Hourly rounds for nurses reduces call light use, study finds

Hourly rounds schedules for nurses in acute-care hospitals may improve patient safety and overall patient satisfaction, according to a study published in the Journal for Healthcare Quality.

Researchers examined if a standardized hourly rounding process, implemented through a formal education program, would result in improved quality and patient satisfaction metrics when compared to a less standardized process, implemented through the traditional train-the-trainer method. Variables evaluated in the study also included efficient delivery of care measured by total number of call lights.

Data was collected for two 32-bed cardiovascular surgery nursing units, one in which the rounding process was implemented through a formal education program. Data was collected over a six-month period and results were trended for an additional six months later.

The study found that there were significant reductions in call light use during the study period for the intervention unit.

There were no significant differences in the incidence of patient falls or weekly readmission rates between the two nursing units. While there was also no significant difference in patient answers to discharge satisfaction-related questions, positive feedback was gathered regarding how rapidly call lights were answered.

"While hourly nurse rounding strategies have validity and may be instrumental in improving patient care, more research is needed to clearly define its benefits in achieving effective, efficient and patient-centered outcomes," said lead author Rebecca Kreppler, MBA, RN, professor, College of Nursing, Texas Women's University in Houston.

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