The objective of this study was to determine whether nurse staffing levels and modifiable characteristics of the nursing practice environment are associated with important quality indicators represented by the percentage of residents with pressure ulcers and numbers of deficiency citations in nursing homes. A cross-sectional design linked nurse survey data, aggregated to the facility level, with Nursing Home Compare, a publicly available federal database containing nursing home–level measures of quality. The facility sample consisted of 63 Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes in New Jersey, and the nurse survey sample comprised 340 registered nurses providing direct resident care. Characteristics of the practice environment were measured using the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index, included in the nurse survey. The total number of deficiency citations, the percentage of residents with pressure ulcers, nurse staffing levels, and facility characteristics were extracted from the Nursing Home Compare database. Results indicated that a supportive practice environment was inversely associated with the percentage of residents with pressure ulcers and fully mediated the effect of profit status on this important outcome. The nursing practice environment and facility size explained 25% of the variance in quality deficiencies. There were no associations between staffing levels and quality indicators. Findings indicate that administrative initiatives to create environments that support nursing practice may hold promise for improving quality indicators in nursing homes.
nursing homes; nursing practice environment; quality
The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate nursing home quality measures (QMs) available in a national database called Nursing Home Compare. The aim was to determine whether differences in QM scores occurred with changing staffing-level mix.
All Missouri nursing home facilities were included for the analysis of the 14 QMs downloaded in February 2004.
Analyses of variance were used to examine differences in the dependent QM scores; the independent range of staffing levels for 3 disciplines, certified nurse assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), and registered nurse (RN), was analyzed on the basis of their number of hours per resident per day worked in the nursing home. Planned contrasts and post hoc Bonferroni adjustments were calculated to further evaluate significance levels. Finally, residents were used as a covariate to determine effects on significant analyses of variance.
Care is proportionate to the percentage of CNA/LPN/RN staffing-level mix, with 2 long-stay QMs (percentage of residents who lose bowel or bladder control and percentage of residents whose need for help with activities of daily living has increased) and 2 short-stay measures (percentage of residents who had moderate to severe pain and percentage of residents with pressure ulcers) revealed differences in mean quality scores when staffing levels changed.
nursing home; outcomes; quality measures; staffing
To assist American families that will one day need to find a nursing home for a loved one, NLM is developing a “Web 2.0” interface to important evaluative information about nursing homes in the US. Currently in prototype form, our “Nursing Home Screener” locates homes on a Google Map. It allows nursing home quality, indicated by map icons, to be surveyed in any of four major categories: staffing, fire safety deficiencies, healthcare deficiencies, and quality of care inferred from residents’ health. Within each category, options can be tailored to user preferences. Furthermore, home attributes can be used to selectively hide home markers of less interest. The goal is to offer the public a timely, easy to use site for the rapid location and comparison of nursing homes, thus identifying those worth further review or a personal visit.
GPs often perceive home-visit requests as a time-consuming aspect of general practice. The new general medical services contract provides for practices to be relieved of responsibility for home-visits, although there is no model for the transfer of care. One such model could be to employ nurse practitioners to manage such requests. Nurse practitioners can effectively substitute for GPs in managing same-day in-hours emergency care in the surgery, but their role in managing all such requests, including those requiring home visits, has not been assessed.
To explore the feasibility and clinical management outcomes of nurse practitioner management of same-day care requests, including those requiring home visits, to inform a proposed randomised controlled trial.
Design of study
Non-randomised comparative trial.
One large general practice (14 600 patients) in south London.
Nurse practitioner assessment and management of all same-day care requests for 2 days per week was compared with normal GP management on another 2 days, over a 6-month period. Clinical management outcome data were collected from patient records and from data-collection forms completed by a nurse practitioner and GPs. Patient and staff satisfaction was assessed by questionnaire.
The nurse practitioner was more likely than GPs to assess patients in person, less likely to give advice alone, and more likely to issue a prescription. There was no significant difference between the nurse practitioner and GPs regarding any other clinical management outcomes or patient satisfaction; however, the response rate of the patient satisfaction questionnaire in this pilot study was poor.
Nurse practitioner management of acute in-hours care requests, including home visits, appears feasible in practice and merits further assessment.
house calls; nurse practitioners; primary health care
Urinary tract infections (UTIs, including upper and lower symptomatic) are the most common infections in nursing homes and prevention may reduce patient suffering, antibiotic use and resistance. The spectre of agents used in preventing UTIs in nursing homes is scarcely documented and the aim of this study was to explore which agents are prescribed for this purpose.
We conducted a one-day, point-prevalence study in 44 Norwegian nursing homes during April-May 2006. Nursing home residents prescribed any agent for UTI prophylaxis were included. Information recorded was type of agent and dose, patient age and gender, together with nursing home characteristics. Appropriateness of prophylactic prescribing was evaluated with references to evidence in the literature and current national guidelines.
The study included 1473 residents. 18% (n = 269) of the residents had at least one agent recorded as prophylaxis of UTI, varying between 0-50% among the nursing homes. Methenamine was used by 48% of residents prescribed prophylaxis, vitamin C by 32%, and cranberry products by 10%. Estrogens were used by 30% but only one third was for vaginal administration. Trimethoprim and nitrofurantoin were used as prophylaxis by 5% and 4%, respectively.
The agents frequently prescribed to prevent UTIs in Norwegian nursing homes lack documented efficacy including methenamine and vitamin C. Recommended agents like trimethoprim, nitrofurantoin and vaginal estrogens are infrequently used. We conclude that prescribing of prophylactic agents for UTIs in nursing homes is not evidence-based.
To develop a broad understanding of nursing beliefs, knowledge and roles in feeding decisions for nursing home residents with advanced dementia.
Concern is growing about the common use of feeding tubes in nursing home residents with advanced dementia. Nurses can play an important role in providing information and guiding family members through difficult feeding decisions. Little is known about nurses' perspectives on feeding decisions.
In-depth semi-structured interviews of 11 licensed nurses who were experienced in caring for nursing home residents with dementia.
Analysis of the interview transcripts revealed three themes: insufficient empirical information, ambiguous role in feeding decisions and uncertainty about moral agency in decisions about the placement of feeding tubes.
Despite views that family members would benefit from guidance in decisions regarding the placement of feeding tubes, nurses were, nevertheless, reluctant to become involved in these difficult decisions.
Relevance to clinical practice
If nurses are to guide family members in decisions about the use of feeding tubes, they need more education about evidence-based practice as well as support in exercising their nursing responsibilities.
end-of-life decision-making; ethics; feeding tube; long-term care; qualitative study
The purpose of this research is twofold. The first purpose is to utilize a new methodology (Bayesian networks) for aggregating various quality indicators to measure the overall quality of care in nursing homes. The second is to provide new insight into the relationships that exist among various measures of quality and how such measures affect the overall quality of nursing home care as measured by the Observable Indicators of Nursing Home Care Quality Instrument. In contrast to many methods used for the same purpose, our method yields both qualitative and quantitative insight into nursing home care quality.
Design and Methods
We construct several Bayesian networks to study the influences among factors associated with the quality of nursing home care; we compare and measure their accuracy against other predictive models.
We find the best Bayesian network to perform better than other commonly used methods. We also identify key factors, including number of certified nurse assistant hours, prevalence of bedfast residents, and prevalence of daily physical restraints, that significantly affect the quality of nursing home care. Furthermore, the results of our analysis identify their probabilistic relationships.
The findings of this research indicate that nursing home care quality is most accurately represented through a mix of structural, process, and outcome measures of quality. We also observe that the factors affecting the quality of nursing home care collectively determine the overall quality. Hence, focusing on only key factors without addressing other related factors may not substantially improve the quality of nursing home care.
Bayesian networks; Nurse staffing; Nursing home quality; Occupancy rate; Quality indicators
Heart failure is likely to be particularly prevalent in the nursing home population, but reliable data about the prevalence of heart failure in nursing homes are lacking. Therefore the aims of this study are to investigate (a) the prevalence and management of heart failure in nursing home residents and (b) the relation between heart failure and care dependency as well as heart failure and quality of life in nursing home residents.
Nursing home residents in the southern part of the Netherlands, aged over 65 years and receiving long-term somatic or psychogeriatric care will be included in the study. A panel of two cardiologists and a geriatrician will diagnose heart failure based on data collected from actual clinical examinations (including history, physical examination, ECG, cardiac markers and echocardiography), patient records and questionnaires. Care dependency will be measured using the Care Dependency Scale. To measure the quality of life of the participating residents, the Qualidem will be used for psychogeriatric residents and the SF-12 and VAS for somatic residents.
The study will provide an insight into the actual prevalence and management of heart failure in nursing home residents as well as their quality of life and care dependency.
Dutch trial register NTR2663
Registered nurses make measurable contributions to the health and wellness of persons living in nursing homes. However, most nursing homes do not employ adequate numbers of professional nurses with specialized training in the nursing care of older adults to positively impact resident outcomes. As a result, many people never receive excellent geriatric nursing while living in a long-term care facility. Nurses have introduced various professional practice models into health care institutions as tools for leading nursing practice, improving client outcomes, and achieving organizational goals. Problematically, few professional practice models have been implemented in nursing homes. This article introduces an evidence-based framework for professional nursing practice in long-term care. The Everyday Excellence framework is based upon eight guiding principles: Valuing, Envisioning, Peopling, Securing, Learning, Empowering, Leading, and Advancing Excellence. Future research will evaluate the usefulness of this framework for professional nursing practice.
Nursing homes are a common site of death, but older residents receive variable
quality of end-of-life care. We used a mixed methods design to identify external
influences on the quality of end-of-life care in nursing homes. Two qualitative
case studies were conducted and a postal survey of 180 nursing homes surrounding
the case study sites. In the case studies, qualitative interviews were held with
seven members of nursing home staff and 10 external staff. Problems in accessing
support for end-of-life care reported in the survey included variable support by
general practitioners (GPs), reluctance among GPs to prescribe appropriate
medication, lack of support from other agencies, lack of out of hours support,
cost of syringe drivers and lack of access to training. Most care homes were
implementing a care pathway. Those that were not rated their end-of-life care as
in need of improvement or as average. The case studies suggest that critical
factors in improving end-of-life care in nursing homes include developing
clinical leadership, developing relationships with GPs, the support of
‘key’ external advocates and leverage of additional
resources by adoption of care pathway tools.
Case studies; end-of-life care; mixed methods; nursing homes; older people; survey
In 2001, the New Zealand government introduced its Primary Health Care Strategy (PHCS), aimed at strengthening the role of primary health care, in order to improve health and to reduce inequalities in health. As part of the Strategy, new funding was provided to reduce the fees that patients pay when they use primary health care services in New Zealand, to improve access to services and to increase service use. In this article, we estimate the impact of the new funding on general practitioner and practice nurse visit fees paid by patients and on consultation rates. The analyses involved before-and-after monitoring of fees and consultation rates in a random sample of 99 general practices and covered the period from June 2001 (pre-Strategy) to mid-2005.
Fees fell particularly in Access (higher need, higher per capita funded) practices over time for doctor and nurse visits. Fees increased over time for many in Interim (lower need, lower per capita funded) practices, but they fell for patients aged 65 years and over as new funding was provided for this age group. There were increases in consultation rates across almost all age, funding model (Access or Interim), socio-demographic and ethnic groups. Increases were particularly high in Access practices.
The Strategy has resulted in lower fees for primary health care for many New Zealanders, and consultation rates have also increased over the past few years. However, fees have not fallen by as much as expected in government policy given the amount of extra public money spent since there are limited requirements for practices to reduce patients' fees in line with increases in public funding for primary care.
The traditional means of communication between nurses and physicians is through paging. This method is disruptive to the workflow of both professions and is too non-specific to be used for all types of messages.
We undertook a quality improvement project to streamline communication between nurses and trainees for urgent and non-urgent matters. We assessed user uptake and satisfaction with the new method.
A General Internal Medicine teaching unit in a tertiary care academic centre.
Through collaborative techniques, we developed a novel communication method that sends non-urgent messages to a Web-based task list and urgent messages to an alphanumeric pager. We implemented this new technology using a collaborative process between nurses and physicians to address all concerns.
Post-implementation surveillance indicated a high degree of uptake of the new practice. User surveys and focus groups showed a high level of satisfaction and a perceived decrease in interruptions to the workflow of both nurses and physicians with the new system. Usage data indicated that the new system may increase overall non-urgent communication.
A Web-based system to triage urgent and non-urgent messages between nurses and physicians was developed collaboratively and implemented successfully to improve workflow for both groups.
The emigration of skilled nurses from the Philippines is an ongoing phenomenon that has impacted the quality and quantity of the nursing workforce, while strengthening the domestic economy through remittances. This study examines how the development of brain drain-responsive policies is driven by the effects of nurse migration and how such efforts aim to achieve mind-shifts among nurses, governing and regulatory bodies, and public and private institutions in the Philippines and worldwide.
Interviews and focus group discussions were conducted to elicit exploratory perspectives on the policy response to nurse brain drain. Interviews with key informants from the nursing, labour and immigration sectors explored key themes behind the development of policies and programmes that respond to nurse migration. Focus group discussions were held with practising nurses to understand policy recipients’ perspectives on nurse migration and policy.
Using the qualitative data, a thematic framework was created to conceptualize participants’ perceptions of how nurse migration has driven the policy development process. The framework demonstrates that policymakers have recognised the complexity of the brain drain phenomenon and are crafting dynamic policies and programmes that work to shift domestic and global mindsets on nurse training, employment and recruitment.
Development of responsive policy to Filipino nurse brain drain offers a glimpse into a domestic response to an increasingly prominent global issue. As a major source of professionals migrating abroad for employment, the Philippines has formalised efforts to manage nurse migration. Accordingly, the Philippine paradigm, summarised by the thematic framework presented in this paper, may act as an example for other countries that are experiencing similar shifts in healthcare worker employment due to migration.
Nurse migration; Brain drain; Brain circulation; Human resources for health; Filipino nurses; Philippines
To identify barriers to and facilitators of the diffusion of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) and clinical protocols in nursing homes (NHs).
Four randomly selected community nursing homes.
NH staff, including physicians, nurse practitioners, administrative staff, nurses, and certified nursing assistants (CNAs).
Interviews (n = 35) probed the use of CPGs and clinical protocols. Qualitative analysis using Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation stages-of-change model was conducted to produce a conceptual and thematic description.
None of the NHs systematically adopted CPGs, and only three of 35 providers were familiar with CPGs. Confusion with other documents and regulations was common. The most frequently cited barriers were provider concerns that CPGs were ‘‘checklists’’ to replace clinical judgment, perceived conflict with resident and family goals, limited facility resources, lack of communication between providers and across shifts, facility policies that overwhelm or conflict with CPGs, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations interpreted to limit CNA access to clinical information. Facilitators included incorporating CPG recommendations into training materials, standing orders, customizable data collection forms, and regulatory reporting activities.
Clinicians and researchers wishing to increase CPG use in NHs should consider these barriers and facilitators in their quality improvement and intervention development processes.
clinical practice guidelines; nursing facilities; qualitative research
The influence staffing levels, turnover, worker stability, and agency staff had on quality of care in nursing homes was examined.
Data Sources/Study Setting
Staffing characteristics came from a survey of nursing homes (N=1,071) conducted in 2003. The staffing characteristics were collected for Nurse Aides, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Registered Nurses. Fourteen quality indicators came from the Nursing Home Compare website report card and nursing home organizational characteristics came from the Online Survey, Certification, and Recording system.
One index of quality (the outcome) was created by combining the 14 quality indicators using exploratory factor analysis. We used regression analyses to assess the effect of the four staffing characteristics for each of the three types of nursing staff on this quality index in addition to individual analyses for each of the 14 quality indicators. The effect of organizational characteristics as well as the markets in which they operated on outcomes was examined. We examined a number of different model specifications.
Quality of care was influenced, to some degree, by all of these staffing characteristics. However, the estimated interaction effects indicated that achieving higher quality was dependent on having more than one favorable staffing characteristic—the effect of quality was larger than the sum of the independent effects of each favorable staffing characteristic.
Our results indicate that staff characteristics such as turnover, staffing levels, worker stability, and agency staff should be addressed simultaneously to improve the quality of nursing homes.
Nursing homes; quality; staffing
Nursing home performance measurement systems are practically ubiquitous. The vast majority of these systems aspire to rank order all nursing homes based on quantitative measures of quality. However, the ability of such systems to identify homes differing in quality is hampered by the multidimensional nature of nursing homes and their residents. As a result, the authors doubt the ability of many nursing home performance systems to truly help consumers differentiate among homes providing different levels of quality. We also argue that, for consumers, performance measurement models are better at identifying problem facilities than potentially good homes.
In response to these concerns we present a proposal for a less ambitious approach to nursing home performance measurement than previously used. We believe consumers can make better informed choice using a simpler system designed to pinpoint poor-quality nursing homes, rather than one designed to rank hundreds of facilities based on differences in quality-of-care indicators that are of questionable importance. The suggested performance model is based on five principles used in the development of the Consumers Union 2006 Nursing Home Quality Monitor.
We can best serve policy-makers and consumers by eschewing nursing home reporting systems that present information about all the facilities in a city, a state, or the nation on a website or in a report. We argue for greater modesty in our efforts and a focus on identifying only the potentially poorest or best homes. In the end, however, it is important to remember that information from any performance measurement website or report is no substitute for multiple visits to a home at different times of the day to personally assess quality.
An increasing number of older people reach the end of life in care homes. The aim of this study is to explore the perceived benefits of, and barriers to, implementation of the Gold Standards Framework for Care Homes (GSFCH), a quality improvement programme in palliative care.
Nine care homes involved in the GSFCH took part. We conducted semi-structured interviews with nine care home managers, eight nurses, nine care assistants, eleven residents and seven of their family members. We used the Framework approach to qualitative analysis. The analysis was deductive based on the key tasks of the GSFCH, the 7Cs: communication, coordination, control of symptoms, continuity, continued learning, carer support, and care of the dying. This enabled us to consider benefits of, and barriers to, individual components of the programme, as well as of the programme as a whole.
Perceived benefits of the GSFCH included: improved symptom control and team communication; finding helpful external support and expertise; increasing staff confidence; fostering residents' choice; and boosting the reputation of the home. Perceived barriers included: increased paperwork; lack of knowledge and understanding of end of life care; costs; and gaining the cooperation of GPs. Many of the tools and tasks in the GSFCH focus on improving communication. Participants described effective communication within the homes, and with external providers such as general practitioners and specialists in palliative care. However, many had experienced problems with general practitioners. Although staff described the benefits of supportive care registers, coding predicted stage of illness and advance care planning, which included improved communication, some felt the need for more experience of using these, and there were concerns about discussing death.
Most of the barriers described by participants are relevant to other interventions to improve end of life care in care homes. There is a need to investigate the impact of quality improvement programmes in care homes, such as the GSFCH, on a wider range of outcomes for residents and their families, and to monitor the sustainability of any resulting improvements. It is also important to explore the impact of the different components of these complex interventions.
Careful hand hygiene (HH) is the single most important factor in preventing the transmission of infections to patients, but compliance is difficult to achieve and maintain. A lack of understanding of the processes involved in changing staff behaviour may contribute to the failure to achieve success. The purpose of this study was to identify nurses’ and administrators’ perceived barriers and facilitators to current HH practices and the implementation of a new electronic monitoring technology for HH.
Ten key informant interviews (three administrators and seven nurses) were conducted to explore barriers and facilitators related to HH and the impact of the new technology on outcomes. The semi structured interviews were based on the Theoretical Domains Framework by Michie et al. and conducted prior to intervention implementation. Data were explored using an inductive qualitative analysis approach. Data between administrators and nurses were compared.
In 9 of the 12 domains, nurses and administrators differed in their responses. Administrators believed that nurses have insufficient knowledge and skills to perform HH, whereas the nurses were confident they had the required knowledge and skills. Nurses focused on immediate consequences, whereas administrators highlighted long-term outcomes of the system. Nurses concentrated foremost on their personal safety and their families’ safety as a source of motivation to perform HH, whereas administrators identified professional commitment, incentives, and goal setting. Administrators stated that the staff do not have the decision processes in place to judge whether HH is necessary or not. They also highlighted the positive aspects of teams as a social influence, whereas nurses were not interested in group conformity or being compared to others. Nurses described the importance of individual feedback and self-monitoring in order to increase their performance, whereas administrators reported different views.
This study highlights the benefits of using a structured approach based on psychological theory to inform an implementation plan for a behavior change intervention. This work is an essential step towards systematically identifying factors affecting nurses’ behaviour associated with HH.
Hand hygiene; Knowledge translation; Compliance; Behaviour change; Electronic monitoring
This manuscript describes a method for adjustment of nursing home quality indicators (QIs) defined using the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) nursing home resident assessment system, the Minimum Data Set (MDS). QIs are intended to characterize quality of care delivered in a facility. Threats to the validity of the measurement of presumed quality of care include baseline resident health and functional status, pattern of comorbidities, and facility case mix. The goal of obtaining a valid facility-level estimate of true quality of care should include adjustment for resident- and facility-level sources of variability.
We present a practical and efficient method to achieve risk adjustment using restriction and indirect and direct standardization. We present information on validity by comparing QIs estimated with the new algorithm to one currently used by CMS.
More than half of the new QIs achieved a "Moderate" validation level.
Given the comprehensive approach and the positive findings to date, research using the new quality indicators is warranted to provide further evidence of their validity and utility and to encourage their use in quality improvement activities.
Unis is a nurse expert system prototype specifically designed to assist nurses caring for elderly, incontinent patients residing in nursing homes. Two studies measuring the performance level of UNIS were implemented. In the first study, results of sessions with UNIS on case studies of elderly, incontinent patients were compared to sessions with nurse experts. The relevance of questions, value of recommendations and overall performance were rated by an evaluation panel. In the second study, UNIS was implemented on two nursing units in a nursing home. The number of wet occurrences of patients residing on units where UNIS was consulted by nurses was compared to the number of wet occurrences of patients residing on units where UNIS was not consulted by nurses. The knowledge of urinary incontinence of nurses who consulted UNIS and those who did not consult UNIS were also compared. The results indicate that when judged by an evaluation panel, the relevance of the questions and value of the recommendations generated by UNIS were not rated significantly different than ratings assigned to nurse experts consulting on the same case studies. There was a significant difference between assigned ratings for overall performance; F.01 (4,16) = 10.4. UNIS scored the highest on four out of five case studies. In the second study, the number of wet occurrences of patients residing on units where nurses consulted UNIS decreased significantly; F.01 (2,9) = 34.67. The knowledge of urinary incontinence also improved significantly when nurses' consulted UNIS; F.001 (2,157) = 19.46. The methods and results of these two studies are presented.
Although older people are increasingly cared for in nursing homes towards the end of life, there is a dearth of research exploring the views of residents. There are however, a number of challenges and methodological issues involved in doing this. The aim of this paper is to discuss some of these, along with residents' views on taking part in a study of the perceptions of dignity of older people in care homes and make recommendations for future research in these settings.
Qualitative interviews were used to obtain the views on maintaining dignity of 18 people aged 75 years and over, living in two private nursing homes in South East London. Detailed field notes on experiences of recruiting and interviewing participants were kept.
Challenges included taking informed consent (completing reply slips and having a 'reasonable' understanding of their participation); finding opportunities to conduct interviews; involvement of care home staff and residents' families and trying to maintain privacy during the interviews. Most residents were positive about their participation in the study, however, five had concerns either before or during their interviews. Although 15 residents seemed to feel free to air their views, three seemed reluctant to express their opinions on their care in the home.
Although we experienced many challenges to conducting this study, they were not insurmountable, and once overcome, allowed this often unheard vulnerable group to express their views, with potential long-term benefits for future delivery of care.
A growing number of new technologies are becoming available within nursing care that can improve the quality of care, reduce costs, or enhance working conditions. However, such effects can only be achieved if technologies are used as intended. The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of determinants influencing the success of the introduction of new technologies as perceived by nursing staff.
The study population is a nationally representative research sample of nursing staff (further referred to as the Nursing Staff Panel), of whom 685 (67%) completed a survey questionnaire about their experiences with recently introduced technologies. Participants were working in Dutch hospitals, psychiatric organizations, care organizations for mentally disabled people, home care organizations, nursing homes or homes for the elderly.
Half of the respondents were confronted with the introduction of a new technology in the last three years. Only half of these rated the introduction of the technology as positive.
The factors most frequently mentioned as impeding actual use were related to the (kind of) technology itself, such as malfunctioning, ease of use, relevance for patients, and risks to patients. Furthermore nursing staff stress the importance of an adequate innovation strategy.
A prerequisite for the successful introduction of new technologies is to analyse determinants that may impede or enhance the introduction among potential users. For technological innovations special attention has to be paid to the (perceived) characteristics of the technology itself.
BACKGROUND: Residential and nursing homes make major demands on NHS services. AIM: To investigate patterns of access to medical services for residents in homes for older people. DESIGN OF STUDY: Telephone survey. SETTING: All nursing and dual registered homes and one in four residential homes located in a stratified random sample of 72 English primary care group/trust (PCG/T) areas. METHOD: A structured questionnaire investigating home characteristics, numbers of general practitioners (GPs) or practices per home, homes' policies for registering new residents with GPs, existence of payments to GPs, GP services provided to homes, and access to specialist medical care. RESULTS: There were wide variations in the numbers of GPs providing services to individual homes; this was not entirely dependent on home size. Eight percent of homes paid local GPs for their services to residents; these were more likely to be nursing homes (33%) than residential homes (odds ratio [OR] = 10.82, [95% CI = 4.48 to 26.13], P<0.001) and larger homes (OR for a ten-bed increase = 1.51 [95% CI = 1.28 to 1.79], P<0.001). Larger homes were more likely to encourage residents to register with a 'home' GP (OR for a ten-bed increase = 1.16 [95% CI = 1.04 to 1.31], P = 0.009). Homes paying local GPs were more likely to receive one or more additional services, over and above GPs' core contractual obligations. Few homes had direct access to specialist clinicians. CONCLUSION: Extensive variations in homes' policies and local GP services raise serious questions about patient choice, levels of GP services and, above all, about equity between residents within homes, between homes and between those in homes and in the community.
BACKGROUND: Caring for older people in residential and nursing homes makes major demands on general practitioners (GPs). AIM: To investigate the perceptions and experiences of home managers and GPs of the provision of general medical services for older residents. DESIGN OF STUDY: In-depth qualitative study. SETTING: Forty-two nursing and residential homes in five locations in England, interviewing home managers and eight of their residents' GPs. METHOD: Semi-structured face-to-face and telephone interviews. RESULTS: Most homes endorse principles of continuity of care and patient choice. Although many homes therefore deal with a large number of GPs, with the inherent difficulties of coordinating care and duplication of GP effort, limitations in residents' choice of GP result in the majority of residents in many homes being registered with only one or two practices. Contracts between homes and GPs may provide opportunities for improving medical care but do not guarantee additional services and have implications for patient choice and residents' fees. Visits on request form the bulk of GPs' workload in homes but can be hard to obtain for residents and may not be appropriate. Regular weekly surgeries are preferred by many homes but may have additional workload implications for GPs. CONCLUSION: The assumption that patient choice and continuity in medical care are paramount for older people in nursing and residential homes is questioned. While recognition of the additional workload for GPs working in these settings is necessary, this should be accompanied by additional NHS remuneration. Further research is urgently required to identify which models of GP provision would most benefit both residents and GPs.
The traditional method of evaluating nursing homes, which relies on State and Federal regulations, does not ensure quality care for nursing home residents. This fact led the Wisconsin State Department of Health and Social Services to fund a project for the development of a system that would permit rapid and reliable assessment of the quality of care given by nursing homes, permit the identification of specific problem areas, and suggest whether more in-depth investigation was needed. A corner-stone in that system was to be a screening instrument that would quickly determine where the care delivery system in a nursing home was breaking down so that resources could be focused on these problem areas.
Eleven quality of care criteria to be used in the screening instrument were drawn up by a panel of experts. The instrument itself was then tested in nine Wisconsin nursing homes. Five teams of people with nursing home expertise (two persons per team) used the screening instrument to evaluate each of the homes. Another team, visiting the same homes, used a second screening instrument based on State and Federal regulations to evaluate the homes. Finally, without relying on any survey instrument, all of the teams did a general assessment of the homes. The purpose of this general assessment was to ascertain if a “common wisdom” exists among experts in the field. The results of the teams' evaluations using both instruments were compared with each other, as well as with the results of the general assessments and the results of the most recent standard survey. This analysis showed that there was a significant amount of inter-team reliability among the teams using the new screening model and, also, that the new screening model correlated well with the general assessments.
The model is being tested further in a 2-year study of 170 nursing homes in urban and rural parts of Wisconsin.