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The Relationship Between Patient-Staff Ratio and Reported Patient Incidents
Bruce B. Way; Jeraldine L. Braff; Thomas L. Hafemeister; Steven M. Banks
Psychiatric Services 1992; doi:
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The authors acknowledge the useful comments and suggestions made by Mary E. Evans, Ph.D., and David L. Shern, Ph.D.

New York State Office of Mental Health, 44 Holland Avenue, Albany, New York 12229

National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Virginia

Bureau of Planning Assistance and Coordination of the New York State Office of Mental Health

1992 by the American Psychiatric Association

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The relationship between patient-staff ratio and the prevalence of patient incidents, such as assaults, fighting, suicides, falls, and abuse of patients by staff, was examined at an urban impatient psychiatric center. Stepwise logistic regression was used to analyze 5,375 shifts in 14 high-incident wards representing five types of impatient services; sample periods from three different years were examined. At least one incident occurred during 411 shifts (7.6 percent). More incidents occurred on the day shift and on two specific wards, confirming previous findings of a relationship between incidents and time of day as well as patient characteristics and milieu. However, no relationship between patient-staff ratio and the occurrence of incidents was found. This findings suggests that small increases in the number of ward staff may not reduce the number of patient incidents.

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