Interviewing Residents with Dementia and/or Cognitive Impairment

The Resident Quality of Life Survey has been specifically designed and tested for use with the nursing facility population, including residents with dementia, cognitive impairments, disabilities, and those experiencing memory loss.

Interviewers are trained on techniques to include the responses of residents across the range of disabilities. The interviewer training program, which includes methods proven to achieve a high response rate, is based on Vital Research conducting over 300,000 resident interviews. The interviewers are trained on how to interview residents who are cognitively impaired, including how to handle challenging situations, and when to discontinue an interview if a resident is not willing or able to participate.

Some of these techniques include:

There has been a large amount of research on conducting surveys with memory care and non-memory care residents, and analyses show minimal differences in responses between these two groups. If differences between these two groups occur in the Resident Quality of Life Survey, the scores are risk-adjusted during analysis; Facility reports include both observed scores as well as risk-adjusted scores.

Due to the inclusion of residents across abilities and cognitions, the survey provides robust data; the results would be less meaningful if large groups of residents were to be excluded from providing their perceptions. The philosophy of this survey is to be as inclusive as possible. Inclusion of residents with dementia and other cognitive impairments strengthens the reliability of the results, and it is ethical to try to include all residents’ perspectives. In resident satisfaction surveys, we are interested in every resident’s perspective, because only then will we have a complete understanding of the quality of life in Minnesota’s nursing facilities.