Report Shows Efforts to Improve Frontline Supervision Improves Worker and Patient Conditions in Long-Term Care


Read the original press release here.

According to the National Fund for Workforce Solutions’ new report, Improving Supervision for Frontline Jobs: A Massachusetts Case Study of Skilled Nursing Facilities, efforts to improve frontline supervision can improve the quality of entry-level jobs in long-term care resulting in higher retention of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and better care for patients.   Working with the Massachusetts Senior Care Association and SkillWorks, the report examined findings from five skilled nursing facilities that implemented the PHI Coaching Approach to supervision.

Massachusetts, like many other states across the US, faces historically low unemployment rates and a severe direct care staffing crisis.  An aging population, a reputation for difficult working conditions and declining government funding for skilled nursing services, are threatening the industry’s ability to find and retain the staff needed to meet rising demand. Supervisory coaching is an important, but not singular element, in addressing this staffing crisis.

“Across the long-term care sector, and especially here in Massachusetts, staff vacancies remain a constant challenge.  Declining government funding has impacted our ability to provide a living wage to many of our valuable frontline staff who work tirelessly day in and day out.  Advocating for a direct care wage pass-through and adequate government funding continue to be our top priorities,” said Tara Gregorio, President of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association.  “Partnering with the National Fund and SkillWorks for this pilot program, allowed us to provide funding and expertise to improve staff retention through non-wage strategies.  We are pleased that the training was a success in helping to create more positive workplace environments, which in turn reduces turnover and increases job satisfaction.”

The yearlong case study concluded that when supervisors are trained to use interpersonal communication skills and conflict management methods, the workplace cultures in the skilled nursing facilities improve. Specifically, the study found that comprehensive training of supervisors can create a more supportive culture with fewer disciplinary actions and can improve staff members’ ability to communicate with coworkers and patients and solve complex problems. In turn, staff satiation and engagement rose. The return on investment was large enough that one facility expanded the training program to cover all of its supervisors.

“The long-term care industry has been facing a staffing crisis for years and the demand will only increase as Americans continue to live longer.  Focusing on job quality will help America be more competitive and adapt to changing economic and business realities,” said Kelly Aiken, Vice President for the National Fund of Workforce Solutions. “By working with the Massachusetts Senior Care Association and these employers, we are able to demonstrate how investing in frontline workers improves business and patient outcomes.”

Read the full report, Improving Supervision for Frontline Jobs: A Massachusetts Case Study of Skilled Nursing Facilities, at

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About National Fund for Workforce Solutions

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is a national network promoting economic opportunity and prosperous communities through investment and innovation.  Based in Washington D.C., the National Fund partners with philanthropy, employers, workers, public and private community organizations, and more than 30 regional collaboratives to invest in skills, improve systems, and generate good jobs. The National Fund supports civic and business leaders in promoting evidence-based practices and policies that build shared prosperity. Learn more about the National Fund and its local partners at

About Massachusetts Senior Care Association 

The Massachusetts Senior Care Association represents a diverse set of organizations that deliver a broad spectrum of services to meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities. Its members include more than 400 nursing and rehabilitation facilities, assisted living residences, residential care facilities and continuing care retirement communities. Forming a crucial link in the continuum of care, Mass Senior Care facilities provide housing, health care and support services to more than 120,000 people a year; employ more than 77,000 staff members; and contribute more than $4 billion annually to the Massachusetts economy.


Author: SkillWorks

SkillWorks is a nationally recognized workforce funder collaborative, launched by the Boston Foundation in 2003 to improve workforce development in Boston and across Massachusetts. SkillWorks brings together philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers to address the twin goals of: 1) Helping low-skill, low-income individuals attain family-supporting jobs; and 2) Helping employers find and retain skilled employees.

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