The effectiveness of an aged care specific leadership and management program on workforce, work environment, and care quality outcomes: Design of a cluster randomised controlled trial

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Implementation Science, 2013, 8 (1)
Issue Date:
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Background: A plethora of observational evidence exists concerning the impact of management and leadership on workforce, work environment, and care quality. Yet, no randomised controlled trial has been conducted to test the effectiveness of leadership and management interventions in aged care. An innovative aged care clinical leadership program (Clinical Leadership in Aged Care - CLiAC) was developed to improve managers' leadership capacities to support the delivery of quality care in Australia. This paper describes the study design of the cluster randomised controlled trial testing the effectiveness of the program.Methods: Twenty-four residential and community aged care sites were recruited as managers at each site agreed in writing to participate in the study and ensure that leaders allocated to the control arm would not be offered the intervention program. Sites undergoing major managerial or structural changes were excluded. The 24 sites were randomly allocated to receive the CLiAC program (intervention) or usual care (control), stratified by type (residential vs. community, six each for each arm). Treatment allocation was masked to assessors and staff of all participating sites. The objective is to establish the effectiveness of the CLiAC program in improving work environment, workforce retention, as well as care safety and quality, when compared to usual care. The primary outcomes are measures of work environment, care quality and safety, and staff turnover rates. Secondary outcomes include manager leadership capacity, staff absenteeism, intention to leave, stress levels, and job satisfaction. Differences between intervention and control groups will be analysed by researchers blinded to treatment allocation using linear regression of individual results adjusted for stratification and clustering by site (primary analysis), and additionally for baseline values and potential confounders (secondary analysis). Outcomes measured at the site level will be compared by cluster-level analysis. The overall costs and benefits of the program will also be assessed.Discussion: The outcomes of the trial have the potential to inform actions to enhance leadership and management capabilities of the aged care workforce, address pressing issues about workforce shortages, and increase the quality of aged care services. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12611001070921). © 2013 Jeon et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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