Rationing of nursing care interventions and its association with nurse-reported outcomes in the neonatal intensive care unit: A cross-sectional survey

Christian M. Rochefort, Bailey A. Rathwell, Sean Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Evidence internationally suggests that staffing constraints and non-supportive work environments result in the rationing of nursing interventions (that is, limiting or omitting interventions for particular patients), which in turn may influence patient outcomes. In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), preliminary studies have found that discharge preparation and infant comfort care are among the most frequently rationed nursing interventions. However, it is unknown if the rationing of discharge preparation is related to lower perceptions of parent and infant readiness for NICU discharge, and if reports of increased rationing of infant comfort care are related to lower levels of perceived neonatal pain control. The purpose of this study was to assess these relationships. Methods: In late 2014, a cross-sectional survey was mailed to 285 Registered Nurses (RNs) working in one of 7 NICUs in the province of Quebec (Canada). The survey contained validated measures of care rationing, parent and infant readiness for discharge, and pain control, as well as items measuring RNs' characteristics. Multivariate regression was used to examine the association between care rationing, readiness for discharge and pain control, while adjusting for RNs' characteristics and clustering within NICUs. Results: Overall, 125 RNs completed the survey; a 44.0 % response rate. Among the respondents, 28.0 and 40.0 % reported rationing discharge preparation and infant comfort care "often" or "very often", respectively. Additionally, 15.2 % of respondents felt parents and infants were underprepared for NICU discharge, and 54.4 % felt that pain was not well managed on their unit. In multivariate analyses, the rationing of discharge preparation was negatively related to RNs' perceptions of parent and infant readiness for discharge, while reports of rationing of parental support and teaching and infant comfort care were associated with less favourable perceptions of neonatal pain control. Conclusions: The rationing of nursing interventions appears to influence parent and infant readiness for discharge, as well as pain control in NICUs. Future investigations, in neonatal nursing care as well as in other nursing specialties, should address objectively measured patient outcomes (such as objective pain assessments and post-discharge outcomes assessed through administrative data).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number46
JournalBMC Nursing
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 2016

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Neonatal Intensive Care Units
Infant Care
Nursing Care
Cross-Sectional Studies
Nurses
Pain
Nursing
Neonatal Nursing
Nursing Specialties
Pain Perception
Quebec
Pain Measurement
Canada
Cluster Analysis
Teaching
Multivariate Analysis
Parents
Surveys and Questionnaires
Patient Comfort

Keywords

  • Care rationing
  • Comfort care
  • Cross-sectional survey
  • Donabedian
  • Neonatal Extent of Work Rationing Instrument
  • Neonatal intensive care unit
  • Neonatal pain
  • Readiness for hospital discharge
  • Registered nurses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

Cite this

Rationing of nursing care interventions and its association with nurse-reported outcomes in the neonatal intensive care unit : A cross-sectional survey. / Rochefort, Christian M.; Rathwell, Bailey A.; Clarke, Sean.

In: BMC Nursing, Vol. 15, No. 1, 46, 02.08.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Background: Evidence internationally suggests that staffing constraints and non-supportive work environments result in the rationing of nursing interventions (that is, limiting or omitting interventions for particular patients), which in turn may influence patient outcomes. In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), preliminary studies have found that discharge preparation and infant comfort care are among the most frequently rationed nursing interventions. However, it is unknown if the rationing of discharge preparation is related to lower perceptions of parent and infant readiness for NICU discharge, and if reports of increased rationing of infant comfort care are related to lower levels of perceived neonatal pain control. The purpose of this study was to assess these relationships. Methods: In late 2014, a cross-sectional survey was mailed to 285 Registered Nurses (RNs) working in one of 7 NICUs in the province of Quebec (Canada). The survey contained validated measures of care rationing, parent and infant readiness for discharge, and pain control, as well as items measuring RNs' characteristics. Multivariate regression was used to examine the association between care rationing, readiness for discharge and pain control, while adjusting for RNs' characteristics and clustering within NICUs. Results: Overall, 125 RNs completed the survey; a 44.0 % response rate. Among the respondents, 28.0 and 40.0 % reported rationing discharge preparation and infant comfort care "often" or "very often", respectively. Additionally, 15.2 % of respondents felt parents and infants were underprepared for NICU discharge, and 54.4 % felt that pain was not well managed on their unit. In multivariate analyses, the rationing of discharge preparation was negatively related to RNs' perceptions of parent and infant readiness for discharge, while reports of rationing of parental support and teaching and infant comfort care were associated with less favourable perceptions of neonatal pain control. Conclusions: The rationing of nursing interventions appears to influence parent and infant readiness for discharge, as well as pain control in NICUs. Future investigations, in neonatal nursing care as well as in other nursing specialties, should address objectively measured patient outcomes (such as objective pain assessments and post-discharge outcomes assessed through administrative data).

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KW - Readiness for hospital discharge

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