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Better Outpatient Work Environments Have Better Patient Outcomes

 |  By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   September 23, 2014

Home health agencies that provide supportive work environments for nursing staff have the best patient outcomes, a new study finds.

It's not only nurses who work in inpatient settings that suffer from unsupportive work environments. A new study from University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing shows that the same is true for nurses working in home health agencies.


Olga Jarrín PhD, RN

Moreover, research shows, those unsupportive work environments can result in worse patient outcomes.

The study, which claims to be the largest of its kind, shows that home health agencies that provide supportive work environments have the best patient outcomes.

"Agencies with better work environments had lower hospitalization rates, and higher community discharge rates than agencies with poor environments," the study's lead author, Olga Jarrín, PhD, RN, of Penn Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, told me via email. "This effect was more pronounced in agencies where nurses reported higher levels of emotional exhaustion."

Stress and emotional exhaustion often plague home health nurses when they feel that something is preventing them from providing the best care. Sometimes factors outside their control, like patients' social and economic challenges or a lack of community resources, get in the way of patient care.

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Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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