Minnesota Nurses Urge Hospitals to Increase Patient Assessment Time
Nurses React to 2013 Adverse Event Report
For Immediate Release
Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St Paul) - January 24, 2014. Nurses of the Minnesota Nurses Association are pleased to see reductions in adverse events as reported in the 2013 Adverse Event Report by the Minnesota Department of Health but caution patients that the annual report of preventable errors in hospitals doesn't tell the whole story of patient safety. They say no patient should suffer a fatal fall if they receive the proper nursing care.
"Hospitals can claim that more patients are being identified as prone to falling," said Mary McGibbon, RN, and MNA 1st Vice-President, "but a patient's condition changes rapidly. Professionals need time with patients to ensure that medications or other conditions haven't made them unaware or unable to get out of bed safely. It's just common sense. More time with nurses means less time in the hospital for patients."
Nurses typically provide patient assessment as well as observe patients, respond to call lights, and walk patients around-otherwise called ambulation. McGibbon and other nurses have warned hospital management that caring for too many patients at one time leaves little time for nurses to assess patients. Patients who are waking from anesthesia are prone to confusion and imbalance, which can make them likely to fall out of a hospital bed. Other patients in more routine procedures who already suffer from Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, or dementia may also forget why they're in the hospital and try to leave, which creates a dangerous situation that must be monitored constantly.
"Part of my role as an RN is to help patients get up and walk around," said McGibbon, a nurse in the Critical Care unit at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, "and if they try to just go to the bathroom on their own, the result can be a fall or a torn suture that keeps them in the hospital days or weeks longer than they should be. These kinds of accidents are all preventable."
Minnesota nurses urge hospitals to link assessment time to each adverse event report, and they encourage the Minnesota Department of Health to include time spent with caregivers in the analysis of each incident.