Nurse Understaffing May Up Risk for Multiple Organ Failure in ICU Patients

Nursing workload was significantly higher in patients with multiple organ failure, nonsurvivors


FRIDAY, June 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Understaffing and increased nursing workload are associated with multiple organ failure in intensive care unit patients, according to a study published online June 3 in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Miia Jansson, Ph.D., R.N., from the University of Oulu in Finland, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study in a single tertiary-level teaching hospital during 2008 to 2017 to examine the association among nurse staffing, nursing workload, and prognosis. The final analysis included 10,230 patients.

The researchers found that patients with multiple organ failure and nonsurvivors had significantly higher mean daily Therapeutic Intervention Scoring System scores and Intensive Care Nursing Scoring System scores, indicating increased nursing workload. In patients with versus without multiple organ failure, the proportion of understaffing was significantly more common. For survivors versus nonsurvivors, there was no difference in the mean daily lowest nurse-to-patient ratio and the mean daily highest Intensive Care Nursing Scoring System index. On weekends, the levels of nursing associated with workload and understaffing were at their worst.

"The burden for critical care services has risen exponentially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic," Jansson said in a statement. "The consequences of increased nursing workload during COVID-19 remains uncertain and need to be investigated in this light."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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