Identifying Consistent and Coherent Dimensions of Nursing Home Quality: Exploratory Factor Analysis of Quality Indicators

Dongjuan Xu, Robert L. Kane, Tetyana Shippee, Teresa M. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: There is a general belief that the markers of nursing home quality do not aggregate easily. Identifying consistent and coherent dimensions of quality that usefully summarize the multiplicity of nursing home quality measures is an important goal. It would simplify interpretation and help consumers, their families and advocates to choose nursing facilities. Objectives: This study uses quality indicators (QIs) from a state nursing home report card to explore the dimensionality of quality in nursing homes and to determine whether aggregation at the resident versus facility level yields the same underlying dimensions. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: 382 Medicare- and/or Medicaid-certified nursing homes in Minnesota. Participants: Residents admitted to the nursing homes during 2011–2012. Measurements: 16 QIs obtained from the Minimum Data Set 3.0 assessment instrument between 2011 and 2012 were used in the exploratory factor analysis. Results: Factor analysis results suggest four main factors or dimensions to characterize facility performance: continence care (including 4 QIs), restraints and behavioral symptoms (including 3 QIs), care for specific conditions (including 6 QIs), and physical functioning (including 3 QIs). The resident-level and facility-level results generally agreed for 11 QIs. Conclusion: Nursing home quality of care can be captured in summary measures, which can be used by consumers, providers and researchers. Reporting at the resident or facility level will depend on the purpose. These summary measures can be used by policy-makers to identify and reward high-performing facilities and by families to choose nursing facilities for care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e259-e264
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2016, The American Geriatrics Society


  • exploratory factor analysis
  • nursing homes
  • quality indicators


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