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2022 Advancing Research on Care and Outcome Measurements (ARCOM)

Developing a Measure of Nursing Assistant Coping and Resilience

Can culturally-sensitive methods for relieving stress help improve the well-being of nursing assistants from diverse backgrounds?

Philip Sloane, M.D, MPH
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC - United States


According to the 2021 Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures report, nearly half (48%) of people living in nursing homes have Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Nursing assistants make up the majority of nursing home staff who work with cognitively impaired residents, and they help with bathing, dressing, housekeeping, food preparation and other activities. 

Turnover rates are high among these workers, who are mostly women and come from increasingly diverse ethnic, racial and geographic backgrounds. While studies have shown that staff training programs can improve job satisfaction for nursing assistants, little attention has been paid to strategies for reducing these workers’ stress. Moreover, the stress-reducing tools that do exist were developed and focused on implementation of highly-educated white individuals. To better address the impact of stress on nursing assistants, relief tools (such as coping and resilience mechanisms) will need to be more sensitive to the needs and psychological make-up of people from diverse backgrounds.

Research Plan

Dr. Philip D. Sloane and colleagues will conduct a study to develop novel methods for moderating nursing assistant stress. Using interviews and focus groups with 60 diverse nursing assistants, they will assess the strengths and weaknesses of established stress-relieving methods in this population group. They will then devise a novel set of methods that more accurately addresses their participants’ needs. Dr. Sloane’s team will then test how well these candidate methods reduce stress levels in a larger group of 300 diverse nursing assistants.  


Results from Dr. Sloane’s work will shed new light on how stress impacts front-line workers from a variety of backgrounds. They could also yield new, more broadly applicable tools to help nursing assistants cope with stress, boost their quality of life, and improve the level of care they provide.

The ARCOM Grant Program was developed jointly with Leveraging an Interdisciplinary Consortium to Improve Care and Outcomes for Persons Living With Alzheimer’s and Dementia (LINC-AD).

For more information on LINC-AD please visit: https://alz.org/linc-ad

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