Combining assessments by the clients, their family members and named nurses of the quality of long-term care leads to a more comprehensive picture of the quality of the service. Clients should be the primary source of information, but particularly when they are not able to express their opinion, other sources of assessment are needed. This study describes and compares the consistency of quality assessments of long-term institutional care for the elderly made by the client (n = 312), his/her family member (n = 312) and the named nurse (n = 312). Data were gathered in 2002 from service houses, nursing homes and health centres. The consistency of the assessments made by the different groups of respondents was measured by frequency distributions, the weighted kappa coefficient and exact agreement. Frequency distributions differed significantly between the respondent groups in almost every item. Family members were more critical in their assessments than the other two groups. The consistency of assessments was highest with regard to the items 'contact with significant others' and 'medication'. In general the consistency of assessments, measured by weighted kappa, was rather low, but it was fair for 'clothing' (clients/family members) and 'privacy' (clients/named nurses and family members/named nurses). The occurrence of the option 'not applicable' to certain items was quite high, but varied somewhat between the three respondent groups. The results of this study support the viewpoint that comprehensive information gathering from family members and named nurses is useful, but they should not replace clients' assessments.