Expert: Staff cohesion crucial to providing top quality care

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Helena Temkin-Greener
Helena Temkin-Greener
Strong working relationships and good communication among nursing home caregivers enhances the perception of staff cohesion, which ultimately leads to a higher quality of care, new research has found.

Led by the University of Rochester's Helena Temkin-Greener, Ph.D., investigators reviewed data from more than 45,000 New York nursing home residents and then measured the care rendered in these facilities based on rates of pressure ulcers and incontinence. Then, they surveyed nursing home workers on their feelings about staff unity and staff cohesion.

After assigning numerical values to feelings of staff cohesion, they noticed that even less than a 0.25-point improvement in a nursing home's staff unity score was associated with a decrease in the prevalence of pressure ulcers and a 7.6% decrease in incontinence.

Temkin-Greener told McKnight's that for nurse managers, “Building good communication skills is probably the most critical action they can take. While focusing on improving such work environment attributes may not be entirely cost-free, it certainly remains a very cost-effective option and within reach for most managers.”

For example, Temkin-Greener said poor communication between caregivers during shift changes was particularly problematic. Important information, such as a sudden change in a resident's condition, can be overlooked in handoffs.
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