Excessive patient case loads lead to patient deaths in Massachusetts, nurses union survey finds

One in four registered nurses in Massachusetts has reported that excessive patient case loads have directly contributed to patient deaths, according to a Massachusetts Nurses Association survey.

The survey, which was conducted between April 10 and April 16, includes responses from a representative sample of 322 Massachusetts nurses, 61 percent of whom have no affiliation with MNA.

Highlighted below are nine findings from the survey:

  1. Eighty-six percent of RNs report they don't have the time to properly comfort and care for patients and families due to unsafe patient assignments.
  2. Eighty-one percent say they don't have the time to educate patients and provide adequate discharge planning.
  3. Sixty-one percent report complications for patients and medication errors due to unsafe patient assignments.
  4. Fifty-six percent report unsafe patient assignments contributed to a patient readmission.
  5. Half of the RNs surveyed said understaffing has lead to injury and harm to patients.
  6. A quarter of nurses report they wouldn't feel safe admitting their own family member to the unit on which they work.
  7. Additionally, 59 percent of nurses report staffing level decisions are more often based on financial concerns and profit margins than assessments of patient needs, up from 48 percent last year.
  8. Forty percent of nurses (including 53 percent of those working in community hospitals) say their administrators are not responsive to their concerns about excessive patient assignments; and
  9. Thirty-seven percent of nurses report that their administrators rarely or never adjust patient assignments based on the needs of their patients, up from 25 percent last year.  



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