Hospital Nursing Resources Tied to COVID-19 Survival

Findings for both in-hospital death and 30-day postdischarge mortality
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MONDAY, June 24, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Older patients with COVID-19 are more likely to survive hospitalization in facilities with adequate nursing resources, according to a study published online June 7 in the International Journal of Nursing Studies.

Karen B. Lasater, Ph.D., R.N., from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia, and colleagues evaluated whether hospital differences in prepandemic and during pandemic nursing resources (e.g., average patient-to-registered nurse [RN] staffing ratios, proportion of bachelors-qualified RNs, nurse work environments, and Magnet recognition) explain differences in risk-adjusted COVID-19 mortality. Analysis included 87,936 Medicare beneficiaries (65 to 99 years old) hospitalized with COVID-19 and discharged (or died) between April 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, from 237 general acute care hospitals in New York and Illinois.

The researchers found that 23 percent of admitted patients died during the hospitalization, and 31.5 percent died within 30 days of admission. Risk of death was significantly lower for patients admitted with COVID-19 to hospitals with better nursing resources prepandemic and during the pandemic. Each additional patient in the average nurses' workload prepandemic was associated with significantly higher odds of in-hospital mortality (odds ratio, 1.20) and of 30-day mortality (odds ratio, 1.15). Similar protective effects were seen for hospitals with greater proportions of bachelors-qualified RNs, better quality nurse work environments, and Magnet recognition.

"If all hospitals in the study had superior nursing resources prior to or during the pandemic, models estimate many thousands of deaths among patients hospitalized with COVID-19 could have been avoided," the authors write.

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