Quality of life measures for nursing home residents

Rosalie A Kane, Kristen C Kling, Boris Bershadsky, Robert L Kane, Katherine Giles, Howard B. Degenholtz, Jiexin Liu, Lois J. Cutler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

310 Scopus citations


Background. Quality of life (QOL) is a goal for nursing home residents, but measures are needed to tap this phenomenon. Methods. In-person QOL interviews were attempted for 1988 residents, stratified by cognitive functioning, from 40 nursing homes in five states. Likert-type response options were used with reversion to dichotomous responses when necessary; z-score transformations were used to combine the formats. Tests of internal consistency and confirmatory factor analysis were performed; cluster analysis was used to shorten the scales. Correlations between domain scores were examined, and tests of convergent validity performed. Analyses were repeated for subgroups based on cognitive functioning levels. Results. Long QOL scales were constructed for 1316 of the 1988 residents, including many with substantial cognitive impairment. Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed 10 QOL domains. Cronbach alphas ranged from .76 to .52. The majority (93%) of the 45 possible interscale correlations among domains were below .14 and the rest were between .4 and .5. QOL scales were correlated with, but distinct from, residents' emotions ratings and overall satisfaction, and each was correlated with a corresponding summary rating for the domain. Conclusions. QOL can be feasibly measured from resident self-report for much of the nursing home population, including cognitively impaired residents. Additional research is suggested on the measures, but the approach has promise for regulation, continuous quality improvement, and public information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-248
Number of pages9
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


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