Title

The Psychosocial Quality of Nursing Home Work

Publication Date

1992

Journal

Journal of Aging and Health

Volume

4

Issue

3

First Page

369

Last Page

389

Abstract

Trained observers used components of the functional job analysis technique to categorize 3,371 tasks performed by 214 nursing assistants in four nursing homes on five occasions over 12 months. The extent to which each task was oriented toward residents versus data or things was coded along with the "level of complexity" of each of these orientations. A psychosocial index was created by multiplying orientation by complexity. Three questions structured the analyses: (a) To what extent do nursing assistants' tasks involve interacting with residents, as opposed to focusing on data or manipulating things? (b) How complex are these tasks? (c) What are the implications of the task analysis data for assessing the quality of psychosocial care? Findings reveal that even among the direct care tasks (69% of total), the orientation was not predominantly toward the resident. Functional complexity of the tasks observed was consistently low. Those task types with the greatest psychosocial quality were those performed least frequently and vice versa. Implications of these results for restructuring nursing assistants' work are discussed.

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