What is GERFIN
Numerous international studies have already shown that a higher proportion of qualified nurses in the nursing team reduces the risk for patients of dying or complications in hospital. The analysis of data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) confirms these relationships for Switzerland as well. "We have it in black and white: Investments in nursing staff save millions of dollars and save hundreds of lives," says Yvonne Ribi, the managing director of the SBK, who commissioned the study.
Acute hospitals: savings potential of CHF 357 million, 243 deaths avoided
The BFS data from 135 hospitals and more than 1.2 million patients were compiled by a team led by nursing scientist Prof. Dr. Michael Simon (Universities of Basel and Bern) and the economist Prof. Dr. Michael Gerfin (University of Bern) analyzed. The aim was to examine the influence of the care hours performed and the composition of the care team on adverse events and length of stay.
The analysis shows that the risk of adverse events increases the less qualified care hours are performed per day. If fewer than 9.5 qualified nursing hours are available per day and the proportion of qualified nurses is less than 75 percent, the risk of death increases by 2 percent. That corresponds to 243 deaths per year. For other adverse events, such as metabolic imbalances, the connection is even clearer.
The data also show that a lower proportion of qualified nurses leads to longer hospital stays: less than 10.0 qualified nursing hours per day and less than 88% qualified nursing staff in the nursing team lead to 223,020 additional nursing days and thus to costs of 357 million francs per year.
Nursing homes: avoidable hospital admissions cost 100 million
42 percent of hospital admissions from nursing homes could be avoided, as the InterCare study by the University of Basel shows. This results in unnecessary additional costs of around 100 million francs each year. Avoidable hospital admissions take place, for example, due to acute worsening of a chronic illness. These could be prevented if there are enough qualified nursing staff in the homes who can react in good time and initiate the necessary measures. InterCare recommends, for example, the use of Advanced Practice Nurses.
Outpatient long-term care: potential savings of at least 1.5 billion
Only about 4.6 percent of hospital admissions for people over 65 are from nursing homes. The volume of avoidable hospital admissions from the outpatient sector is consequently many times higher, the potential savings amount to at least 1.5 billion Swiss francs.
Conclusion: Investing in nurses is worthwhile
“The figures now available clearly show that it is financially worthwhile to invest in the qualification of nursing staff. The calculation is simple: Increase the proportion of qualified nurses in the hospitals to 80 percent. This increases the wage bill by a few million francs, but it saves 357 million. The effect is even more pronounced in long-term care. And that's just the financial side. The unnecessary suffering that you prevent cannot be quantified », says Yvonne Ribi. "These figures must flow into the political discussions when there is a debate about cost-containment measures, patient safety and the nursing initiative," she emphasizes.
Further information can be found in the attached factsheet, which also contains the links to the studies mentioned.
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