When staff feel supported, quality improves, reseachers say.

Efforts to improve frontline supervision can enhance the quality of entry-level jobs in long-term care and lead to higher retention of certified nursing assistants and better patient care, according to a recent case study.

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions launched a yearlong pilot study of five nursing homes in conjunction with the Massachusetts Senior Care Association and SkillWorks, a workforce development collaborative.

Teams trained supervisors in interpersonal communication and conflict management methods, and researchers reported an improvement in workplace culture and reduced disciplinary actions.

“When staff feel supported, quality of care increases,” said Tara Gregorio, the association’s president. “It speaks to the need to invest in myriad strategies that improve jobs for our dedicated frontline staff.”

Massachusetts is one of several states facing historically low unemployment and direct care staffing shortages. Supervisory coaching is one way facilities can attract and retain entry-level employees, the report explained.

“The long-term care industry has been facing a staffing crisis for years and the demand will only increase,” said Kelly Aiken, vice president for the National Fund of Workforce Solutions. “Focusing on job quality will help America be more competitive and adapt to changing economic and business realities.”