Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Better Nurse-to-Patient Ratios Can Save Lives

INQRI NAC member Linda Aiken, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, has just published a study in Health Services Research examining California's 2004 nurse staffing ratio mandate.  Aiken found that if the same ratio had been used in Pennsylvania and New Jersey hospitals in 2006, the states would have seen a reduction in deaths among general surgical patients by 10.6% and 13.09% respectively. 
"All hospitalized patients are likely to benefit from improved nurse staffing, not just general surgery patients," Aiken says, adding that "the potential number of lives that could be saved by improving nurse staffing in hospitals is likely to be many thousands a year."
This work comes at a very important time - 18 states (including Massachusetts, Minnesota and Illinois) are considering lowering their ratios.

To learn more about this study, please click here.

To read an interview with Dr. Aiken regarding nursing's role in health reform, please click here.

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