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STUDY: Staff Unity Produces Quality Nursing Home Care

June 14, 2012

A strong sense of cohesion among nursing home staff members — including direct-care workers — results in higher-quality care for consumers, according to a study published in the June issue of Health Services Research.

“Staff cohesion” was defined by researchers as the extent to which staff felt they shared values, goals, and responsibilities.

The study analyzed rates of incontinence and pressure ulcers among residents in more than 160 nursing homes throughout New York State during a 13-month period in 2006 and 2007.

The researchers found that incontinence and pressure ulcers were much more likely to occur in nursing homes where staff members personally feel a lower sense of unity with their co-workers.

Better Relationships, Better Care

“This study empirically demonstrates that better work relationships between staff, as measured by staff cohesion, are associated with better outcomes for nursing home residents,” said Helena Temkin-Greener, a professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the study’s lead author.

“Nursing home managers have the tools to encourage good patient care but they have to work at it and encourage practices that promote better cohesion, communication, and teamwork in their facilities,” Temkin-Greener continued. “If they do this, the quality of care will improve.”

The study additionally found that residents of facilities using self-managed work teams showed a lower risk of pressure ulcers, but not of incontinence.

The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging.

– by Matthew Ozga

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