A new study published in the Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ) revealed that nursing resources vary significantly across different types of hospitals that care for children, and this has significant implications for quality and safety in pediatric medical care. JHQ is the peer-reviewed publication of the National Association for Healthcare Quality, www.nahq.org.
The study was sponsored by the National Institute for Nursing Research and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Researchers collected survey data from nearly 4,000 nurses working in 498 hospitals in the United States that provide pediatric inpatient care - hospitals with a pediatric unit, hospitals that operate separate children's facilities and free-standing pediatric hospitals. Few studies have explored which types of hospitals that provide pediatric care are associated with poor outcomes. No studies have reported on the association of nursing resources and the quality of inpatient care for some 1.8 million children hospitalized every year.
Analysis of the survey data showed that nurses working in children's hospitals within a hospital or in pediatric units in general hospitals were more likely than nurses working in freestanding children's hospitals to report there are not enough nurses providing care to children. They also more frequently reported inadequate support services to allow them to spend more time with patients. The research also showed that nurses in freestanding pediatric hospitals reported better staffing and more adequate resources, and these facilities had lower risk for incomplete patient surveillance and missing changes in patients' conditions.
The results of this study, based on nursing feedback, show that differences in the adequacy of resources may be largely responsible for differences in outcomes. "Reports from nurses working in the three types of hospitals that provide pediatric care suggest that these differences in nursing resources may have implications for the quality of impatient pediatric care," the study concluded.
National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ)