Over ten years ago, the health care industry’s own watchdog issued a stern warning regarding the correlation between patient outcomes and nurse staffing.  The policy report by Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (now known simply as “Joint Commission”) entitled Health Care at the Crossroads, offered a clear vision – and evidence – that adequate staffing levels are critical to the safety of patients and the economic health of the industry.  Unfortunately, nurses at the bedside know the sage advice has too frequently been ignored.

A sampling of quotes from the report.

  • “If the staffing levels and work environments are not safe for the nurses, they will not be safe for the patients.”
  • “The return on investment in nursing will be reflected both in cost savings and improvements in the safety and quality of care provided.”
  • “When nurses were asked to report their perceptions of the staffing levels in their hospitals, only 34 percent said they had enough RNs to provide quality care; and still fewer, 33 percent, had enough staff to get their work done. “

Health Care at the Crossroads

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations,  Public Policy Initiative, 2002   Read the full report here.


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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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