Purpose: A comprehensive multilevel intervention was tested to build organizational capacity to create and sustain improvement in quality of care and subsequently improve resident outcomes in nursing homes in need of improvement. Intervention facilities (n=29) received a two-year multilevel intervention with monthly on-site consultation from expert nurses with graduate education in gerontological nursing. Attention control facilities (n=29) that also needed to improve resident outcomes received monthly information about aging and physical assessment of elders.
Design and Methods: Randomized clinical trial of nursing homes in need of improving resident outcomes of bladder and bowel incontinence, weight loss, pressure ulcers, and decline in activities of daily living (ADL). It was hypothesized that following the intervention, experimental facilities would have better resident outcomes, higher quality of care, higher staff retention, more organizational attributes of improved working conditions than control facilities, similar staffing and staff mix, and lower total and direct care costs.
Results: The intervention did improve quality of care (p=0.02); there were improvements in pressure ulcers (p=0.05), weight loss (p=0.05). Staff retention, organizational working conditions, staffing, and staff mix and most costs were not affected by the intervention. Leadership turnover was surprisingly excessive in both intervention and control groups.
Implications: Some facilities that are in need of improving quality of care and resident outcomes are able to build the organizational capacity to improve while not increasing staffing or costs of care. Improvement requires continuous supportive consultation and leadership willing to involve staff and work together to build the systematic improvements in care delivery needed.
Key words: randomized clinical trial, nursing homes, outcomes of care, cost analysis, quality improvement, staff retention, working conditions