Nursing Home Quality, Cost, Staffing, and Staff Mix

Marilyn J. Rantz, Lanis Hicks, Victoria Grando, Gregory F. Petroski, Richard W. Madsen, David R. Mehr, Vicki Conn, Mary Zwygart-Staffacher, Jill Scott, Marcia Flesner, Jane Bostick, Rose Porter, Meridean Maas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the processes of care, organizational attributes, cost of care, staffing level, and staff mix in a sample of Missouri homes with good, average, and poor resident outcomes. Design and Methods: A three-group exploratory study design was used, with 92 nursing homes randomly selected from all nursing homes in Missouri and classified into resident outcome groups. Resident outcomes were measured by use of quality indicators derived from nursing home Minimum Data Set resident assessment data. Cost and staffing information were derived from Medicaid cost reports. Participant observation methods were used to describe the care delivery processes. Results: In facilities with good resident outcomes, there are basics of care and processes surrounding each that staff consistently do: helping residents with ambulation, nutrition and hydration, and toileting and bowel regularity; preventing skin breakdown; and managing pain. The analysis revealed necessary organizational attributes that must be in place in order for those basics of care to be accomplished: consistent nursing and administrative leadership, the use of team and group processes, and an active quality improvement program. The only facility characteristic across the outcome groups that was significantly different was the number of licensed beds, with smaller facilities having better outcomes. No significant differences in costs, staffing, or staff mix were detected across the groups. A trend in higher total costs of $13.58 per resident per day was detected in the poor-outcome group compared with the good-outcome group. Implications: For nursing homes to achieve good resident outcomes, they must have leadership that is willing to embrace quality improvement and group process and see that the basics of care delivery are done for residents. Good quality care may not cost more than poor quality care; there is some evidence that good quality care may cost less. Small facilities of 60 beds were more likely to have good resident outcomes. Strategies have to be considered so larger facilities can be organized into smaller clusters of units that could function as small nursing homes within the larger whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-38
Number of pages15
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Costs of care
  • Minimum Data Set (MDS)
  • Nursing homes
  • Quality indicators
  • Quality measurement
  • Quality of care
  • Registered nurse staffing
  • Staff mix
  • Staffing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nursing Home Quality, Cost, Staffing, and Staff Mix'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this