Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Nursing Home Hospice Impact on Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Staff (Research, Video 1:56)
Hospice care in nursing homes continues to increase as more people become aware that hospice services are available wherever they live. Back in the 90’s when I first started hospice volunteering, many people told me they thought hospice care was only at private homes or in free-standing hospice facilities. On the negative side, there were those who thought nursing homes would get kickbacks from hospice referrals. Speculation about nursing homes receiving additional staff hours at no cost, which could lead to decreases in nursing home staffing, was mentioned.
What has happened in terms of nursing assistant staffing with the introduction of hospice care in nursing homes? Researchers at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University studied this process for several years with these staffing results:
“The introduction of hospice services in a nursing home did not result in statistically significant changes in nursing assistant (CNA) staffing. Instead, increases in hospice volume resulted in small increases in CNA staffing.”
As a hospice volunteer working directly with patients, I had many opportunities to observe and communicate with CNA staff members who were often first responders in meeting resident needs. Many exhibited dedication and genuine care for residents in spite of their own expressed hardships on the job such as low pay, high staff turnover resulting in increased workloads, and lack of appreciation. The following video titled I am a Nursing Assistant shares their caregiving challenges and rewards:
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.