FourFour two – A skilled nursing home may be better suited to a nursing home than a private nursing home, a new study has found.
A team of psychologists at the University of Western Australia has conducted a comparative study of four of the country’s top nursing facilities, including two in the Western Australian state of South Australia.
Dr Mark Levey said the research was a significant leap forward in understanding the psychology of caregiving and the need for skilled nursing facilities.
“This research shows that there are a lot of factors that we can look at, that we have to look at that are related to how the nursing home is performing,” he said.
“The most important one is the mental health of the staff, and the mental wellbeing of the patients.”
And the other important one, and I think we all recognise this, is that the staff that we are working with are also the patients that we’re caring for.
“That’s the key factor.”
The researchers interviewed 542 nursing home residents at five different institutions.
Dr Levey and his colleagues were particularly interested in the health of staff who were on shift.
“We really wanted to know how well staff were functioning,” he explained.
“One of the key questions we looked at was: What is the overall quality of care that the nursing staff were providing to patients?”‘
You have to be careful’When the researchers interviewed the residents, they asked them to rate their overall health, and how well they were coping with the stress of their work.
“They had to give us their responses, and they had to tell us how long they had been there, how many hours a week they had worked, and other things that they were experiencing,” Dr Levey explained.
The team then looked at how staff were doing, including how long and how frequently they were working.
“A lot of the research that we did was on nursing home staff,” Dr Lauvey said.”[But] we wanted to see how well the nursing facility staff were performing, because the nursing facilities are the ones that are performing well in terms of staff outcomes, and so we wanted a measure of their quality of services.”‘
We were told to get on with our work’When Dr Lauvey and his team looked at the data, they found a range of factors were linked to staff quality.
“There’s one area that’s really surprising, which is that we were told that we should be getting on with the work,” he noted.
“In fact, we were actually told to put ourselves in the role of the nurses and to just get on the floor and do what they asked.”
So we really had to be cautious, because we were also told to do that.”‘
Not all staff are equal’Dr Lauvey and the team said that they had an expectation that all nursing home nurses would be doing the same.”
I think that this has really highlighted how much more important it is that nurses are working together,” he added.”
It’s not all nurses are equally skilled, and it’s not just nurses that are going to be doing everything, but also family members and neighbours, and others.
“Everyone has a role to play, and that’s a really important part of our role as nurses.”‘
There are many variables’A major reason why the study found so many differences in staff wellbeing, Dr Lauver said, was that “there are many factors that you can look into”.
“You have more to look into when you’re talking about nursing home quality than you do when you are talking about the health or wellbeing of a private hospital.”
“There are so many variables that are out there that we need to look more closely at.”
Dr Levey said that his research would help improve nursing home practices.
“Because we’ve identified a range here of factors, we can work with those, and make sure that our caregiving, our staffing and our facilities are all going to give the best care possible,” he commented.
“Nursing facilities have a really long history of providing excellent care, but they’re often not well equipped to deal with complex issues.”
But it’s a challenge that we face all the time, because people’s lives are really complicated.
“The study was published in the Journal of Nursing Management.