Background: Clinical experience suggests that the work characteristics of staff in residential care may influence the well-being of residents with dementia. However, few studies have explored those anecdotal experiences. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between work characteristics of nursing staff and prevalence of behavioral symptoms among people with dementia in residential care settings.
Methods: The self-report job strain assessment scale was used to measure staff perceptions of their working environment, and the Multi Dimensional Dementia Assessment Scale to measure the occurrence of behavioral symptoms among residents in 40 residential care units for people with dementia.
Results: The findings show that in settings where staff reported high job strain, the prevalence of behavioral symptoms was significantly higher compared to settings where staff reported low job strain. Furthermore, settings characterized by staff having a more positive caring climate had significantly less prevalence of escape, restless and wandering behaviors compared to settings having a less positive caring climate. There was no statistically significant association between staff members' self-reported knowledge in caring for people with dementia and prevalence of behavioral symptoms.
Conclusions: This study provides evidence for the oft-cited clinical experience that the well-being of nursing staff is associated with the well-being of people with dementia in residential care settings.