Patient Classification Systems ( Pcs ) Tools Essay
Patient classification systems (PCS) tools are designed to dictate safe and appropriate staffing levels. PCS were developed in the 1970’s partly in response to the Health Maintenance Organizational act of 1973 aimed at controlling health care costs (Hoven, 2004). Hospital organizations began the institution of PCS tools to accurately measure staffing needs and to flex staff according to patient care needs and continuous fluctuations in patient census. The challenge was to find a tool which accurately reflected patient acuity based on a defined patient population and apply that tool to determine a safe nurse to patient ratio.
CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange California utilizes a PCS. CHOC Children’s has utilized this tool since the late 1980’s and further refined the acuity scores based on new evidence of flaws in the former tool (Harper & McCully, 2007). Five care indicators were developed to differentiate specific patient characteristics and tailored to each nursing specialty unit. They are: medications, treatments, procedures, teaching, and psychosocial support. The nursing staff uses definitions for each care indicator to assign an acuity score to each patient. Nurse to patient ratio is then determined. Patient acuity was done on a paper scoring tool and collated into data reports by nursing supervisors. CHOC Children’s utilizes an electronic medical record (EMR) and a hybrid medical record. Six months ago the PCS was…