Nurse Staffing Levels Can Predict Risk of Patient Falls

Low staffing levels and "missed nursing care" may be directly associated with higher risk of patient falls, according to research published in the Journal of Nursing Care Quality.

For their study, researchers delivered surveys on missed nursing care and nursing care hours to 3,432 nurses and 980 nursing assistants across 11 acute-care hospitals. Missed nursing care was defined as elements of care which were missed, such as teaching or patient assessments. The researchers saw an overall return rate of 57.3 percent, with a unit response rate ranging from 34.4-99.6 percent. They also collected fall rate data from administrative data repositories.

 



Researchers found that nursing care hours was negatively associated with the incidence of patient falls, meaning that patient falls were less likely as nursing care hours increased. In addition, the researchers found a positive association between overall missed nursing care and patient fall rates.

The researchers concluded that higher staffing levels and less missed nursing care can help prevent patient falls.

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