Objectives There is growing concern regarding quality of work life (QWL) among care staff in nursing homes. However, little is known about the impact of QWL on nursing home residents' functional performance. Recent literature suggests that job satisfaction and happiness of healthcare workers reflect their perceived QWL and impact the quality of their care. This study examined the association between job satisfaction and global happiness with change in functional performance of severely disabled elderly residents in nursing homes. Design A retrospective cohort study of nursing home residents combined with a questionnaire survey of their care staff. Setting Eighteen nursing homes in Japan. Participants Data were collected from 1000 residents with a required care level of 3-5 and from 412 care staff in nursing homes between October 2017 and March 2018. Outcomes and explanatory variables Functional performance was structurally assessed with ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health) staging, composed of 52 items concerning activities of daily life, cognitive function and social participation, at baseline and 6 months later. Deterioration and improvement of functional performance were dichotomously defined as such change in any of the items. QWL of care staff was evaluated with a questionnaire including questions about job satisfaction and global happiness. Results Functional performance deteriorated and improved in 23.0% and 12.7% of residents, respectively. Global happiness of care staff was associated with lower probability of residents' deterioration (adjusted OR, 0.61; CI 0.44 to 0.84). There was no significant correlation between job satisfaction or happiness of care staff and improvement of residents' functional performance. Conclusion These results suggest that QWL of care staff is associated with changes in functional performance of elderly people with severe disabilities in nursing homes.
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