Most older adults worry reform will hurt healthcare quality

Most older Americans worry about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may affect hospital patient care and staffing quality, according to an announcement from API Healthcare.

A December survey of 1,700 U.S. adults, commissioned by API and conducted online by Harris Interactive, found that 82 percent of Americans aged 30 and older believe nurses are spread too thin, with 69 percent concerned that millions of new patients entering the healthcare system will cause an overall decrease in quality, according to the statement.

The Harris Poll also found that:

  • Forty percent of of respondents say they have personally seen inferior-quality care from hospital nursing staff;

  • Sixty-three percent of those surveyed say they do not know for sure what effect the ACA will have on their providers; and

  • Seventy-five percent consider hospital nurse quality a more pressing concern than the availability of their electronic medical records (EMRs).

"With declining reimbursements, hospitals simply can't afford the staffing status quo, and our survey findings indicate that consumers are anxious to know how these changes to the business of healthcare will affect their personal medical care," API President and CEO J.P. Fingado said in the statement. "Hospitals and health systems need to optimize their staffing now so that they can better manage the influx of patients and the pressures of delivering quality care at a lower cost."

In light of these concerns, healthcare providers must work to personalize staff to fit patient needs, API Vice President of Nursing Karlene Kerfoot said. "As healthcare reform delivery models create the responsibility for patient outcomes across the care continuum, hospitals must be capable of mobilizing their staff in any setting, at any time," she said in the statement.

One solution may include more patient involvement in the nursing process; a study last November found that actively involving patients in nurses' shift changes improved both outcome and patient experience, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the announcement