Strong leadership necessary to provide more sophisticated care for aging population, study finds

September 13, 2011, University of Missouri-Columbia
As the aging population increases, the effective use of technology resources -- such as electronic medical records and telehealth -- is essential to enacting health care reform and ensuring patients receive quality care. Credit: MU

Strong leadership, communication and teamwork are essential to successful organizations, especially health care facilities. However, how those organizations achieve improvement is not clearly understood, says a University of Missouri researcher. Amy Vogelsmeier, assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing, found that leadership is critical to supporting open communication and relationship building to generate improvement, such as enhanced safety practices and new technology adoption, in health care organizations.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act include mandates and incentives to promote the use of new technology in health care. As the increases, the effective use of resources and care practices is essential to enacting and ensuring patients receive quality care.

"Although technology plays a role in improving resident safety, technology alone isn't the answer," Vogelsmeier said. "The reality is that implementation is much more complicated than people realize. It's not just a bring it in and turn it on kind of thing; it will take strong leadership within organizations to implement technological systems in ways that will enhance patient safety rather than hinder it."

Current challenges for and facilities include helping patients transition to nursing homes and long-term care, managing , such as diabetes and heart disease, and coordinating care from different sectors, including hospitals, community clinics and specialists.

"Not only are the numbers in increasing, but the complexities of residents' conditions also are increasing as well," Vogelsmeier said. "We need more sophisticated ways to take care of the aging population. Strong leadership is necessary for all organizations to move toward growth and improvement."

Vogelsmeier analyzed data from an intervention study of nursing homes that implemented electronic medication systems and focused quality improvement efforts to enhance medication safety practices. Vogelsmeier compared how nurse leaders from the highest- and lowest-performing nursing homes differed in their communication and teamwork strategies.

The nurse leader from the highest-performing nursing home encouraged team members to share their perspectives and ideas for solving problems. Leaders provided accurate and timely feedback, which motivated team members to work together and establish common goals. As input and feedback occurred, improvement in the nursing home occurred. The nurse leader from the lowest-performing home did not value the team's opinions, resulting in disengagement and lack of improvement in the nursing home.

Explore further: Prevalence of pressure ulcers among black high-risk nursing home residents related to site of care

Related Stories

Prevalence of pressure ulcers among black high-risk nursing home residents related to site of care

July 12, 2011
Among nursing home residents at high risk for pressure ulcers, black residents had higher prevalence rates than white residents from 2003 through 2008, with the disparity largely related to the higher rates among nursing ...

Multidisciplinary integrated care for seniors gives better quality care

June 27, 2011
Multidisciplinary integrated care of seniors in residential care facilities resulted in better quality of care, found a Dutch study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Recommended for you

Number of older people with four or more diseases will double by 2035, say researchers

January 23, 2018
A study published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with four or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third ...

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.