Our elderly are a valuable yet vulnerable piece of our cultural landscape, and because of the difficulties that exist with home care when our parents and grandparents reach certain ages and levels of health, we often turn to the services of an assisted living facility, senior care center, or a hospice.

These places are staffed with people who truly care about the people they serve. But sometimes, figuring out how best to improve care and amenities can be difficult without professional research help. For the overall resident experience, everything from food to amenities to how many times they go to the mall, bank, or park needs to be measured.

Adding to the pressure is the fact that it’s actually required by law to measure patient satisfaction in these facilities. It’s part of the licensing and operations requirements of the state. But how it’s measured is often open to interpretation, which can sometimes lead to bad research and incorrect results.

Many different states allow facilities to partner with research companies like IQS Research to gather the information from patrons and their families. The best of these do just that (even if we do say so ourselves).

And just like in other types of business, it’s never a good idea to do your own surveys, it’s even more important in the case of care facilities that independent reviews and surveys are conducted. For one thing, “internal research” is rarely accurate, because the people being surveyed are usually not willing to tell the truth to people they know. How would you tell someone you’re friendly with that the food hasn’t been very good? Or that the activities that have been selected for the last few weeks have been kind of boring?

It’s also important to consider that families are the ones often making the decisions about their elder family members’ care, so their satisfaction needs to be taken into consideration as well.

So to make sure patients are receiving the best care possible, nursing and assisted living facilities need to partner with reputable, science-based professional research firms like IQS, to be that third party to provide independent, unbiased research and let the facilities (and the state agency) know whether their patients and residents are satisfied and happy.