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Objective

To test for an association between traditional nursing home quality measures and two sources of resident- and caregiver-derived nursing home complaints.

Data Sources

Nursing home complaints to the North Carolina Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and state certification agency from October 2002 through September 2006 were matched with Online Survey Certification and Reporting data and Minimum Data Set Quality Indicators (MDS-QIs).

Study Design

We examine the association between the number of complaints filed against a facility and measures of inspection violations, staffing levels, and MDS-QIs.

Data Extraction

One observation per facility per quarter is constructed by matching quarterly data on complaints to OSCAR data from the same or most recent prior quarter and to MDS-QIs from the same quarter. One observation per inspection is obtained by matching OSCAR data to complaint totals from both the same and the immediate prior quarter.

Principal Findings

There is little relationship between MDS-QIs and complaints. Ombudsman complaints and inspection violations are generally unrelated, but there is a positive relationship between state certification agency complaints and inspection violations.

Conclusions

Ombudsman and state certification agency complaint data are resident- and caregiver-derived quality measures that are distinctive from and complement traditional quality measures.