Increased Nurse Staffing Could Improve Patient Care
An increase in the proportion of registered nurses to patients could help save lives, decrease the length of hospitals stays and prevent more medical complications without an increase in cost, according to a study published in the January/February issue of Health Affairs, CQ HealthBeat reports. The study -- led by Jack Needleman, an associate professor at the University of California-Los Angeles -- examined patient outcomes and health costs relative to the proportion of registered nurses and the number of nursing care hours per patient.
The study examined three approaches to improved nursing care:
- An increase in the proportion of RNs per patient without changes in nursing care hours;
- An increase in the number of nursing care hours per patient without changes in the proportion of RNs and licensed practical nurses; and
- An increase in both the proportion of RNs and the number of nursing care hours per patient.
"We would have to spend more money, but the value to patients makes it look like it is worth doing," Needleman said (CQ HealthBeat, 1/10).
The study is available online. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.