Introduction of a non-clinical support role for care staff in nursing homes | MEKTU | NB-IRDT | UNB

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Introduction of a non-clinical support role for care staff in nursing homes

Lead organization: Government of New Brunswick, Social Development and Loch Lamond Villa

Principle investigator(s): Laura McKillop and Cindy Donovan 

About the project:

The issue

This project aims to improve the quality of life and for nursing home residents and improve working environments for nursing home staff.

The importance

Nursing home staff are well aware of the balance of providing excellent care to residents while trying to maintain a functional care environment. While resident care is the top priority, non-clinical tasks must also take place in order to maintain operations. While these non-clinical tasks must be done, prior research has shown that care staff can spend up to 50% of their time on non-clinical activities. These can include making beds, restocking supplies, transporting residents and removing and replacing linen. These tasks are central to being able to provide quality care, but can impact the amount of time care staff spend with residents. In turn, this can be a source of frustration and potential burnout for staff, which can contribute to poorer quality of life for residents. By introducing a non-clinical support position in the nursing home environment, care staff can spend more one-on-one time with residents knowing these non-clinical caret tasks will be taken care of by another designated staff member.

What makes this project different

This project will pilot a new designation of “Care Assistants” within the nursing home that will provide non-clinical support to residents and care staff. This may include making beds, answering call bells, restocking supplies, replacing linen, and supporting the clinical team by taking on non-clinical tasks. By doing so, staff will be less burdened by task focused components of their job and will be able to focus on what matters most – caring for the residents. This means the care staff will have more time to create meaningful relationships with residents and provide responsive care.  The pilot will measure how this translates into higher satisfaction among care staff, as well as better quality of life for residents.

Anticipated impacts

At an individual level, we expect to see an increase in the amount of time care staff are spending with residents, resulting in higher staff satisfaction and improved quality of life for the resident. We also anticipate an impact to those that take on jobs as Care Assistants in this pilot, as they will have an opportunity to gain meaningful exposure to the nursing home environment. At the community level, we expect to see important conversations generated regarding nursing homes, and a greater level of trust from the public knowing that the nursing homes who take on this role will have a greater level of support. At the system level, the pilot enables us to explore a new designation of nursing home employees, and fundamentally change the way non-clinical care tasks are managed within nursing homes.


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