- Residents of Woods/Langhorne were surveyed in order to quantify their levels of satisfaction with services and supports provided to them. Participation was entirely voluntary, with 153 males and 60 females. Average was approximately 29 years. Note that some individuals were unable to participate in an interview, others declined, and some portion had not completed the data collection process by the time of the report.
- 95% of respondents reported that they were satisfied with their day program. This value is modestly greater than the values obtained on the two previous assessments.
- About 16% of respondents would like a different sort of day program, with the bulk of these comments being directed towards an alternative school placement.
- 94% of respondents reported that they were satisfied with their residential placement, but 31% reported that they would like to live elsewhere. The two most frequently cited alternatives were 1) home with family, and 2) group home.
- 94% reported that they liked their housemates.
- 71% reported that they like “most or all” of their staff, while 28% reported that they like “some” staff.
- 43% reported that they were sometimes lonely.
Measures of consumer satisfaction have become a standard in most social services, and Woods has routinely collected measures of consumer satisfaction as part of its annual program evaluation effort for the past several years. In this current round of evaluation efforts, individuals who live in Woods Services homes were interviewed by their Care Coordinators in an effort to ascertain their satisfaction with programs and services offered.
It must be recognized that not all individuals are capable of participating in an interview, and some small number of individuals may be unwilling to participate. Participation is not forced, and responses are never entered via third party estimates of how the individual would respond. Only voluntary independent responses are recorded. Collected in this manner, responses to at least some of the questions were obtained from 213 consumers.
A word of caution must precede any presentation of “satisfaction” data. It has been argued in the business literature, for example, that measures of consumer satisfaction are actually assessing dimensions of personality rather than actual satisfaction. That is, there are people who are generally satisfied with most things and people who are generally dissatisfied with most things, and these “satisfaction” measures seem to be able to distinguish between these groups. It is not clear that the dimension presumably being assessed (i.e., satisfaction) is as important as the personality of the person giving the opinion. The validity of such data is highly open to question, with the strong suggestion that satisfaction is perhaps better viewed as a measure of personality rather than a measure of an individual’s assessment of quality. Thus, these findings, even though they appear to be largely favorable towards supports and services offered by Woods, like any satisfaction rating, must be viewed with at least a certain degree of skepticism.
Despite these concerns regarding satisfaction research, satisfaction assessment remains an expectation within the field. For example, the COA accreditation process requires consumer satisfaction measures. To satisfy that requirement, consumer satisfaction questions are included as part of the annual Woods Services program evaluation effort. Care Coordinators who completed the program evaluation questionnaires were directed to ask the consumers to respond to the consumer satisfaction questions. Questions addressed day programs, housing, housemates, staff, and loneliness. The number of consumers responding to such satisfaction questions varied from question to question, but averaged around 213 respondents. Some individuals were selective in answering questions. In general the responses were quite favorable, although one must be cautioned about the widely recognized limited validity of consumer satisfaction questionnaires. It should also be noted that the return rate for the program evaluation questionnaires that included the satisfaction questions was markedly lower than in prior years.
Satisfaction with one’s current day program was asked in the same manner in 2018, 2019, and 2021 surveys (note that 2020 was skipped due to the pandemic). While this does not permit a true longitudinal assessment of day program satisfaction, it provides three comparable comparison figures. These satisfaction indices are presented (combined for Mollie Woods and Woodlands programs) in the figure below:
Despite these consistently high levels of reported “satisfaction,” it is noteworthy that a relatively large percentage of individuals reported that they would like to have another day program. Over the three years being considered, the percentage of individuals expressing this interest declined from 41% to 23% to 16%. It is possible that these fluctuations are at least a function of the sample of individuals who responded. When respondents indicated that they would like a different type of day program, they were asked to identify the desired program. Data from 2021 yielded the following alternatives:
- 1 – Laundry
- 1 – Carrying & Delivering
- 3 – some sort of off Campus job
- 4 – some form of food service
- 7 – different school Respondents were asked what alternative day programs they would like
Respondent were asked whether they liked their residence at Woods. Once again, historical data permitted us to make cross-sectional comparisons of residential satisfaction in 2018, 2019, and 2021. These data are presented in the figure below. Once again, these data are aggregated from Mollie Woods Program and from Woodlands Program.
Each year, the respondents were asked whether they would like to live elsewhere. In 2018, 63% reported that they would like to live elsewhere, in 2019 48% reported that they would like to live elsewhere, and in 2021, the number declined to 31%. A summary of preferred alternative residential settings appears below:
- 42 – Family home
- 17 – Group home or apartment
- 3 – on my own
- 1 – New York
- 1 – Woodlands Program
- 1 – Brown Hall
- 1 – with Foster Mother
- 1 – with Bob
Getting along with housemates would seem to be a critical issue in a congregate care setting, and in Woods’ case, the matter is perhaps further complicated by Woodlands’ admission policy of requiring substantial behavioral challenges. Despite this fact, respondents consistently reported that they liked their housemates. Once again, we can view cross-sectional data from 2018, 2019, and 2021.
Satisfaction with staff
Cross-sectional analysis over time is not possible here because the staff satisfaction question in 2021 was worded differently than in earlier years. In 2021, 71% of the respondents reported that they liked “most or all” of the staff, while 28% reported that they liked “some” of the staff.
In both 2019 and 2021, respondents were asked whether they were lonely. This question had been added because of published concerns regarding loneliness in group homes. We found largely consistent responses for both years. In 2019, 56% reported that they were never lonely, and 43% said that they were sometimes lonely. In 2021, 58% reported that they were never lonely, and 42% reported that they were sometimes lonely. To offer some context for these numbers, a Pew survey in 2018 had reported that about 46% of the American public reported that they were sometimes lonely.
In general, it appears that most people are generally satisfied with their day program and residential situation at Woods, although it has to be recognized that almost everyone would prefer to live with their family. Living with one’s family was the primary alternative suggested to living at Woods, and the number of individuals making that suggestion is perhaps suppressed slightly by the number of older adults for whom that is not an option. The second most frequently cited alternative is group home, and Woods’s efforts to increase its representation in the community seems justified by these data.