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VOLUME 47 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2012


Nursing Home Work Environment and the Risk of Pressure Ulcers and Incontinence

Keywords: Nursing homes;health outcomes;staff cohesion;teams;consistent assignment

Objective: To examine the association between nursing home (NH) work environment attributes such as teams, consistent assignment and staff cohesion, and the risk of pressure ulcers and incontinence.

Data Source/Setting: Minimum dataset for 46,044 residents in 162 facilities in New York State, for June 2006–July 2007, and survey responses from 7,418 workers in the same facilities.

Study Design: For each individual and facility, primary and secondary data were linked. Random effects logistic models were used to develop/validate outcome measures. Generalized estimating equation models with robust standard errors and probability weights were employed to examine the association between outcomes and work environment attributes. Key independent variables were staff cohesion, percent staff in daily care teams, and percent staff with consistent assignment. Other facility factors were also included.

Principal Findings: Residents in facilities with worse staff cohesion had significantly greater odds of pressure ulcers and incontinence, compared with residents in facilities with better cohesion scores. Residents in facilities with greater penetration of self-managed teams had lower risk of pressure ulcers, but not of incontinence. Prevalence of consistent assignment was not significantly associated with the outcome measures.

Conclusions: NH environments and management practices influence residents health outcomes. These findings provide important lessons for administrators and regulators interested in promoting NH quality improvement.

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