Should Hospitals Limit the Number of Patients Nurses Can Help?

 

Voters this fall could make Massachusetts only the second state in the country to limit the number of patients that hospital nurses can help at one time.

Question 1 would create legal ratios based on the type of patients that nurses are dealing with. Nurses aiding women during birth and up to two hours after, for instance, would be limited to one patient. If they're working with children, they could see four patients at once. In the psychiatric ward, nurses could help up to five patients.

While nurses unions and progressive political groups back the ballot measure, most medical groups -- including the Massachusetts chapter of the American Nurses Association and the state's Health and Hospital Association -- oppose it.

The ballot measure's supporters argue that not regulating this negatively impacts patient care and overall health outcomes.

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