item response set that ranges from “never” to “always.”


      Typically, we scored individual items scored based on the 2 most positive categories: “sometimes” and “always.” When these 2 categories were aggregated, among the more positive items were: being alone when wished (83%); decide what clothes to wear (85%); get needed services (87%); and treated with dignity by staff (88%). Areas with a less positive response included: staff knows resident's life story (30%); resident has enjoyable things to do on weekends (32%); resident has people to do things with (33%); and resident has friendly conversation with staff (45%). We identified 5 reliable scales; these scales were positively associated with the resident statement that the LTCF felt like home. Finally, international score standards were established for the items and scales.


      This study establishes a set of standardized, self-report items and scales with which to assess the quality of life and services for residents in LTCFs. The study also demonstrates that these scales are significantly related to resident perception of the home-like quality of the facilities.


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