Workers want better support after mistakes, survey finds

Share this content:
Workers say they worry about admitting and reporting mistakes.
Workers say they worry about admitting and reporting mistakes.

Mistakes at nursing homes are more likely to trigger blame than a corrective response, many frontline workers asserted in a comprehensive survey. 

More than 16,100 employees participated in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's study. The inquiry was created so policymakers could learn more about the prevailing culture at facilities when it comes to safety-related issues. Respondents were asked 42 questions in a dozen areas. 

“Nonpunitive response to mistakes” was the area with the lowest average positive response rate, of 51%. This indicates widespread problems with workers being blamed when residents experience harm, staff members being treated unfairly when they make a mistake, and not feeling they can safely report mistakes. 

The area with the highest average positive response was “overall perceptions of resident safety.” Nearly 90% of respondents indicated that residents receive good care and are safe.

These same categories ranked at the top and bottom in the prior AHRQ survey report, in 2011.

Most respondents also said that they discuss ways to keep residents safe from harm and that supervisors pay attention to resident safety issues. Staffing levels are a problem area, with many respondents saying they have to hurry because of workloads.