Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Impact of Nursing Resources on Covid-19 Mortality Rates in Hospitals

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The Covid-19 pandemic revealed significant disparities in patient outcomes depending on the hospital of admission. A recent study investigates how pre-pandemic and during-pandemic nursing resources affected the risk-adjusted mortality rates of Covid-19 patients. This research provides valuable insights into how well-resourced nursing environments could mitigate preventable deaths during public health crises.

Study Objectives and Methods

The primary aim of the study was to explore whether differences in nursing resources across hospitals before and during the pandemic could account for variations in Covid-19 mortality rates. Specific nursing resources evaluated included average patient-to-registered nurse (RN) staffing ratios, the proportion of bachelor-qualified RNs, the quality of nurse work environments, and Magnet recognition. The study analyzed data from 87,936 Medicare beneficiaries aged 65-99 who were hospitalized with Covid-19 in 237 general acute care hospitals in New York and Illinois from April 1 to December 31, 2020.

Using adjusted logistic regression models, researchers assessed how pre-pandemic (December 2019 to February 2020) and during-pandemic (April to June 2021) nursing resources predicted in-hospital and 30-day mortality rates among these patients.

Key Findings

The results demonstrated a significant correlation between well-resourced nursing environments and lower mortality rates. Specifically, each additional patient in the nurse’s workload pre-pandemic was linked to a 20% higher chance of in-hospital mortality and a 15% higher likelihood of 30-day mortality. Hospitals with higher proportions of BSN-qualified RNs, superior nurse work environments, and Magnet recognition also showed protective benefits, reducing the odds of patient death.

Practical Implications

– Increasing RN staffing ratios can substantially reduce Covid-19 mortality rates.

– Employing a higher proportion of BSN-qualified RNs improves patient outcomes.

– Enhancing the quality of nurse work environments is crucial for patient survival.

– Magnet recognition serves as an indicator of hospitals with superior nursing resources and better patient care.

Conclusion

The study concludes that hospitals with robust nursing resources before and during the Covid-19 pandemic experienced significantly lower mortality rates among admitted patients. These findings underscore the importance of investing in nursing resources during non-crisis periods to prepare for future public health emergencies. Strengthening nursing infrastructure not only improves patient outcomes during ordinary times but also enhances hospitals’ emergency preparedness.

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Original Article: Int J Nurs Stud. 2024 Jun 7;158:104830. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2024.104830. Online ahead of print.

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