Quality Differences between Rural and Non-Rural Nursing Homes

Research center:
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Project completed:
October 2002
The quality of care in nursing homes has been a widespread concern for some years in the U.S., and recent reports by the General Accounting Office and hearings by the Senate Special Committee on Aging have heightened those concerns. However, little is known about whether there are differences in quality between facilities in rural and non-rural areas. This study has four specific aims: - To determine whether there are significant differences between the nursing home populations in rural and non-rural areas in terms of their characteristics and care needs; - To focus on whether there are significant differences between rural and non-rural nursing homes in their characteristics and in the services that they provide; - To determine whether the quality of care provided to residents in rural settings differs significantly from that provided in non-rural nursing homes; and - To develop a database for use in subsequent epidemiological and health services research, as well as shorter turnaround policy analyses. The quality indicators that will be used in the study include measures of process and outcome. They were developed as part of the HCFA Case-Mix and Quality Demonstration and are now being used in the survey process through which states evaluate the quality of care in nursing facilities. The proposed research will provide important information about rural nursing facilities and rural nursing facility residents to policy-makers, researchers, and consumer advocates.