Nursing homes that employ the same caregivers continuously may have better quality of care, according to a study from West Virginia University.

The new review of data from a 2016 survey of almost 3,000 nursing homes showed that five-year retention of nurses was low (including nurse aides, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses), and that higher caregiver retention was linked to better overall care quality, reported researcher Nicholas G. Castle, Ph.D. 

Further analysis of the findings showed that different measures of retention had different associations with quality, Castle said. Longer retention of nurse aides and registered nurses specifically was linked to highest care quality, for example, and three- and five-year retention measures had the strongest link to quality indicators.

The results support the idea that caregiver retention as an important measurement for those looking to improve quality of care in nursing homes, Castle said. But practitioners and policymakers should note that caregiver retention metrics may be more nuanced than commonly thought, he cautioned. 

Full findings were published online in The Gerontologist.