A recent nursing home study reaffirms that better staff interaction patterns lead to better resident care and staff satisfaction. The findings are a result of a collaboration among academic institutions including The University of Texas at Austin, Duke University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and are published on BMC Health Services Research. After reviewing four nursing homes (organizational charts, survey reports and staff member interviews), researchers identified a “positive pattern of interaction” and a “common pattern of interaction.”

In the common pattern, staff members:

• Avoided collaboration
• Blamed others
• Ignored others
• Scolded others
• Said “It’s not my job”
• “Passed the buck”

In the positive pattern, staff members:

• Made suggestions
• Brainstormed
• Gave praise
• Gave information
• Were enthusiastic
• Listened to multiple perspectives

According to the study, “interactions described in the Common Pattern not only limited interconnections and information exchange among staff, they also created formidable barriers to problem solving.” By contrast, “positive interactions and communication strategies fostered connections between staff members, allowing for new information exchange and diversity of cognitive schema.” Strategies for fostering these positive interactions focused on making meaningful connections between staff members and promoting the exchange of information.

The results of the study are unsurprising. A team approach to patient care is essential to maximize patient outcomes – especially when dealing with medically complex patients. This is why RehabCare trains and requires our therapists to work together across disciplines and with a broad medical staff to determine the best plans of care. From mentorship programs to compliance and denials management support, delivering care is a team effort.

Despite some of the teamwork deficits observed in the study, the authors were confident that those shortcomings could be improved if management capitalizes on their “pockets of excellence” by creating positive interactions.

To read the full study and read real scenarios in which the patterns of interactions were observed, click here.