Heavier workloads for hospital residents and their supervisors can lead to increased lengths of stay for patients, greater costs and higher risks of death, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The authors analyzed data on 5,742 adults admitted between July 1998 and June 2001 to the general medicine service of theUniversity of California at San Francisco ’s Moffitt-Long Hospital . Each additional admission for a team of caregivers led to higher costs and additional risks for all the team’s patients, according to the study. Risks increased substantially when a team admitted more than nine patients. At the same time, a "higher average team census was associated with reduced resource use, perhaps reflecting service-level adaptations to the workload," according to the report. Michael Ong, a physician and researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles , said hospitals and resident-training programs must find ways to respond to higher workloads, including using discharge planners and improving oversight of teams with high workloads.
Caregivers’ big workloads raise risks
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