Do Safety Culture Scores in Nursing Homes Depend on Job Role and Ownership? Results from a National Survey

Academic Article


  • Objectives: To identify facility- and individual-level predictors of nursing home safety culture. Design: Cross-sectional survey of individuals within facilities. Setting: Nursing homes participating in the national Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Safety Program for Long-Term Care: Healthcare-Associated Infections/Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections Project. Participants: Responding nursing home staff (N = 14,177) from 170 (81%) of 210 participating facilities. Measurements: Staff responses to the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture (NHSOPS), focused on five domains (teamwork, training and skills, communication openness, supervisor expectations, organizational learning) and individual respondent characteristics (occupation, tenure, hours worked), were merged with data on facility characteristics (from the Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reporting): ownership, chain membership, percentage residents on Medicare, bed size. Data were analyzed using multivariate hierarchical models. Results: Nursing assistants rated all domains worse than administrators did (P <.001), with the largest differences for communication openness (24.3 points), teamwork (17.4 points), and supervisor expectations (16.1 points). Clinical staff rated all domains worse than administrators. Nonprofit ownership was associated with worse training and skills (by 6.0 points, P =.04) and communication openness (7.3 points, P =.004), and nonprofit and chain ownership were associated with worse supervisor expectations (5.2 points, P =.001 and 3.2 points, P =.03, respectively) and organizational learning (5.6 points, P =.009 and 4.2 points, P =.03). The percentage of variation in safety culture attributable to facility characteristics was less than 22%, with ownership having the strongest effect. Conclusion: Perceptions of safety culture vary widely among nursing home staff, with administrators consistently perceiving better safety culture than clinical staff who spend more time with residents. Reporting safety culture scores according to occupation may be more important than facility-level scores alone to describe and assess barriers, facilitators, and changes in safety culture.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Banaszak-Holl J; Reichert H; Todd Greene M; Mody L; Wald HL; Crnich C; McNamara SE; Meddings J
  • Start Page

  • 2244
  • End Page

  • 2250
  • Volume

  • 65
  • Issue

  • 10