UM Impact Prize for Katya Sion

During the annual Maastricht University Dinner, Katya Sion (CAPHRI/ Living Lab Ageing and Long-Term Care Limburg) received the Impact Prize for her thesis "Connecting conversations: experienced quality of care from the resident’s perspective: a narrative method for nursing homes". Katya developed a new method to assess the perceived quality of nursing home care through personal stories.

PhD candidates at Maastricht University are required to write a paragraph on how their research can be translated into social or economic value. The annual Impact Prize rewards research that has the greatest impact on society. The prize consists of € 3,000 - made available by UM and the University Fund / SWOL together - plus a work of art.

Quality of care in nursing homes: The resident’s perspective

Katya’s dissertation has introduced a new view on quality of long-term care. Experienced quality of care in nursing homes is an interactive process, highly influenced by relationships between residents, their families and professional caregivers. This broader view on quality of care also requires a different way of assessing this, henceforth requiring not just quantitative data but also additional narrative data on residents’ and families experiences.

Connecting Conversations

By performing research together with residents, their representatives, nursing home staff and national stakeholders, Katya’s research resulted in the assessment method: Connecting Conversations (Ruimte voor Zorg). Connecting Conversations assesses experienced quality of care in nursing homes from the resident’s perspective by conducting separate conversations - in an appreciative form - with a resident, a family member of that resident and a professional caregiver of that resident (care triad). Interviewers are nursing home staff members who perform conversations with a supportive app in each other’s care organizations after having received a training (learning network).  It steps away from ratings and rankings and can facilitate identifying residents-families-caregivers’ needs and detect learning and improvement points.

Societal impact

Connecting Conversations is valuable for many different stakeholders. Residents, their families and professional caregivers are provided with a method that can contribute towards quality improvements that are considered important to them. In addition, these stories provide client council members with rich information that they can use to support their residents’ needs. Team managers can use the stories to learn from and improve with on a team level; and higher management can gain insight into how their care organizations are truly being experienced. For national stakeholders, the stories can contribute towards providing information about the experienced quality of care of care organizations. This information can be used to purchase high quality of care (health insurance companies), monitor and ensure high quality of care (the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate) and stimulate continuous quality improvements founded on these stories (the National Health Care Institute). In addition, for education, both the new view on quality of care and the value of quality assessments by means of stories can be introduced to students to broaden their view on quality of care.

Ideally, Connecting Coversations and its principles can support a shift in the nursing home culture, in which mandatory registrations, tasks and checklists make more room for conversations, relationships and a learning culture. This can contribute towards achieving a higher quality of care, quality of life and quality of work for residents, family and staff in nursing homes.

Click here for the full dissertation.
Click here for the factsheet ' Ruimte voor Zorg' (in Dutch)


The research trajectory has been conducted in collaboration with a national steering committee, consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Health, the National Health Care Institute, the National Client Council, the Professional Association of Nurses, the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate and the Board of Nursing Home Organizations.The study has been co-supported by Limburg Meet (LiMe) and was financed by the Living Lab Ageing and Long-Term Care Limburg and CZ.

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