Healthcare worker fatigue contributes to 1,600 patient safety events in Pennsylvania

Fatigue contributed to more than 1,600 events reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (PPSA), according to an article in Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory. Thirty-seven of those incidents were adverse events, with four of them leading to patient deaths. Medication errors and mistakes related to a procedure, treatment or test made up 88.5 percent of the events related to fatigue. The most significant error risk involves nurses working 12.5 hours or longer, the report found.

"Recent literature shows that one of the first efforts made to reduce events related to fatigue was targeted to limiting the hours worked," Theresa V. Arnold, manager, clinical analysis for the PPSA, said in a statement. "However, further study suggests a more comprehensive approach is needed, as simply reducing hours does not address fatigue that is caused by disruption in sleep and extended work hours." Article