Conference Abstracts

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Does workplace pressure moderate nursing responsibility for patient safety?

McDonald, T. A., 2009

ICN Quadrennial Congress, Durban, South Africa


Background: The extent to which anecdotal reports of unsafe hospital practices associated with older patients occur were surveyed along with long-term care providers’ views on whether hospitals meet standards set in national statements on standards for hospital care of older people.

Objective: Reports to aged care service providers, of unsafe hospital practices concerning older patients, occur within hospital clinical contexts and nurses are frequently present when these adverse incidents are occurring. The workplace pressure on nurses in public hospitals has been offered as an explanation of episodes of missed care and inappropriate modification of protocols however there is little evidence that nurses raise these issues effectively with hospital administrators. Consequently, vulnerable patients are subjected to unsafe practices and serious risks to health arising from a hospital stay.

Methods and results: Sections of the national survey conducted to determine the extent to which mistreatment and inappropriate care are happening to older adults transferred between aged care and hospitals, indicate that many of the processes with which nurses are involved are not being performed in a competent manner. Comparison of the survey results against hospital standards for care also reveal that there is a failure of quality in most areas of patient care, transport and communication systems.

Conclusions: Responses by aged care professionals provide a worrying perception of hospital performance related to the care and safety of older people. The issues identified and recommendations made within this report have provided a basis upon which more effective consultation, hospital quality monitoring, management and safe, caring practice can be built.

CITATION McDonald T. (2009) Does workplace pressure moderate nursing responsibility for patient safety? International Council of Nurses (ICN), 24th Quadrennial Congress, Durban South Africa. 27 June-4 July.


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