Today in Massachusetts hospitals, there is no law and no limit to guide the number of patients that can be assigned to a nurse at one time (aside from the ICU). Massachusetts hospitals are facing deteriorating patient care conditions, leading to more complications, readmissions, and errors, as well as longer hospital stays and real life-threatening risks.
The Patient Safety Act will dramatically improve patient safety in Massachusetts hospitals by setting a safe maximum limit on the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time, while providing flexibility to adjust nurses’ patient assignments based on specific patient needs.
The initiative is supported by a broad coalition from across Massachusetts, including registered nurses, patients and family members, health and safety organizations, community groups, unions and elected officials.
The filing of the Patient Safety Act comes on the heels of dozens of prominent research studies and reports that show the need to set a maximum limit on the number of patients that can be assigned to each registered nurse at one time if we are to avoid mistakes, serious complications and preventable readmissions.