A critical dimension of Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) activity in long-term care is an analysis of the care environment, that is, the way care and services are organized. The purpose of this study was to develop and pilot test a psychometrically sound tool that long-term care staff could use to assess the care environment and guide performance improvement activity. Focus groups with 57 interdisciplinary participants in five nursing homes developed initial items, with excellent content validity (item content validity index = 1.0) evaluated by an expert panel. Pilot testing of internal consistency of the Care Environment Scale–Long-Term Care (CES-LTC) was conducted in a web-based administration of the items by 425 interdisciplinary staff members in 30 nursing homes and four assisted living facilities. The CES-LTC is internally consistent (Cronbach’s alpha =.90) and accounts for approximately 71.6% of the total variance. The three factors extracted from the exploratory factor analysis are Institutional Values (k = 6), Access to Resources (k = 10), and Person-Centered Approaches (k = 12). Intrarater reliability in a subsample of 66 registered nurses revealed good test-retest results (overall intraclass correlation coefficients [ICC] = 0.78). The CES-LTC appears to be a valid and reliable measure of staff perceptions of the care environment and may be used to actively engage staff in QAPI endeavors including root cause analyses and improvement activity.
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