Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Excessive hospital occupancy levels result in avoidable mortality

Date:
March 31, 2014
Source:
University of Cologne
Summary:
Once a hospital reaches a certain occupancy level, the quality of care it provides deteriorates, increasing the risk of mortality of critically ill patients. What is worrying is that this safety 'tipping point' is reached at occupancy levels that are below 100 percent.

Once a hospital reaches a certain occupancy level, the quality of care it provides deteriorates, increasing the risk of mortality of critically ill patients. What is worrying is that this safety 'tipping point' is reached at occupancy levels that are below 100%. The findings are reported by a team of researchers led by Ludwig Kuntz, Professor of Health Management at the University of Cologne. Their paper (Stress on the Ward: Evidence of Safety Tipping Points in Hospitals) is to appear shortly in the international journal Management Science.

Related Articles


For the purposes of their study, the academics looked at occupancy levels and death rates in 83 German hospitals; they discovered that mortality began to increase at an occupancy level of 92.5%, which they thus define as the safety tipping point. For patients, this means that as soon as occupancy levels exceed this tipping point, there is a greater probability of their dying in hospital. Of the patient collective they investigated, 17.4% had been in a department in which the occupancy level exceeded the safety tipping point on at least one day while they were there. The researchers claim that one in seven deaths among these patients could have been avoided if they had not been exposed to such high occupancy levels.

The paper's authors attribute the effect to the fact that the number of personnel hospitals assign to their wards is only sufficient to cope with average levels of occupancy. If the occupancy tipping point is consistently exceeded, the result is a persistent safety problem and failure to appropriately adjust the number of personnel may lead to a significantly increased threat to the survival of hospitalized patients.

It is of even greater concern if the safety tipping point is only occasionally exceeded and this potentially dangerous situation is never recognized. There is then the risk that a hospital could be perceived as safe although, in fact, it isn't. In their publication, the team provides advice on strategies that can be used to ensure that the safety tipping point is not exceeded.

The abstract to the paper can be found at: http://en.rwi-essen.de/publikationen/ruhr-economic-papers/398/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cologne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Cologne. "Excessive hospital occupancy levels result in avoidable mortality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331100234.htm>.
University of Cologne. (2014, March 31). Excessive hospital occupancy levels result in avoidable mortality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331100234.htm
University of Cologne. "Excessive hospital occupancy levels result in avoidable mortality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331100234.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins