Background: Little is known about the relation between patient complexity and nursing care of total hip arthroplasty (THA) patients. To improve patient care and hospital logistics, the aim of this study is to gain insight into the relation between patient complexity and the nursing staffs actual and perceived workload at an orthopedic ward during admission for a THA.
Design: Prospective cohort study of 45 THA patients in the year 2014. Duration and type of nursing care activities were recorded during the first postoperative morning. A questionnaire was used to analyze the perceived workload of the nursing staff. Both actual and perceived workload were analyzed for their relation with patient complexity, expressed in the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score, Charlson comorbidity index (CCI), Katz Activities of Daily Life score (Katz-ADL) and Body Mass Index (BMI).
Results: No relation was found between actual workload and measures for patient complexity. The perceived workload of the nursing staff was related to two complexity measures: ASA (r = 0.71; p <0.001) and CCI (r = 0.65; p = 0.002).
Conclusion: Patient comorbidity is related to the perceived workload of the nursing staff during admission for a THA. Patient complexity is not related to actual workload. This study gives a first insight into the relation between patient comorbidity and nursing staff workload, to try to improve staffing numbers at the ward as well as patient care in the process.