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Gerontology Institute Awarded 3-year Grant to study: Satisfaction and Retention of Direct-Care Staff in Assisted Living May 2004-July 2007

The Gerontology Institute has been awarded a 3-year grant to learn how assisted living facilities (ALFs) can create an environment that maximizes satisfaction and retention of direct care staff.

Principal Investigator, Mary Ball, will direct the project. Molly Perkins will serve as co-investigator and project manager, with Frank Whittington, Institute Director, and Kirk Elifson and Robert Adelman of the Sociology Department also serving as co-investigators.

Results of this study will increase our understanding of the motivations, behaviors, incentives, and barriers to professionalization of paid care givers of older, frail persons residing in assisted living facilities. This understanding will help increase satisfaction and reduce direct-care staff shortages and turnover, thus enhancing quality of care and life of residents.

Thirty-six ALFs in Georgia will be selected to represent variation in 3 categories of facility size (16-25; 26-50; 51+ residents) and 3 areas of the state. Within these facilities, 308 direct-care staff will be selected randomly for face-to-face interviews. An additional 40 staff will be purposively selected for in-depth interviews.

These interviews will focus on staff members' experiences and attitudes toward caregiving and include a job satisfaction scale. One administrator from each home also will be interviewed to determine the facility's organizational structure and policies and procedures and the administrator's experiences and attitudes related to staffing. In addition, facility documents containing policies and procedures related to staffing will be reviewed.