Friday, February 12, 2010

Does Caregiver Health and Wellness Affect Patient Outcomes?

The Greenville News has recently reported on the efforts of the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group who are advocating for limits on residents' hours in order to improve patient safety. The group notes that federal regulations limit work hours for pilots and truck drivers, but medical residents who have the safety of their patients in their hands can work 30-hour shifts. Click here to read the story.

The INQRI program agrees that the health and well-being of caregivers can have a profound impact on the health of their patients. INQRI researchers at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro are looking at the problems that may occur when nurses come to work sick. It is suspected that decreased productivity may lead to poorer patient outcomes and higher healthcare costs. Specifically, the study is looking at how such things as pain and depression, conditions that seem to affect nurses more than others, affect the prevalence of errors and perceived quality of care. A secondary aim of the project is to assess economic costs to the healthcare system associated with presenteeism. This team is co-led by Susan Letvak, PhD, a nurse researcher, and Christopher Ruhm, PhD, an economist.

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