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Physicians, nurses overestimate their care quality, study says

According to a new study published in the journal Critical Care Medicine, in the hours leading up to a serious complication, physicians and nurses may overestimate the quality of care given to their hospital patients.

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Researchers at the Academic Medical Center of Amsterdam examined 47 patient records and 198 interviews between April and July 2009, and found a disconnect between the care quality measured by independent experts and the care given by the nurses and physicians.

According to the research, for 60 percent (28 of the patients) of the cases analyzed there was a delay in spotting patient deterioration leading up to a crisis or critical situation. Researchers concluded that 38 of the patients should have been considered “at risk” in the two days leading up to the critical situation.

The physicians and nurses gave themselves higher marks in communication, cooperation and care coordination and reported far fewer delays.

[Also: Quality improvement programs put strain on nursing shortage]

Nurses, doctors-in-training and specialists only recognized a delay in spotting patient deterioration in 31 percent, 19 percent and 15 percent of the cases, respectively. The healthcare workers saw no delay in 65 percent, 71 percent and 80 percent of cases, respectively.

Patients with cardiopulmonary arrests and unplanned intensive care unit admissions from six medical nursing wards were included in this research, and all of the nurses and doctors involved in the cases were interviewed.

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