SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Hospital patients would experience an enhanced level of nursing care under legislation sponsored by state Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago, which would require mandatory nurse staffing ratios.
“When nurses are stretched too thin in caring for very sick patients, they are unable to provide quality care to people whose lives depend on it,” said Mah. “This measure is needed to keep patients safe, reduce medical errors and help ensure patients and their families receive sufficient medical attention, comfort and emotional support.”
Mah’s House Bill 2604 creates the Safe Patient Limits Act, which would improve patient safety and the quality of care by setting a safe maximum limit on the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time. A survey from the American Nurses Association (ANA) reported that more than half of nurses don’t have sufficient time to respond to the needs of all of their patients, and that unsafe staffing ratios are associated with higher patient mortality rates.
“Nurses should not be trapped in the unfortunate position of having to prioritize care for their sickest patient, while neglecting others who also need care at the same time,” said Mah. “In addition to improving the work environment for nurses, this bill will help ensure all patients are properly cared for and that their safety comes first.”
House Bill 2604 passed the House Labor and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. Mah is serving her second term representing the 2nd District, which includes the Chicago neighborhoods of McKinley Park, Pilsen, Chinatown, Bridgeport, Brighton Park and Back of the Yards. For more information, please contact Mah’s district office at 872-281-5775.