Image of male nurse pushing senior woman in a wheelchair in nursing facility

Faced with everything from the oncoming Silver Tsunami, to shrinking government reimbursements, staffing is an ongoing concern for long-term care facilities. But there’s one way to address that concern, which doesn’t involve spending tons of dollars.

A new study, out of Massachusetts, found that training long-term care supervisors in interpersonal communication and conflict management helps to improve both job quality of entry-level workers, and employee retention. One facility in the pilot actually found return on its investment so great that it began to train all supervisors in such skills, according to a press release.

“The long-term care industry has been facing a staffing crisis for years and the demand will only increase as Americans continue to live longer.  Focusing on job quality will help America be more competitive and adapt to changing economic and business realities,” Kelly Aiken, VP for the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, which conducted the study in conjunction with the Massachusetts Senior Care Association and SkillWorks, said in a statement. “By working with the Massachusetts Senior Care Association and these employers, we are able to demonstrate how investing in frontline workers improves business and patient outcomes.”

The PHI Coaching Approach, which teaches a “relational approach to supervision,” was implemented in five Bay State SNFs as part of the yearlong trial. Overall, they found, supervisors improved listening, established better relationships with CNAs and other stakeholders, and better resolved issues without disciplinary actions, according to the study.

For more information, you can check out McKnight’s recent news item on the study.