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.

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 August 20, 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 August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Nancy Writebol, an American missionary who contracted Ebola, is apparently getting better, according to her husband. The outbreak, however, is not. 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:
from the past week

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