Study 2021-03 (HSR) Nurse staffing levels on intensive care units

Ongoing study - This study aims to evaluate nurse staffing levels and related factors (e.g. work environment, qualification level) on Belgian intensive care units (ICUs). The study includes four main parts. A first part includes a review of the literature addressing two topics: 1) assessment of the relationship between nurse staffing levels and patient- and nurse outcomes on ICU; 2) identify and evaluate scoring systems that aim to quantify the workload on ICU.

In a second part, the nurse survey conducted within the scope of KCE report 325 on nurse staffing levels in general internal medicine and surgery units, will be replicated on ICUs. This will allow us to evaluate patient-to-nurse ratios, educational level of nurses, nursing work environment (e.g. nurse-physician relationships), and nurse outcomes (e.g. burnout, intention to leave the profession) in Belgian ICUs. 

In a third part of the study, the workload on ICUs will be measured by comparing the output of the Nursing Minimum Data Set with other scoring systems such as the Nursing Activity Score (NAS) to evaluate the agreement between both registration systems and to assess if one scoring system is more appropriate to measure workload on ICU. 

In a fourth part, focus groups (including nurses, physicians, management) will be conducted to draw lessons on ICU-staffing based on the COVID-19 pandemic. 
This study runs in parallel with KCE study HSR-2021-11 in which the organisation and payment system of Belgian ICU will be evaluated.

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