Nurse-to-Patient Ratios save lives and money, study finds

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In a world-first study, researchers have found legislated ratios not only save lives, but also save governments millions of dollars.

Speaking at the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union Annual Conference, Dr Matthew McHugh revealed the results of his University of Pennsylvania study conducted alongside Queensland Health and the Queensland University of Technology.

The research found that, in its first year of operation, Queensland’s nurse-to-patient ratios scheme saved 145 lives, and avoided 255 readmissions. It also found that 29,200 hospital days were avoided.

In total, this resulted in an estimated cost saving of over $80 million for the Queensland Government.

On average, the legislated ratios scheme had seen a reduction of 1-2 patients during day shifts and 1-3 patients during night shifts, for nurses working in medical and surgical wards. These reductions were associated with a 7% reduction in burnout for those nurses.

The full results will be released by Queensland Health in August. Dr McHugh’s presentation can be found here.

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