The study by the Nursing Effectiveness, Utilization and Outcomes Research Unit also found that patients' knowledge and behaviour relating to their own health needs are more likely to improve if their home care nurse has a baccalaureate degree, compared to nurses without degrees. The research unit launched the study, published in two parts in the November-December and January-February issues of Nursing Economics, to determine the type of care clients need to return to optimal health in a system that has seen an increasing shift of services from hospital to home over the last decade. The study examines a number of factors influencing the cost and quality of home care services.
"Home care administrators and decision makers can use these results to develop practice guidelines and hiring procedures that ensure the appropriate deployment of workforce resources to better meet client needs," says Professor Linda-Lee O'Brien-Pallas of the Faculty of Nursing, Canadian Health Services Research Foundation/Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair in Nursing Human Resources. "The scarcity of nursing resources requires a closer examination of the impact of nursing skill mix on productivity and outcomes."
The researchers studied nurses and clients at a not-for-profit, publicly funded home nursing service in Toronto. Along with nurse education, they also looked at factors such as the number and type of diagnoses to explain variations in client progress.