Study: Although CA nurse-patient ratios have increased, quality of care not necessarily improved

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

February 25, 2009

The California HealthCare Foundation has released a study that shows that although the state began mandating minimum nurse-patient ratios in 2004, the quality of care has not necessarily improved. The results of the study, which are based on interviews with healthcare leaders and data from state quality of care surveys, showed that facilities spent a lot of money hiring new nurses to comply with the minimum ratios, resulting in difficulty balancing hospital budgets later. Facilities also struggled with the requirement to have minimum ratios met "at all times," especially during meal breaks.

Key measures of quality care did not improve with the increased nurse-patient ratios. These include length of stay, precipitance of pressure ulcers, deep vein thrombosis, and postoperative sepsis.

To read the full report, click here.