Safer ratios decrease 30-day post-discharge mortality in patients undergoing surgery: study
A Korean study has found clear evidence that safer nurse-to-patient ratios do save lives.
The study conducted by a team at Jeonju University’s Department of Nursing found a statistically significant 30-day post-discharge mortality rate between surgical wards with bed-to-patient ratios of less than 2.5 beds per nurse with those that had a ratio of greater than 4 beds per nurse.
The study analysed patient data from 129,923 patients from 214 hospitals, as provided by Korea’s National Health Insurance Service. Taking into account factors such as types of surgeries and patient comorbidities, the researchers found a mortality rate of 2.5% for patients who had been discharged from a hospital with nursing ratios of greater than 4.5 beds per nurse, compared to a mortality rate of 0.8% for those who had stayed at a surgical ward with a ratio of less than 2.5 beds per nurse.
This means that patients who were cared for in wards with a ratio of greater than 4.5 beds per nurse were three times more likely to experience 30-day post-discharge morbidity compared to those who experienced better ratios during their stay.
The researchers highlighted the importance of having safe nursing ratios in hospitals, stating that the results “underscore the necessity of in-hospital discharge nursing and continued post-discharge nursing care as a way to reduce post-discharge mortality risk”.
“Policies are required to achieve proper staffing levels, to enhance patient outcomes”, the authors concluded.