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Patients & Public > Research using SSNAP data > Plain English Summaries > Do stroke service staffing levels matter?

Lay summary: Do stroke service staffing levels matter?

This study aimed to investigate whether staffing levels on hospital stroke wards can have an impact on the quality of care and outcomes for stroke patients. The study found that patients were more likely to die on stroke wards with lower numbers of weekend nurses per bed. However, risk of dying was no higher in stroke wards where specialist stroke doctors made ward rounds 7 days a week than in wards where specialist stroke doctors made ward rounds less than 7 days a week.

These findings are consistent with other studies from across healthcare showing that having more nurses per hospital bed results in better patient outcomes. Although it may seem obvious that having each nurse look after a larger number of patients might result in poorer quality care, having good quality evidence has been helpful in informing guidelines and persuading policy makers of the importance of maintaining staffing in a time when healthcare budgets are under ever-increasing pressure.

About the paper:
Paper title: 'Associations between stroke mortality and weekend working by stroke specialist physicians and registered nurses: prospective multicentre cohort study.' 
Year published: 2014
Authors: Benjamin D Bray , Salma Ayis, James Campbell, Geoffrey C Cloud, Martin James, Alex Hoffman, Pippa J Tyrell, Charles D A Wolfe, Anthony G Rudd.

A summary of this paper was published in the article '20 years of researching stroke through audit'.
View the full paper here.
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