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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Care left undone

Recent research undertaken our researcher Peter Griffiths, with colleagues from the National Nursing Research Unit, has revealed evidence that strongly suggests that low staffing levels are directly affecting patient outcomes.

Nursing care under question

The research entitled ‘Care Left Undone’ published in the British Medical Journal's Quality and Safety journal revealed that nurses often find that they are not able to provide the levels of care needed in hospital settings.

In the survey of 2917 nurses across 46 hospitals, 86 per cent reported that one or more care activity had been left undone due to lack of time on their last shift. Additionally, comforting or talking with patients (66 per cent), educating patients (52 per cent) and developing or updating nursing care plans (47 per cent) we activities that were not completed.

The research also found that the average nurse cared for 7.8 patients on a day shift and 10.9 at night. And the fewer patients a nurse looked after, the less likely that care would be missed or rationed. In light of the widely reported forecasts for nursing shortages in the years to come, this research provides key evidence to support concerns of staffing levels affecting patient care.

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