Nursing care complexity in a psychiatric setting: results of an observational study

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Abstract

Accessible summary

  • For nurses working in mental health service settings, it is a priority to perform patient assessment to identify patients' general risks.
  • Patients' clinical status is the primary factor to consider when measuring care complexity, as well as when assessing the required nursing workload.
  • This study highlights that there is a relationship between the complexity of psychiatric patient care, which was assigned a numerical value after the nursing assessment, and the occurrence of psychiatric adverse events in the recent histories of the patients.
  • This study provides a useful and effective tool for quantifying the complexity of psychiatric patient nursing care and evaluating the appropriateness of the nursing staff, the number of required nurses, their competence and their skill mix.

Abstract

For nurses working in mental health service settings, it is a priority to perform patient assessments to identify patients’ general and behavioural risks and nursing care complexity using objective criteria, to meet the demand for care and to improve the quality of service by reducing health threat conditions to the patients’ selves or to others (adverse events). This study highlights that there is a relationship between the complexity of psychiatric patient care, which was assigned a numerical value after the nursing assessment, and the occurrence of psychiatric adverse events in the recent histories of the patients. The results suggest that nursing supervision should be enhanced for patients with high care complexity scores.

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