Surveying Elderly and people with Learning Disabilities
13/01/2012 10:55 am
Hi, our organisation carries out an annual satisfaction survey to a quarter of our tenants every quarter. I have been asked to look into ways of what the best practice methods are for surveying the Elderly and people with Learning Disabilities.
Google has lead me to a couple of studies with some helpful advice but the studies were based in America, I was wondering if there is a uk forum for discussing such things?
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18/01/2012 10:48 am
Face to face surveying with these groups is valuable.
In terms of the elderly who have vulnerabilities, making them aware that they will be contacted for this purpose with definate arrangements for doing so assists. Offering the option to have the survey explained and then self completed or completed with help allows wider participation. Clearly feeding back the outcome of the survey and where there views have been taken into account adds to reassurance and well being.
The same applies to people with other vulnerabilities, including those with learning disabilities. Avoid using the carer as a subsititue, but do consider using the carer as a translator where communication difficulties might make it difficult for you to understand what the person is telling you.
Making your demands for having the survey completed fit within their regular timetable will ensure you get their views without causing excessive disturbance.
If you approach groups such as MIND and AGE UK, they can assist you with their experience, but don't rule out resources such as Housemark who may have a study available, or be able to point to housing providers who have a positive track record with such surveying of resident and client groups. Bernslai would come to mind as likely to have something to share in this area, as would English Churches. Outside of Housing, Livability may be a source or a signpost you can gain from.
The bottom line though is result interpretation - for the best understanding of outcomes you really need to structure the survey so it tests expectations as well. For instance, asking someone how good the repair service is may tell you they think it good, but asking them in detail what a good repair service looks like in terms of speed, effectiveness, cost etc and then how the service they received compares tells you so much more.
Hope this proves of help to you, and do come back and share what you find with the rest of us Paul.
27/01/2012 10:31 am
Best practice is don't ask too much, don't ask too often, don't get too defensive but most of all tell people what has changed as a result of their feedback. Any system of getting feedback needs to be supplemented so an annual survey needs to be supplemented by a more indepth approach to explore some of the issues coming out of the mass survey for example a focus group.
The biggest challenge is always to get people to participate in a survey. A 40% response rate is considered reasonable to questionnaires but can't really give you confidence that you're getting a comprehensive picture. Like wise focus groups are notoriously difficult to ensure they are representative and not just the usual suspects. People with a learning disability are going to respond better to face to face contact rather than forms and older people may not be keen on attending meetings but may be willing to give their views over the phone. A good example of how to get the views of a significant number of elder residents is the approach used by a large national HA. They set up a reference group call the 500. A cross section of residents were approached individually by managers and asked if they would be prepared to give their views this could be by filling out a questionnaire, being part of a focus group or just being willing to talk to someone on the phone.
The point being they chose what method, they had a certain status as one of the 500 and people appreciated the personal invitation. Clearly there was a lot of work involved in recruiting and maintaining the group but the quality of feedback gave the approach a great deal of credibility with senior management and the board.
If you or other readers would like to know more email Brenda Judge firstname.lastname@example.org