Evidence-Based Staffing Enhances Patient-Centered Care

Rebecca Hendren, August 2, 2011

Patient-centered care is a healthcare buzzword, but what does it really mean? A bedside nurse would say that all her care is patient centered. It's the paperwork and bureaucracy that draws the nurse's focus from patients. All nurses want is time and appropriate staffing levels to focus on patients and their needs.

Patient acuity systems give hospitals flexibility to maximize staffing effectiveness. The systems demonstrate how hospitals can provide adequate staffing based on actual patient needs, rather than restrictive ratios.

Edwin Loftin, RN, MBA, FACHE, is the vice president of nursing at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, FL. The hospital takes patient-centered care seriously. In the 1990s, when PMC realized it was time to build a brand new hospital, it was one of the early adopters of designing a healing environment. It designed a new space that used spirit-lifting architecture and decor, natural light, and intelligent patient-centered design to aid patient healing.

Parrish Medical Center uses an acuity system built around patient needs, rather than staff workload. Loftin says this provides better patient-centered care. Evidence-based indicators determine the hours of care needed by patients without nurses having to manually classify patient condition.

"That was actually a big buy-in that I could take to my nursing staff that, they won't have to do anything different," says Loftin. Along with not adding to workloads, his staff also bought in to the system's evidence-based data.

Rebecca Hendren Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at rhendren@hcpro.com.

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