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Friday, November 12, 2010

Patient Classification System

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Patient Classification System is a method of grouping patients according to the amount and complexity of their nursing care requirements.

Patient classification systems (PCS) assist nurse managers in controlling cost and improving patient care while appropriately using financial resources.

The PCS tool, developed in a small rural hospital, uses 5 broad concepts:
1. medications
2. complicated procedures
3. education
4. psychosocial issues
5. complicated intravenous medications.

These concepts embrace a 4-tiered scale that differentiates significant patient characteristics and assists in staffing measures for equality in patient staffing and improving quality of care and performance. Data obtained through use of the PCS can be used by nurse leaders to effectively and objectively lobby for appropriate patient care resources. Two questionnaires distributed to registered nurses on a medical-surgical unit evaluated the nurses' opinion of the 5 concepts and the importance for establishing patient acuity for in-patient care. Interrater reliability among nurses was 87% with the author's acuity tool.

 For example:

1. The usual patient visit is brief.
2. A single visit may involve multiple distinct encounters.
3. Care often is discontinuous with patients returning for visits at irregular intervals.
4. Patients have widely different care needs from one visit to another.
5. Telephone management and screening are important dimensions of some ambulatory services.
6. Many visits involve no specific medical treatments or procedures and have a limited focus or purpose.



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