The impact of resident safety culture on quality outcomes in intellectual disabilities: A study of Tennessee community agencies

Curtis L Nolen, Tennessee State University


Purpose. This is an exploratory study designed to measure safety culture levels within Tennessee community agencies providing services to citizens with intellectual disabilities, to analyze the measures of safety culture within these agencies, and to determine if there are significant correlations between levels of safety culture and quality and risk outcomes. This is the first known study of its kind in the field of intellectual disabilities and one of the first in the field of long term care. Data and methodology. A survey was administered to the staffs of 75 community service providers of services for intellectually disabled citizens within the State of Tennessee with a response rate of 83 percent. The survey data was entered into Statistica, Release 8, for ease of analysis. The multivariate statistical method employed in this research was correlation and multiple regression. Findings. Fourteen null hypotheses were constructed in this original research to be tested. Analysis of the data revealed findings that rejected 13 of the null hypotheses and failed to reject 1 of the null hypotheses. Results showed that there are numerous significant relationships between the various measures of the safety culture dimensions and the measures of quality management, location of the agency, size of agency, and protection from harm indicators. The data also show that TN DIDS agencies have levels of safety culture that are similar in pattern to those identified by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in its model for long term care and nursing homes. Limitations. In this study limitations were evident and discussed including the lack of qualitative data to further explain staff perceptions and provide analysis of other factors that affect quality outcomes. Future research. Further studies are recommended in the area of qualitative studies to analyze data and assess other factors that affect quality outcomes. While the majority of the research in healthcare patient safety culture has occurred in acute care the most significant opportunities for linking safety culture and outcomes may be in the long term care fields.

Subject Area

Public administration|Organization Theory|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Curtis L Nolen, "The impact of resident safety culture on quality outcomes in intellectual disabilities: A study of Tennessee community agencies" (2010). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3404167.