safe patient ratios
Safe patient ratios
A country’s emergency departments such as Intensive Care Units have several multifaceted challenges, in spite of the fact that such departments are the backbones of a nation’s healthcare safety net. The objective of this paper is to explore safe patient ratios and its relationship with Intensive Care Units. Between 1992 and 2002, there has been an increase of visits to Intensive Care Units by approximately 23 percent (Paterick, Paterick & Waterhouse, 2014). ICUs face several challenges such as in increasing consumer activism and policy changes. That have resulted in a cut in expenditure, all of which have begun to affect their capacity to operate as the crucial units that they are.
There is a critical shortage of nursing specialists in specialty care departments that are in dire need of the competence and skills of highly trained personnel, more so in intensive care units and surgery rooms. According to research conducted by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) between the September 2000 and February 2011, vacant positions in emergency departments take considerably longer, to fill up than those left by registered nurses (Barrett, 2014).
For several years, Emergency Departments have been faced with the challenge of determining suitable staffing. An example of a previously used method is hours per patient per visit despite its numerous disadvantages. In the few recent years, nursing establishments, workers’ unions, and lawmakers have continued their advocating for commended nurse-patient ratios. For patients in Intensive Care Units, the typical ratio range is from 1:4 for those patients admitted for general emergency department patients to 1:1 for those patients with trauma. The authorised ratio does not take into consideration the patients who need the care of as many as four registered nurses (Barrett, 2014).
In conclusion, while Intensive Care Unit patients are on the increase, the department is faced with several challenges that require urgent solutions. For instance, specialty care departments are in urgent need for nursing specialists who are competent and highly trained. The commended nurse-patient ratio should be 1:1 for those patients in ICU with trauma complications and 1:4 for patients in need of general emergency care.
Barrett, T. (January 01, 2014). It’s Time to Address the Long-Term Healthcare Crisis.Human Rights : Journal of the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, 28, 13-14.
Paterick, Z. R., Paterick, T. E., & Waterhouse, B. E. (August 01, 2014). The healthcare crisis: competition is the problem and the solution. The Journal of Medical Practice Management : Mpm, 25, 1.)