F.A.Q.

Who is funding the project? The Minnesota Department of Human Services is funding this project.
What are the Minnesota Long-Term Care Facility Resident & Family Quality of Life surveys? The Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Department of Health are required by state law to share quality information for all Medicaid-certified nursing facilities with the public. (Minnesota is interested in including its Veterans’ Homes in the surveys in the future.)
 
Current long-stay residents participate in face-to-face interviews about their quality of life, conducted by trained and supervised interviewers. The primary representative for each current resident receives a corresponding family survey in the mail.
What is the purpose of the Long-Term Care Facility Quality of Life Survey? The purpose of the surveys is:
  1. To increase nursing facility awareness of resident and family perspectives of their services;
  2. To aid nursing facilities in making quality improvement plans; and,
  3. To provide an online public report that will help people who are looking for a nursing facility make informed decisions about long-term care for themselves or their loved one(s).
    • Visit the Minnesota Nursing Home Report Card.
    • In addition to results from the resident and family surveys, the Report Card includes ratings of short stay/rehabilitative stays, information about the quality of care, inspection results, staffing, and costs.
What changes were made to the resident survey this year? The DHS uses lessons learned during prior year’s interviews to make any needed improvements to the survey instruments. For 2019, the DHS made a minor edit to one question. However, in 2016 the DHS worked with providers, quality of life experts, and long-term care survey researchers on a major update. Questions were added or rephrased to express their concepts better, while others were dropped. The revised survey is more relevant, meaningful and able to capture real differences in quality across providers.
Which residents will be interviewed? With proportional random sampling, the number of interviews to complete varies based on the number of long-stay residents at each facility. (Click here to view our sampling table and calculate your facility's number.) Facilities submit a resident census list to Vital Research two weeks before their scheduled interview date. Vital Research determines the number of interviews needed to reach a 7% margin of error at each facility based on the number of long-stay residents on this list. Vital Research randomly selects the list of long-stay residents to be interviewed. On the first day of scheduled interviews, each facility provides interviewers a list of all residents in isolation and/or whose legal guardian has declined participation on their behalf. Interviewers remove these residents from their lists of eligible residents to interview.
Who receives a family survey? Facilities are responsible for identifying one primary representative for each current long-stay resident at their facility. Facilities include representative contact information in the census list submitted to Vital Research. Every resident representative will receive a mailed survey but can complete the survey on paper or online. Vital Research will also conduct phone interviews with representatives who did not complete paper surveys but would still like to participate.
How are interviewers trained? Interviewers complete a comprehensive training that includes classroom instruction and practical experience conducting supervised interviews of residents. Interviewers learn how to administer a structured interview the same way to each resident. They are taught to approach each resident with a positive attitude, believing that they will be able to provide opinions about their experience at the facility. If a resident offers no response or gives answers that are not responsive to four questions in a row, the interview is discontinued, and the resident is thanked for their time. If a resident becomes tired during an interview, the interviewer may return later in the day to complete the interview.
 
Interviewer training stresses that interviewers are to remain neutral at all times and are not there to observe/evaluate the facility themselves. Interviewers have a unique role, serving as the voice to hear and record resident opinions. Experienced Quality Assurance Mentors visit all interviewers, conducting quality assurance activities and providing reinforcement and corrective feedback.
Can we get a copy of the results? Several weeks after your interview date(s), you may view preliminary results for your facility on the Nursing Facility Provider Portal. You may also visit the Provider Portal for preliminary family survey results. Upon completion of the survey project, the Minnesota Department of Human Services provides facilities with individual results in comparison with statewide data. The DHS also converts results of the resident and family surveys to five-star ratings. The ratings, among other quality measures, will be available to the public on the Minnesota Nursing Home Report Card. We expect final results to be available in the Spring of 2020.
Are resident interviews confidential? Yes. All surveys are recorded on a handheld mobile device and submitted directly to an independent research organization, Vital Research. The survey uses identification numbers assigned by Vital Research to keep answers confidential. Vital Research does not disclose the names of residents who participated in an interview. Individual resident surveys are destroyed at the end of the survey project. All results are reported as facility averages which ensures protection of individual respondents.
How long does the interview take? The interview is brief and takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.
Why are residents with dementia being interviewed? Learn more about interviewing residents with dementia and/or cognitive impairment »
What about the accuracy of the opinions of residents with dementia? Learn more about interviewing residents with dementia and/or cognitive impairment »
Why not let staff or families guide the interviewer to residents who can be interviewed? Allowing an independent third party (Vital Research) to randomly sample residents reduces the potential for bias.
Why not let the staff and families answer for residents? Many studies have shown that staff and families provide different answers from one another and different answers from residents. Each group’s opinions are important, but they cannot substitute for one another.