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Focus Groups Identify Strengths and Weaknesses in Residential Care

January 23, 2014

The results of a series of focus groups comprising 569 residential care stakeholders — including residents, family members, and staff — were compiled into a report by the Harvey Picker Center of Innovation and Applied Research Program.

Focus-group participants were asked to highlight their facilities’ strengths. They were also asked to point out areas that need improvement.

Among “non-supervisory staff,” a category that includes direct-care workers, “positive relationships between staff” were cited as a strength. Those relationships boosted staff satisfaction and promoted staff retention.

One non-supervisory staff member said, “I stay because people really care about taking care of people. As hard as it is, we want to be here.”

Non-supervisory staff also said they appreciated when supervisors gave them flexibility with their schedules.

Areas that need improvement, according to non-supervisory staff, include communication between staff members during shift changes, as well as empowerment in the workplace.

“It would be nice for us to have more say, as we are the frontline caregivers,” said one non-supervisory staff member. “We know the residents better than anyone else in this building.”

All told, the Harvey Picker Center conducted 83 separate focus groups in eight different residential care communities. The focus groups began in November 2012.

The Harvey Picker Center is a member of the Planetree Network, an organization that works to promote patient-centered care.

— by Matthew Ozga

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