The pandemic has drawn attention to an issue that nursing home residents, their families and those who work in nursing homes have long known. Recruiting and retaining both nursing home staff who provide the very personal care residents need and administrators who set the tone of the workplace are key challenges in nursing homes.
Jennifer L. Carnahan, MD, MPH, and Kathleen Unroe, MD, MHA, and Kathleen Unroe, MD, MHA, of the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine, add that continuity of nursing home staff and leadership is linked to improving the quality of resident care – from on-site treatment or post-hospital care for complex medical conditions to meeting basic care needs such as eating and bathing. wash. Their editorial, “Prioritizing Nursing Home Staffing and Leadership Consistency to Improve Quality,” is published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS).
An ongoing relationship of trust with nursing home staff allows residents to feel comfortable with the very personal care they require and allows the hardworking caregiver to know and skillfully interact with residents as individuals rather than just focusing on tasks.
Staff turnover affects the family as well as the residents. Family members rely on those providing care to their loved ones to keep them up to date with changes that only someone in close and regular contact with the nursing home resident would observe. These can be subtle mood swings, loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed, or an inability to perform a task they previously had no problem with.
“Doctors and nurses are obviously important, but it must be recognized that frontline care home staff provide 90% of care and are therefore essential to creating a high-quality long-term care system,” said Dr. Unroe. “Everyone agrees that we have a recruitment and retention problem. We need to design incentives to attract and retain in this workforce people who enjoy working with older people and who are well trained , particularly for the needs of people with dementia.”
Dr. Unroe, a geriatrician and past chair of the American Geriatrics Society’s Public Policy Committee, is currently a member of the Centers for the Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Five-Star Quality Rating System Technical Expert Panel. . The online tool provides more than 100 quality metrics divided into five categories: mortality, safety of care, hospital readmission, patient experience, and timely and effective care. These measures allow seniors, their families, social services and others to assess and compare the quality of care provided to residents.
“We must prioritize educating and supporting staff so they can provide the practical care that nursing home residents need,” said editorial co-author Dr Carnahan. “Given the importance of continuity of quality care for this vulnerable population and the current lack of viable solutions to improve recruitment and retention of staff and leaders, researchers, in partnership with nursing home operators care, must take the initiative to develop and test practical and repeatable strategies to attract and retain a talented workforce and leadership.
Dr. Carnahan, a geriatrician, is currently a Health Policy Leadership Fellow with the Society of General Internal Medicine and serves on the society’s Geriatrics Commission.
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Material provided by Regenstrief Institute. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.