3 Ways Adequate Hospital Staffing Can Benefit Patients

If you work at a hospital, then you know how important it is to have adequate staffing. Poor staffing in any department from maintenance, dietary, and pharmacy, to central supply can have a negative trickle-down effect on patients. Here are three ways adequate hospital staffing can benefit patients:

Timely Medication Distribution

The most crucial department for adequate staffing is the nursing department. If a floor is short-staffed, the patients will suffer in more ways than one. If there are not enough nurses to staff a unit, the med pass will be late, and the patients may not get their medications on time.

While some medications such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, vitamins, eye drops, and topical creams do not have to be administered right on schedule, other medications do. These include blood pressure medications, cardiac drugs, pain medications, and insulin. If a diabetic patient does not receive his or her insulin or oral anti-glycemic drug, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, or diabetic coma can occur. It is therefore imperative that the nursing department be well-staffed so that the patients get their medications in a very timely manner.

On Time Meals

If the hospital dietary department is short-staffed, the meal line will be behind, delaying delivery of the food trays to the patient's rooms. While having strict eating times may not be crucial to some patients, people with diabetes or those who need to eat prior to taking their medications depend on eating their meals on strict schedules.

Medications can make some individuals sick if they take them on empty stomachs, and if diabetics don't have their meals in accordance with their insulin schedules, blood sugar complications can arise.

Clean Linens

The laundry department plays an important role in the health and safety of hospital patients, who depend on clean sheets, pillow cases, blankets, and towels everyday. If the laundry department is short-staffed, the linen and towel cart may not arrive on the floors during morning bath time.

In addition to this, there may not be enough clean linens and towels on the cart in the event a patient has an incontinence accident while in bed. When a patient soils his or her sheets and bedspread, it is imperative that they be replaced with clean ones right away. Not doing so leads to environmental odors, endangers the patient's well-being, and is inhumane. 

If you work at a hospital that is consistently under-staffed, speak with the administrator about ways to improve the situation. One way that might help keep your institution well-staffed is utilizing the services of a hospital staffing agency, offering incentives for employees with perfect attendance, and having an "on-call" program.  Contact a company, like SOS Healthcare Staffing, for more help.