Clinical Center News
Spring 2019

Nurses survey confirms need for aging and adult-dependent care resources

A circle chart color coded, with age (blue), supervisory status/position (yellow) and years at NIH (green). Supervisors also shared whether they have received guidance on community NIH Work-Life programs to their employees (red)
Survey respondents reported their age (blue), supervisory status/position (yellow) and years at NIH (green). Supervisors also shared whether they have received guidance on community NIH Work-Life programs to their employees (red). Credit: AADCC

In December 2018, the NIH Office of Research Services (ORS), the Aging and Adult-Dependent Care Committee collaborated with the NIH Clinical Center Nursing Department to issue a survey aimed to assess employee’s awareness of various work life services. The survey aimed to capture employee’s need for services such as aging and adult dependent care.

A variety of community resources are available to NIH employees and contractors that can be helpful to all NIH staff. These services include a Resource and Referral toll-free number – 1-800-777-1720. ORS sponsors the telephone hotline and provides other resources to enhance employees’ work life balance.

The survey was administered to 1,139 Clinical Center and extramural nurses with 144 responses; a 13% response rate. The majority of respondents were female, in their mid-40s and older, and worked at NIH for 8+ years:

  • 60% of the nurses participated in direct patient care while the other 40% percent had administrative duties.
  • 26% of nurses had supervisory responsibilities.
  • 70% of nurses with supervisory responsibilities responded they had not received guidance on how to communicate to staff about available work-life integration programs and services.

Data from the 2012 Life@NIH Survey and the 2017 OPM Work-life Federal Survey project the needs for NIH adult care resources are tripling every five years. In the 2012 Life@NIH Survey, supervisors were asked if they received any guidance/training in talking with their employees about work-life programs and services. The majority of supervisors (73%) reported they had not received any guidance.

The recent NIH Nurses Survey and previous surveys, specifically the 2012 Life@NIH and the 2017 OPM Work-life Federal Survey, demonstrate that employees at the NIH – and across the federal government – are increasingly in need of resources to help them navigate aging and adult-dependent related needs.

The NIH Nurses Survey showed 23% of respondents already have aging or dependent adult care needs with an additional 39% anticipating having adult dependent/elder care needs while working at the NIH. 16% have adult dependents who live with them and 19% have adult dependents who do not live with them. 5% have an adult child with special needs.

Although two-thirds or more of nurses were aware of the Employee Assistance Program, lactation rooms, wellness events and services, Recreation & Welfare clubs, fitness center/classes and alternative commuting supports, the majority (65% or higher) of nurses were not aware of the current aging and adult care resources: the NIH Adult-Care-Support listserv, Back-up Care services for self-care or adult care, or the ORS Resource and Referral Services.

The NIH is leading the way in providing community support programs and services to employees to ease the burden on caregiving stressors. The ORS Resource and Referral Services, 1-800-777-1720, is an invaluable resource that provides employees with a variety of resources to address needs related to child, adult, legal, financial, and identity theft. This resource is available to NIH employees, trainees, and contractors anywhere in the U.S. To utilize the service, the NIH employee calls and identifies their need with an intake specialist. A resource specialist calls back within 24 hours during the work week, conducts a confidential discussion and provides referrals and resources via email within two business days. The beauty of this service is the identification of comprehensive resources available in communities nationwide without having to figure out the process on your own time, which can often be time consuming and difficult to navigate.

To enhance supervisor’s awareness of the multiple resources offered to the NIH workforce, the NIH Work-Life@NIH: A Supervisor’s Guide to Enhancing Workforce Well-being training was developed by the ORS and the Office of Human Resources. The NIH Work-Life training is a result of the 2012 Life@NIH Survey and is offered to supervisors at NIH on a quarterly basis and for two Continuous Learning Points (supervisory refresher purposes).

Recognizing the need to provide support to NIH employees and those caring for adult dependents, the Aging and Adult Dependent Care Committee was chartered in January of 2016 to help facilitate the development of aging and adult-dependent care resources. Learn more about the NIH Child and Family Programs (including aging and adult-dependent care programs).
    - submitted by Martina Lavrisha, Senior Clinical Nurse OP4, member, NIH Aging and Adult Dependent Care Committee

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