OIG finds homes using broad tactics to improve operations

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Offering activities that increase staffing levels and involving residents' families are tactics that have helped nursing homes create better environments for their residents, according to the findings of a new report.

A limited review of nursing homes by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services has found that nursing homes are employing numerous strategies aimed at improving operations, as well as quality of care and the quality of life for residents.

Among the staffing level activities identified are mentoring programs for nurses' aides. Such programs have resulted in better retention levels and led to improved quality and continuity of care, according to the OIG report, which was released last Friday.

The OIG also found that quality improvement projects and flexible work schedules, including two 12-hour work shifts versus three eight-hour shifts, can boost morale and retention rates and provide better continuity of care.

The OIG findings are in Emerging Practices Nursing Homes, and the report is available at <http://www.oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-01-04-00070.pdf>.