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 with cognitive impairments, including how to handle challenging situations, and when to discontinue an interview if a resident is not willing or able to participate. Interviews discontinued because the resident is unable to respond are not used in scores or public reporting.

Some of these techniques include:

Researchers have found minimal differences in survey responses between residents in memory care units versus other residents. As a final step to make public reporting as fair as possible, results are statistically risk adjusted (for resident cognitive impairment, physical impairment, age, and gender, and for size and location of the facility).

By inviting residents across abilities and experiences to participate, the survey provides a robust picture of life in the facility. The philosophy of this survey is to be as inclusive as possible. A more inclusive survey process not only leads to more reliable, accurate results, it is ethical to try to include all residents’ perspectives.