Quality geriatric care as perceived by nurses in long-term and acute care settings

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Abstract

Aims and objectives.

This study focused on differences in nurses’ satisfaction with the quality of care of older people and with organisational characteristics and work environment in acute care and long-term care settings.

Background.

Numerous studies have explored links between nurses’ satisfaction with care and work environments on the one hand and a variety of physical, behavioural and psychological reactions of nurses on the other. One key to keeping nurses in the workplace is a better understanding of nurses’ satisfaction with the quality of care they provide.

Design.

Descriptive design.

Method.

The self-selected sample included 298 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses who provide care to minority, underserved and disadvantaged older populations in 89 long-term care and <100 bed hospitals in 38 rural counties and eight metropolitan areas in a Southern state. All completed the Agency Geriatric Nursing Care survey, which consisted of a 13-item scale measuring nurses’ satisfaction with the quality of geriatric care in their practice settings and an 11-item scale examining obstacles to providing quality geriatric care. Demographic variables were compared with chi-square. Independent t-tests were used to examine differences between nurses in long-term care and acute care settings.

Results.

Significant differences were found in level of satisfaction and perceived obstacles to providing quality care to older adults between participants from acute and long-term care. Participants in long-term care had greater satisfaction with the quality of geriatric care than those in acute facilities.

Conclusions.

Nurses in long-term care were more satisfied that care was evidence-based; specialised to individual needs of older adults; promoted autonomy and independence of elders; and was continuous across settings. Participants in acute facilities perceived more obstacles to providing quality geriatric care than nurses in long-term care facilities.

Relevance to clinical practice.

Modification of hospital geriatric practice environments and leadership commitment to evidence-based practice guidelines that promote autonomy and independence of patients and staff could improve acute care nurses’ perceptions of quality of geriatric care.

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