Appropriate nursing staff ratios in COVID-19

Tutorial presented by Paula Gallent, Ward Manager.

A nurse:patient ratio describes the number of patients to every nurse on a ward. Factors that should be considered when deciding what a safe nurse:patient ratio includes:

  • Adequate monitoring and titration of treatment for the patients in their care
  • Enough staff to be able to relieve for breaks
  • Suitably trained member of the team who can recognise deterioration

On a COVID-19 ward, nurse staffing ratios are different depending on the type of ward. In an area where patients are receiving aerosol generating procedures (e.g. CPAP or HFNO), the recommendation is one nurse to three patients (3:1). In an area where patients have confirmed COVID-19, the recommended ratio is six patients to one nurse (6:1).

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