Patient mortality rates are significantly lesser among nurses who take care of six patients than nurses who take care of more than ten, revealed a new study.
The study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Southampton and King's College London examined links between number of nurses, doctors and healthcare assistants and patient mortality.
‘A higher nurse to patient ratio is linked to a reduced risk of inpatient death.’
They analyzed 31 NHS trusts and evaluated whether there was any difference in the patient mortality rate if a less trained healthcare assistant is replaced to a registered nurse and also if the number of patients per nurse contributed to the mortality rates.
They found that the death rates were 20 percent lower in trusts where each registered nurse cared for an average of six or fewer inpatients than in trusts where nurses cared for 10 or more patients.
Researchers also found that providing more healthcare assistants instead of nurses did not prevent the rise in mortality. The study was published in the Journal BMJ Open
Dr.Jane Ball, from Southampton University, said, "Staffing decisions need to be made on the basis of patient safety, not finance. When determining the safety of nurse staffing on hospital wards, the level of registered nurse staffing is crucial; hospitals with higher levels of healthcare support workers have higher mortality rates."
The recent shortage of nurses in the UK have led to plans of substituting healthcare assistants to registered nurses. The results of this study may help government officials to take appropriate decisions at the NHS trusts.