Patients suffer when nurses work long shifts

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has studiedLong-working-hours-and-over1 the effects of long shifts on nurses and the subsequent effects on patients.  They’ve found, after looking at two different studies over 10 different wards, that quantity and quality of care suffers when nurses work 12-hour shifts.  Paper is: here

Nurses are often required to work longer shifts to make of for staffing shortages.  Nurses are asked to stay late or come in early to make up for shifts that were not scheduled.

Nurse studies report drops in alertness, performance, and satisfaction with longer shifts, which affects their ability to safely care for patients.  The report concludes that hospital errors should be avoidable, and if hospitals don’t believe that an employee’s environment, including staffing requirements, don’t contribute to medical errors, then the proof of the patient’s safety is on the hospital, not the employee.


Patient Story

arlene townsend staffing award

Unsafe staffing costs a Florida facility $1 billion

From Trial Magazine, March 2014 issue: Trial Magazine, 3/11/14 VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS Arlene Townsend, 63 suffered a stroke and required 24-hour care. She was admitted to Auburndale Oaks Healthcare Center, a nursing home owned by Trans Healthcare, Inc. In the three years leading up to her death, Townsend suffered numerous fall resulting in broken bones and lacerations, infections, significant weight loss, chronic constipation, skin breakdowns, dehydration, and other problems. She is survived by her adult son. Townsend’s estate sued Trans Healthcare, alleging that it had understaffed the nursing home to increase profits and failed to provide adequate care, including protecting Townsend from falls, ensuring a safe environment, and documenting changes to her condition. The court entered a judgment of liability against the defendant, and the…
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