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Findings of the 2022 National Nursing Home Experience Survey have been published

1 November 2022

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The survey, which is the first ever national survey of nursing home care in Ireland, asked residents in participating nursing homes — HSE, private and voluntary — about their lived experience of nursing home care, the quality of care and support they receive, and how this meets their needs. One nominated family member or friend of each resident was also invited to take part in the survey and comment on the care provided to their loved one. 

A stratified sample of nursing homes, representative of the entire population of nursing homes in Ireland, was selected to participate in the survey between March and May 2022, a time when COVID-19 was still prevalent. 

The National Nursing Home Experience Survey was developed in close collaboration with public and private providers. In order to be more inclusive of residents with cognitive impairment or residents who may lack the capacity to complete a paper questionnaire, a face to face interview-based survey was developed for residents. 

The survey aimed to gather information about their experiences of living in a nursing home and their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. It asked over 40 questions on topics such as person-centred care, daily routines and activities, privacy, involvement in decisions, staff, and food and nutrition, as well as questions on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected them. 

A separate questionnaire was developed for relatives and friends to get an understanding of their experiences of having a loved one in a nursing home, particularly during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

The overall results of the survey were very positive with over 90% of residents reporting that they had a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ overall experience in their nursing home. While residents were particularly positive about the living environment and the staff and caregivers who cared for them, 10% of participating residents had a poorer experience. Areas where residents were less positive included the experience of moving into the nursing home, and person-centred care. 

In terms of the experience of relatives and friends, 87% said that they had a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ overall experience with the nursing home. 13% of relatives and friends said that they had a fair-to-poor experience with the nursing home. Areas highlighted included the need to support residents in terms of their emotional wellbeing and participation in activities, and safekeeping of belongings. 

The survey found that there were no significant differences in the overall experience of residents based on the size or provider type of the nursing home.Respondents were also asked about the impact of COVID-19 on their experience of nursing homes. 

Residents were typically positive about the care they received during the pandemic but talked about missing visits from family and the psychological impact of the restrictions. Relatives and friends frequently noted and appreciated the efforts of staff and how they were supported in staying in touch with residents during this time. However, concerns about how the resident declined during periods of limited social interactions were also expressed by family members. 

Residents, for whom a nursing home represents their home, have the right to feel comfortable, safe and well cared for. The findings of the National Nursing Home Experience Survey will be used to help improve residents lived experience of nursing home care. Providers, both public and private, are committed to using the findings of the survey to drive improvements in their nursing homes and participating nursing homes will be invited to share their response and the initiatives they have undertaken in response to the findings of the survey. 

The findings will also be used by the Department of Health to inform the development of policy and strategy in relation to nursing home care, as well as informing national standards and HIQA’s regulation of nursing homes. 

Three reports — a national overview, a report on residents experiences of nursing homes and another on the experience of relatives and friends’— have been published today. These reports, and the full methodology of our survey, are here.