Comparison of Unit-Level Patient Turnover Measures in Acute Care Hospital Settings

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High patient turnover is a critical factor increasing nursing workload. Despite the growing number of studies on patient turnover, no consensus about how to measure turnover has been achieved. This study was designed to assess the correlation among patient turnover measures commonly used in recent studies and to examine the degree of agreement among the measures for classifying units with different levels of patient turnover. Using unit-level data collected for this study from 292 units in 88 hospitals participating in the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators®, we compared four patient turnover measures: the inverse of length of stay (1/LOS), admissions, discharges, and transfers per daily census (ADTC), ADTC with short-stay adjustment, and the number of ADTs and short-stay patients divided by the total number of treated patients, or Unit Activity Index (UAI). We assessed the measures' agreement on turnover quartile classifications, using percent agreement and Cohen's kappa statistic (weighted and unweighted). Pearson correlation coefficients also were calculated. ADTC with or without adjustment for short-stay patients had high correlations and substantial agreement with the measure of 1/LOS (κ = .62 to .91; r = .90 to .95). The UAI measure required data less commonly collected by participating hospital units and showed only moderate correlations and fair agreement with the other measures (κ = .23 to .39; r = .41 to .45). The UAI may not be comparable and interchangeable with other patient turnover measures when data are obtained from multiple units and hospitals. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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