Influence of licensed staffing hours, contract nursing, and turnover on MDS-based quality measures in Texas nursing homes
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PURPOSE: Substantial research demonstrates that many nursing homes are not providing adequate quality of care for residents because of inadequate processes of care and insufficient numbers and training of nursing staff. Some residents experience poor-quality outcomes, such as pressure ulcers and unintended weight loss. To address these issues, the long-term care industry has focused on improving quality of care by improving staff education about care processes and reducing nurse turnover rate. The aim of this study was to compare the association between - licensed nurse hours of care and turnover rate to five quality measures—incidence of ADL decline, physical restraints, prevalence of pressure ulcers among residents with risk factors for skin breakdown, and prevalence of unintended weight loss. DESIGN: The study population included 618 freestanding Texas nursing facilities. A cross-sectional multiple regression analysis was conducted using 2007 data to examine the relationship between nurse staffing levels and turnover and resident outcomes with control variables for facility and resident characteristics. RESULTS: The high-risk pressure ulcer variable accounted for 10% of the variation in the regression model. LVN (hprd) was positively associated with an increase in high-risk pressure ulcers. The ADL decline variable accounted for 7.5% of the variation in the regression model, and RN hprd was positively associated with ADL decline. The prevalence of weight loss variable accounted for 3% of the variation in the regression model. RN turnover rate was approaching significance. The physical restraint variable accounted for 2% of the variation in the regression model. LVN contract hprd was significant and positively associated with an increase in physical restraint use although a minimal contribution to the model given the low percentage of LVN contract hprd. The prevalence of low-risk pressure ulcers was not significant. The control variable case mix index was positively associated with ADL decline, high-risk pressure ulcers, and weight loss. CONCLUSIONS: This research will contribute to understanding the relationship of licensed nursing staff to resident outcomes. Additionally, it will contribute to nursing education, research, and policy. While controlling for acuity using case mix index, some negative findings were still noted that requires further research.