UBC Faculty Research and Publications

A Mixed Methods Study to Implement the Synergy Tool and Evaluate Its Impact on Long-Term Care Residents Havaei, Farinaz; Kobekyaa, Francis; Ma, Andy; MacPhee, Maura; Zhang, Wei; Kaulius, Megan; Ahmadi, Bahar; Boamah, Sheila A.; Easterbrook, Adam; Salmon, Amy


Background: There are ongoing workforce challenges with the delivery of long-term care (LTC), such as staffing decisions based on arbitrary standards. The Synergy tool, a resident-centered approach to staffing, provides objective, real-time acuity and dependency scores (Synergy scores) for residents. The purpose of this study was to implement and evaluate the impact of the Synergy tool on LTC delivery. Methods: A longitudinal mixed methods study took place within two publicly funded LTC homes in British Columbia, Canada. Quantitative data included weekly Synergy scores for residents (24 weeks), monthly aggregated resident falls data (18 months) and a six-month economic evaluation. Qualitative data were gathered from family caregivers and thematically analyzed. Results: Quantitative findings from Synergy scores revealed considerable variability for resident acuity/dependency needs within and across units; and falls decreased during implementation. The six-month economic evaluation demonstrated some cost savings by comparing Synergy tool training and implementation costs with savings from resident fall rate reductions. Qualitative analyses yielded three positive impact themes (improved care delivery, better communication, and improved resident-family-staff relationships), and two negative structural themes (language barrier and staff shortages). Conclusions: The Synergy tool provides useful data for enhancing a ‘fit’ between resident needs and available staff.

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