Better Nurse Staffing is Associated With Survival for Black Patients and Diminishes Racial Disparities in Survival After In-Hospital Cardiac Arrests

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Racial disparities in survival among patients who had an in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) have been linked to hospital-level factors.

Objectives: To determine whether nurse staffing is associated with survival disparities after IHCA.

Research design: Cross-sectional data from (1) the American Heart Association's Get With the Guidelines-Resuscitation database; (2) the University of Pennsylvania Multi-State Nursing Care and Patient Safety Survey; and (3) The American Hospital Association annual survey. Risk-adjusted logistic regression models, which took account of the hospital and patient characteristics, were used to determine the association of nurse staffing and survival to discharge for black and white patients.

Subjects: A total of 14,132 adult patients aged 18 and older between 2004 and 2010 in 75 hospitals in 4 states.

Results: In models that accounted for hospital and patient characteristics, the odds of survival to discharge was lower for black patients than white patients [odds ratio (OR)=0.70; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.61-0.82]. A significant interaction was found between race and medical-surgical nurse staffing for survival to discharge, such that each additional patient per nurse lowered the odds of survival for black patients (OR=0.92; 95% CI, 0.87-0.97) more than white patients (OR=0.97; 95% CI, 0.93-1.00).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that disparities in IHCA survival between black and white patients may be linked to the level of medical-surgical nurse staffing in the hospitals in which they receive care and that the benefit of being admitted to hospitals with better staffing may be especially pronounced for black patients.