Among needed improvements an earlier UNC demonstration project known as "Win a Step Up" identified were better pay, increased personal and professional recognition and status, and linking raises to continued training and experience, he said.
"Many of these workers, who are central to patient and nursing home resident care, are making between $8.50 and $9.50 an hour," Konrad said. "After 10 years, most of them are making very little more than when they started so that there isn't career progress, and almost no incentives to encourage them to stay."
Establishing career ladders and providing in-service training -- and establishing ways of making both a key part of nursing home operations -- should ease staffing problems or at least keep them from getting much worse over time, he said.
Among agencies and groups the UNC researchers are collaborating with are the Office of Long-Term Care in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the N.C. Institute on Aging, the N.C. Health Care Facilities Association and the Association for Home and Hospice Care of North Carolina. Also involved are nursing homes across the state, as well as the UNC and Duke University schools of nursing.
Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill