The Impact of Worker Health on Long Term Care: Implications for Nursing Managers


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Abstract

Long-term care (LTC) facilities face many challenges, including retention of qualified and caring staff and maintaining high-quality care. In 2008, the Institute of Medicine (IOM)1 reported widespread consensus that there are insufficient numbers of competent licensed and direct care staff to manage, supervise, and deliver high-quality care to the elderly population. Although examples of excellence in nursing home care exist, average quality of care has remained persistently low,2 and little progress has been made to improve safety in LTC.3 The Nursing Home Reform Act (which was included in the 1987 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) mandates minimum staffing levels in Medicare and Medicaid certified LTC facilities. Although research has documented the importance of adequate staffing for quality of care, little attention has been placed on the productivity of staff and how this may impact care. The purpose of this article is to discuss the issue of worker presenteeism (reduced productivity due to health problems) and how this may be affecting quality of resident care. Strategies for nurse managers to recognize and address presenteeism are also discussed.

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