Does mandating nurse patient ratios improve care
Patrick Muldoon, the CEO at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, is one of many hospital administrators looking at how much the fixed ratios would cost."Breaks, lunches, change of shifts, we have to meet those ratios," he said.
"Every floor, all the time or we’re subject to penalty.
At a State House hearing on Monday, Karen Coughlin, vice president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, said yes.
Coughlin pointed to one study in particular, "which found that every additional patient assigned to a nurse over four resulted in a 7 percent increase in the risk of death for all the patients under that nurses care."But this research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, also says it’s not clear exactly how many patients a nurse can care for, but five or six would be wise.
Vitello-Cicciu said Brigham and Women's Hospital currently assigns nurses three to five patients based on the intensity of the patients' recovery."And we adjust our staffing based on that," she said.
(Martha Bebinger/WBUR)Is there proof that assigning each nurse no more than four patients would improve care?No, says Joan Vitello-Cicciu, associate chief nurse in management at Brigham and Women’s Hospital."You should be monitoring us for the quality of our care, not a fixed number," she said.