This paper derives from a study conducted by the Deakin Institute of Nursing Research between 1988 and 1990, whose major objective was to determine the impact of staffing mix on nursing residents’ quality of care and life Resident satisfaction with life in the nursing home is a key element in determining the quality of care and quality of life provided Both the literature review and the study objectives supported the view that resident outcome can be collected through assessing the quality of care and the quality of life, through assessment by informed observers using instruments derived from explicitly stated standards, and through eliciting the perceptions of residents themselves A schedule designed to measure satisfaction with care was developed and resident interviews were undertaken using this measure and the Life Satisfaction Index (A) The majority of responses to the resident satisfaction schedule were positive The high percentage of positive responses did not correlate with the observations of the research assistants and there was some concern that while residents were able to assess care they were reluctant to criticize the staff or their behaviour