BACKGROUND

 
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A new law requiring safe patient assignment limits for ICU nurses is now in effect, and all hospitals and nurses must comply with the law. In ALL ICUs in Massachusetts, the law requires that a staff nurse be assigned one patient at a time. ONLY if the staff nurse has assessed that it is safe for both patients may a nurse ACCEPT the care of a second patient. IF a DPH-certified acuity tool is available, the staff nurse must use the acuity tool to aid them in making their assessments. At no time may a staff nurse accept the care of three or more patients at a time.

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