Acuity Systems

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    Anyone out there using computerized Patient Acuity/Classification Systems. Which ones? Have they helped? Does anyone actually base staffing/resources on the acuity level resulted from the system? Have to attend a meeting next week on acuity systems and would appreciate any input from those out there using one. Thanks!
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    Just when you thought acuity systems would disappear - here it is again:-) We had a trekking system that the nurses hated, never understood and "cheated on". The House Supervisors never enforced the rules, so needless to say, it just went to the wayside. We finally hired a consulting team to examine our work process and develop a system for us. It works great due to the flexibility built into the system. It is all based on patient care hours in relation to staffing hours. Although we thought the consulting suggestions for staffing were a little bit too <patient:ratios, we have found it workable. We have saved lots of OT hours and staffing is working much better after looking at their processes. Good luck, this is a difficult topic from the manager's/staff nurses.
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    Thanks for your input. From what I've been reading, it seems a lot of staff nurses (of which I am one) are afraid that classification/acuity systems will encourage management to CUT staff. I certainly hope that is not true. My research has revealed that more often than not the classification systems has actually given justification for more staff. In any event, my facility is so pitifully understaffed I can't imagine a system having any negative impact. I do know that the RNs will look at it as "more paperwork" or computer work. And it will be useless if management never looks at it. I attend my first product demo today and have lots of questions for them!
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    This is what I have noticed about the acuity system in our facility. it does not matter what the REAL need is, they will only staff what they want anyway. If they think they are spending too much in the nursing dept, they just submit how much they want to spend for the year and then staffing is figured out by that. So if last year the max one RN could handle according to the acuity system is 7 patients and now it is 10 (or whatever, based on acuity) ....this is why. Don't let anyone fool you here, this is how it is done. I have witnessed it and researched it. So why do they bother to spend all this money on the acuity system if only to fool the staff? Who knows? Maybe they actually THINK they are fooling us.

    Jill
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    Hard topic. We have a rostering system that interfaces with another system that is used for generating care plans. Our staff are also paranoid re management wanting to cut staff. I have seen where rosters are altered on a unit level to meet acquity of unit. I have also seen where clinical pathways demonstrate the need for extra staff and this occured. I have found that staff dump alot of info into the care [plan that is not being used at patient level, only to increase the amount of nursing hours/pateint day.Therefore management do not look so much at the figures as they are wrong. It is a mindfield, we are governed by our State Government and as such have little choice.

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    [This message has been edited by psych-rn (edited December 06, 2000).]


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