Topic Nurse-to patient ratios
Evidence suggests that hospitals with better nurse staffing has more favorable overall patient outcomes and this panel study looks at various parameters to measure that statement. The study was completed using survey data from a panel of nurses from 55 different hospitals in Queensland Australia during two different timeframes, before the implementation of nurse-to-patient ratios and two years after ratios were implemented. Of the 55 hospitals included in the study, 27 implemented nurse-to-patient ratios and 28 did not. Information was obtained on the outcome of medical-surgical patients and linked with death records to determine data on patient characteristics and outcomes. It was used along with survey data from 17010 medical-surgical nurses to measure nurse staffing to estimate the change in patient outcomes in hospitals implementing nurse-to-patient ratios compared to those not implementing ratios. Data from a total of 489,155 patients was included in this study and outcome parameters investigated were 30-day mortality, 7-day readmissions, and length of stay.
It was found that overall mortality rates were not significantly at hospitals after nurse-to-patient ratio implementations than before, however, it was significantly lower in hospitals that implemented ratios. Also, readmissions were increased in hospitals with no ratios but not in hospitals tat have implemented the interventions. The length of stay was decreased in both hospital groups; however, the reduction was much more pronounced in the hospitals that implemented nurse-to-patient ratios. Overall, hospitals that introduced the changes to improve nurse-to-patient ratios saw a decrease in all parameters investigated.
McHugh, M., Aiken, L., Sloane, D., Windsor, C., Douglas, C., Yates, P. (2021). Effects of nurse-to-patient ratio legislation on nurse staffing and patient mortality, readmissions, and length of stay: a prospective study in a panel of hospitals. The lancet, 397. P 1905-13.