MONDAY, Feb. 13, 2023 (HealthDay News) — For very low birth weight (VLBW) infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), missed clinical nursing care is associated with an increased likelihood of bloodstream infections and a longer length of stay, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in Medical Care Research and Review.

Eileen T. Lake, Ph.D., R.N., from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the association between missed nursing care and mortality, morbidity, and longer length of stay for VLBW infants in U.S. NICUs from 190 sample hospitals in 19 states. The authors evaluated 2016 administrative data for 7,595 VLBW newborns and 6,963 NICU registered nurse survey responses.

The researchers observed a significant association for missed clinical nursing care with increased odds of bloodstream infection and longer length of stay, but no association was seen with mortality or severe intraventricular hemorrhage.

“These results warrant replication in a more diverse sample and with stronger experimental or quasi-experiment designs to test whether the associations are causal,” the authors write. “Refining the body of evidence linking missed care with VLBW infant outcomes is critical to eventually designing targeted interventions across hospitals to improve nurse staffing-related NICU outcomes.”

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