Results of Consumer Reports Hospital Patient Survey Reinforce Need for Adequate Nursing Care
An enormous variance exists in the quality of care patients receive across the U.S., and much of that variability can be attributed to whether a facility has an adequate staff (especially nurses) along with a well-organized care system, according to a January 2003 Consumer Reports cover story. Based on a survey of nearly 21,000 readers, the report reveals that, among all factors measured, "satisfaction with care and attention from nurses, doctors and other hospital staff members made the most difference by far in overall satisfaction." As evidence, only 2 percent of respondents who said they were satisfied with their nursing care ended up with a serious health complication, compared with 8 percent of patients who reported inattentive nursing care. But, at the same time, only 60 percent of respondents indicated that their hospital was adequately staffed, and only 55 percent strongly agreed that nurses answered call buttons promptly.
The findings of the survey reinforce other recent research, including a Harvard School of Public Health study reported on in The New England Journal of Medicine last spring, which found that patients who had more nurses to care for them also had better health outcomes. In that study, hospitals with adequate nurse staffing had 9.4 percent fewer incidences of cardiac arrest and shock than facilities with lower levels of staff.
Further bolstering these findings was a study of 232,342 surgical patients in 168 hospitals across Pennsylvania, published last October in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that every additional patient over four in a nurse's caseload increases the risk of death by 7 percent following surgery.
And the risks are not going unnoticed. According to a survey reported Dec. 12 (http://nursingworld.org/pressrel/2002/pr1216.htm
) in the New England Journal of Medicine, more than one-third of practicing physicians and 40 percent of the public say they or a family member have experienced a medical error. And, while the two groups diverged on possible causes and solutions, both ranked shortages of nurses; and overwork, stress and fatigue among health care workers as "very important" causes of errors.
Readers report: How safe is your hospital?
Decoding your bills
PS: Check out this link too: Hospital report cards