AHA supports 80-hour standard for residents, offers suggestions

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

April 22, 2009

The American Hospital Association (AHA) recently voiced support of the American Council for Graduate Medical Education's (ACGME) review of resident duty hours. The ACGME originally released its standards for resident hours in 2003 and promised a review within five years. The AHA published a letter of support on April 20 outlining its opinions about resident hours.

The AHA supports the current 80 hour work week averaged over four weeks for residents. However, the AHA feels the ACGME should add rules to this standard about on-site and off-site "moonlighting" because residents are often not engaging in restful sleep during those off hours. Although current practice acknowledges that residents are free to use their own time as they choose, if they are not getting restful sleep during this time, patients' safety could be put in jeopardy because that would mean overtired residents then report to work for their shifts. The AHA also suggests more research be done around the relationship between resident duty hours and the quality of care given to patients.

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