Increased Nurse Staffing Can Save Lives, Reduce Costs

eAlert ddaf2f3c-8d80-42e0-b94d-e10c99b6d3f3

<p>An "unequivocable business case" can be made for increasing the level of nurse staffing in hospitals--a move that can pay for itself in fewer patient deaths, shorter hospital stays, and decreased rates of medical complications, new Commonwealth Fund-supported research finds.<br><br>For <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=20274&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D336481%26%23doc336481">a study</a> published in the current issue of <em>Health Affairs,</em> Jack Needleman, Ph.D., and colleagues simulated different approaches to nurse staffing using data from 799 acute care general hospitals in 11 states. One option studied--raising the proportion of registered nurses (RNs) relative to licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPNs), without increasing the total number of licensed nursing hours per patient—could potentially result in nearly 5,000 fewer patient deaths and generate net savings of $242 million over the short term and $1.8 billion over time.<br><br>"From a patient's perspective...using standard measures of value, the additional costs to increase nurse staffing appear justified," say the authors.</p>