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New from PHI’s National Clearinghouse

August 21, 2014

The newest additions to the PHI National Clearinghouse on the Direct Care Workforce:

For-Profit Medicare Home Health Agencies’ Costs Appear Higher and Quality Appears Lower Compared to Nonprofit Agencies — This study, published in the August issue of Health Affairs, evaluates the performances of both nonprofit and for-profit home health agencies. The researchers find that for-profits displayed slightly (but not significantly) worse performances in overall quality indicators. However, for-profit agencies billed Medicare for more money per patient than nonprofits ($4,827 to $4,075), while also reporting higher profits and higher administrative costs.

The Pivotal Role of the Nursing Home Administrator — This article, by leadership-education consultant Joanne Smikle, explains the numerous ways that nursing home administrators set the tone for the entire nursing home. Smikle explains the necessity of well-constructed leadership teams and models for leadership. She also writes about the importance of engaging nursing home workers with clear, focused communication skills. The article was published in the August issue of Provider.

Workforce Fatigue Raises Concerns — This article, from the July Provider, highlights a survey of professional caregivers which found that 69 percent of respondents said they believed that being fatigued at work had compromised their job performance. The author, Susan Meese, an RN, writes that more attention is paid to scheduling issues, suggesting that workers become involved in their facility’s schedule-making decisions in order to prevent extra-long shifts or work weeks.

Employee Engagement — Published in the May Provider, this article highlights the problem of high turnover within direct care. The author, Mark Woodka, an expert in staff scheduling and labor management, offers four suggestions to engage direct-care workers, thereby reducing turnover. The suggestions are: Improving new-hire orientation and training standards; embracing the concept of peer mentoring; letting workers have a say in certain decision-making processes (such as schedule-making); and creating an employee task force to address quality-of-care issues within the facility.

The PHI National Clearinghouse on the Direct Care Workforce is a national online library for people in search of solutions to the direct-care staffing crisis in long-term care. It houses over 1,000 articles, reports, issue briefs, and fact sheets on the direct-care workforce.

— by Matthew Ozga

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