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Aiken L.H.,University of Pennsylvania | Sloane D.M.,University of Pennsylvania | Bruyneel L.,Catholic University of Leuven | Van Den Heede K.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 14 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2014

Background Austerity measures and health-system redesign to minimise hospital expenditures risk adversely affecting patient outcomes. The RN4CAST study was designed to inform decision making about nursing, one of the largest components of hospital operating expenses. We aimed to assess whether differences in patient to nurse ratios and nurses' educational qualifications in nine of the 12 RN4CAST countries with similar patient discharge data were associated with variation in hospital mortality after common surgical procedures. Methods For this observational study, we obtained discharge data for 422 730 patients aged 50 years or older who underwent common surgeries in 300 hospitals in nine European countries. Administrative data were coded with a standard protocol (variants of the ninth or tenth versions of the International Classification of Diseases) to estimate 30 day in-hospital mortality by use of risk adjustment measures including age, sex, admission type, 43 dummy variables suggesting surgery type, and 17 dummy variables suggesting comorbidities present at admission. Surveys of 26 516 nurses practising in study hospitals were used to measure nurse staffing and nurse education. We used generalised estimating equations to assess the effects of nursing factors on the likelihood of surgical patients dying within 30 days of admission, before and after adjusting for other hospital and patient characteristics. Findings An increase in a nurses' workload by one patient increased the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission by 7% (odds ratio 1·068, 95% CI 1·031- 1·106), and every 10% increase in bachelor's degree nurses was associated with a decrease in this likelihood by 7% (0·929, 0·886- 0·973). These associations imply that patients in hospitals in which 60% of nurses had bachelor's degrees and nurses cared for an average of six patients would have almost 30% lower mortality than patients in hospitals in which only 30% of nurses had bachelor's degrees and nurses cared for an average of eight patients. Interpretation Nurse staffing cuts to save money might adversely affect patient outcomes. An increased emphasis on bachelor's education for nurses could reduce preventable hospital deaths. Funding European Union's Seventh Framework Programme, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health, the Norwegian Nurses Organisation and the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Swedish Association of Health Professionals, the regional agreement on medical training and clinical research between Stockholm County Council and Karolinska Institutet, Committee for Health and Caring Sciences and Strategic Research Program in Care Sciences at Karolinska Institutet, Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Sulheim D.,Innlandet Hospital Trust anders Sandvigsgate 17 | Sulheim D.,University of Oslo | Fagermoen E.,University of Oslo | Sivertsen O.S.,University of Oslo | And 8 more authors.
Archives of Disease in Childhood | Year: 2015

Objective To compare cognitive function in adolescents with chronic fatigue with cognitive function in healthy controls (HC). Study design Cross-sectional study. Setting Paediatric department at Oslo University Hospital, Norway. Participants 120 adolescents with chronic fatigue (average age 15.4 years; range 12-18) and 39 HC (average age 15.2 years; range 12-18). Methods The adolescents completed a neurocognitive test battery measuring processing speed, working memory, cognitive inhibition, cognitive flexibility, verbal learning and verbal memory, and questionnaires addressing demographic data, depression symptoms, anxiety traits, fatigue and sleep problems. Parents completed the Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), which measures the everyday executive functions of children. Results Adolescents with chronic fatigue had impaired cognitive function compared to HC regarding processing speed (mean difference 3.3, 95% CI 1.1 to 5.5, p=0.003), working memory (-2.4, -3.7 to -1.1, p<0.001), cognitive inhibition response time (6.2, 0.8 to 11.7, p=0.025) and verbal learning (-1.7, -3.2 to -0.3, p=0.022). The BRIEF results indicated that everyday executive functions were significantly worse in the chronic fatigue group compared to the HC (11.2, 8.2 to 14.3, p<0.001). Group differences remained largely unaffected when adjusted for symptoms of depression, anxiety traits and sleep problems. Conclusions Adolescents with chronic fatigue had impaired cognitive function of clinical relevance, measured by objective cognitive tests, in comparison to HC. Working memory and processing speed may represent core difficulties.

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