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Injury. 2005 Jun;36(6):710-3. Epub 2005 Mar 24.

The practice of out-lying patients is dangerous: a multicentre comparison study of nursing care provided for trauma patients.

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Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, South Glamorgan, UK.


Pressure for acute hospital beds is a national problem with many acute trauma patients being admitted to non-trauma wards. This prospective multicentre questionnaire study of 220 qualified trauma and non-trauma nurses aims to compare the quality of nursing care that trauma patients receive when admitted to trauma wards and non-trauma wards. The questions included the nursing management of common fractures and post-operative conditions. The completed questionnaires were scored and the results analysed. Hundred percent of the questionnaires were completed and returned. The trauma nurses conveyed the importance of ice (85%) and elevation (97%) in the initial management of limb fractures. This compares with ice (10%) and elevation (50%) on the outlying wards. Trauma nurses correctly monitor for potentially devastating post-operative complications and compartment syndrome 87% of the time compared with 42% on outlying wards. Spinal injuries are managed appropriately 88% of the time on trauma wards compared with 36% on outlying wards. Trauma patients receive better nursing care when admitted to a trauma ward and are nursed by trauma nurses. Many of the out-lying wards provide sub-optimal trauma nursing care and a few are positively dangerous. We suggest that trauma patients should not be nursed on outlying wards.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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