Aging and Long Term Care
Direct care workers--personal care attendants, nurse aides and home health aides--are the life blood of the long term care system. These workers provide basic health and personal care needs to millions of frail elderly persons as well as younger persons with chronic diseases and disabilities. High turnover and staggering vacancies among direct care workers have affected the long term care industry. Turnover rates have been reported to range from 40 percent to over 100 percent annually. Forty-two states report that nurse aide recruitment and retention are major issues. Read more
Do better jobs lead to better care? Penn State researchers certainly believe so. "People are energized and motivated when they are working in productive, satisfying roles. Energized employees are bound to provide better care," says Dr. Diane Brannon, Professor of Health Policy and Administration. Brannon, along with Peter Kemper, Teta Barry and Joseph Angelelli have been studying workers in home health, assisted living, and nursing home facilities as part of the Better Jobs, Better Care programs sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Read more
Mrs. Smith*, a resident in a Pennsylvania nursing home, frequently yells and demands to be taken home. When she does this she, like many nursing home residents who suffer from dementia, is exhibiting Aggressive Physical Behavior (APB). These behaviors are disruptive and potentially harmful to care workers, family members, and other residents. Luckily, researchers at Penn State are working with innovative techniques to intervene and prevent such outbursts. Read more
*Note: Name has been changed to preserve resident's anonymity.
Long term care in Pennsylvania and across the nation is in a state of flux. New providers are entering the market while other facilities are closing their doors. Changes in reimbursement have rippled through the industry. The need for services is growing due to an aging population. There is a severe shortage of direct care workers, such as nurse aides. What does all this mean for providers, consumers and policy makers? Read more
For many patients with chronic illnesses, access to nursing care can be costly and inconsistent, frequently requiring home care nurses to travel great distances for in-home visits. New telehealth devices are using telecommunications technology to ease the burden on both nurses and patients. Dr. Kathryn Dansky, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Administration, is exploring the implications that this technology has for health policy, nursing shortages, and patient empowerment. Read more