How to ask: Surveying nursing directors of nursing homes

Jessica A.R. Williams, Mary G. Vriniotis, Daniel A. Gundersen, Leslie I. Boden, Jamie E. Collins, Jeffrey N. Katz, Gregory R. Wagner, Glorian Sorensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Nursing home research may involve eliciting information from managers, yet response rates for Directors of Nursing have not been recently studied. As a part of a more extensive study, we surveyed all nursing homes in three states in 2018 and 2019, updating how to survey these leaders effectively. We focus on response rates as a measure of non-response error and comparison of nursing home's characteristics to their population values as a measure of representation error. Methods: We surveyed Directors of Nursing or their designees in nursing homes serving adult residents with at least 30 beds in California, Massachusetts, and Ohio (N = 2389). We collected contact information for respondents and then emailed survey invitations and links, followed by three email reminders and a paper version. Nursing home associations in two of the states contacted their members on our behalf. We compared the response rates across waves and states. We also compared the characteristics of nursing homes based on whether the response was via email or paper. In a multivariable logit regression, we used characteristics of the survey and the nursing homes to predict whether their DON responded to the survey using adjustments for multiple comparisons. Results: The response rate was higher for the first wave than for the second (30% vs 20.5%). The highest response rate was in Massachusetts (31.8%), followed by Ohio (25.8%) and California (19.5%). Nursing home characteristics did not vary by response mode. Additionally, we did not find any statistically significant predictors of whether a nursing home responded. Conclusion: A single-mode survey may provide a reasonably representative sample at the cost of sample size. With that said, however, switching modes can increase sample size without potentially biasing the sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere304
JournalHealth Science Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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