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STUDY: Link Between Nursing Home Quality of Care and Staffing Levels Analyzed

February 20, 2014

Researchers have found that “no consistent evidence…for a positive relationship” between nursing staffing and quality of care.

By certain measurements, higher staffing levels of nurse assistants, registered nurse, and licensed practical nurses produced no significant effect on quality of care, and in some cases even lowered quality of care indicators, the researchers found.

However, the authors caution against drawing “firm conclusions” from their study, writing that more “well-designed longitudinal studies examining the effect of nurse staffing on [quality of care] in nursing homes” are needed.

The study — which analyzes 20 longitudinal studies, published between 1987 and 2013, on the effects of nursing home staffing — was published on the website of JAMDA on February 14.

Some Care-Quality Improvements

Higher NA staffing levels is, however, linked to several improvements in quality of care, including fewer pressures ulcers and lower hospitalization rates, the researchers note.

They found that higher levels of NA staff were linked to numerous positive care-quality outcomes, including:

  • Fewer pressure ulcers
  • Fewer infections
  • Fewer fractures
  • Less pain reported
  • Less disruptive behavior
  • Fewer total deficiencies
  • Fewer quality-of-care deficiencies
  • Less use of restraints
  • Lower hospitalization rates

— by Matthew Ozga

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