Risk of death from stressed caregivers

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Study: Stressed carers increase risk of death

The risk of death in hospitals can increase significantly due to excessive workload on nurses and caregivers. This is the result of a current European study. There is also a connection between the risk of death and the level of training of nursing staff.

Link between death rates and workload The number of deaths in hospitals can increase significantly due to excessive workload on nurses and caregivers. A Europe-wide study published on Wednesday in the specialist magazine "The Lancet" gives significant indications of a corresponding connection. According to this, higher death rates may be related to a higher workload of nursing staff and a lower level of education for nurses and sisters. This is dramatic news, especially in times when there are many cuts in the health sector due to cost constraints.

Seven percent death rate in some hospitals For the study, the researchers evaluated data from a total of 420,000 patients over the age of 50 and the deaths in 300 hospitals. It was about patients who had undergone conventional operations such as hip, knee or appendix surgery. The death rate was generally low at 1.0 to 1.5 percent. However, there were hospitals with a death rate of more than seven percent within the individual countries. The study was carried out in Belgium, Great Britain, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Higher proportion of nurses with university degrees reduce risk of death According to the study, every patient who was added to a caregiver's workload increased the risk of death by seven percent. In return, this risk decreased by seven percent for every ten percent higher level of education in the nursing staff. According to the evaluations, the risk of death in hospitals in which a carer had to look after six patients and 60 percent of the nursing staff had a university degree was one third lower than in institutions in which a caregiver cared for eight patients and only 30 percent of the Nursing staff had a higher education qualification.

Massive job cuts in German hospitals Due to the massive job cuts in recent years, there is now a chronic lack of care in German clinics. This not only leads to an overload of the employees, but also obviously becomes an increasing risk for the patients. The problems are homemade, since 50,000 full-time positions have been cut in German clinics since 1996, despite increasing workload and the continuously increasing number of patients. This corresponds to 14 percent or in other words, every seventh digit. (sb)

Image: Gerda Mahmens / pixelio.de

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