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Nursing workload in a Brazilian adult intensive care unit: cross sectional study

Authors: Denise Espindola Castro1, Débora Feijó Villas Bôas Vieira2, Jeane Cristine de Souza da Silveira1, Aline Valli de Leão1, Cristini Klein1 1Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – Porto Alegre (RS), Brasil; 2Escola de Enfermagem, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – Porto Alegre (RS), Brasil

Objective: This study aimed to describe the nursing workload and profile of the patients hospitalized in Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Methods: A descriptive, quantitative, retrospective study conducted in one ICU of an University Hospital from
south of Brazil, from January to June 2017. The nursing workload was assessed using the Nursing Activities
Score (NAS). To data collection, we used a database of a monitoring system called EPIMED.

Results: 879 hospitalizations were evaluated, 90% were clinic patients, predominantly male, with a mean age was 58±18 years. Patients’ origin was the emergency ward (41%). The main reason for admission in ICU was infection or sepsis (49.5%). For patients’ severity score indexes, the mean SAPS 3 was 61 ±17.5 and SOFA 6,2±4,5. The mean length of stay in ICU was 6 days, rehospitalization rate in 48 hours was 13% and the death rate was 28%. It measured and analyzed 2507 NAS. The NAS average was 72%, which is equivalente to 17 work hours during 24h of nursing care. The majority of the patients (57%) present moderate NAS (50% to 80%), 18% with high NAS (81-100%), 12.5% with very high NAS (>100%) and 12.5% present low level NAS (<50%).

Conclusion: The results of this study showed that the workload of the unit was similiar in comparison with other Brazilian studies, as well as severity score indexes. Other studies are needed to better understand the relationship between workload and patient severty to improve the quality of nursing care.