Emergency department shift change is associated with pneumonia in patients with acute ischemic stroke

Erica M. Jones, Karen C. Albright, Marco Fossati-Bellani, James E. Siegler, Sheryl Martin-Schild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE-: Emergency department (ED) nurses play a pivotal role in early acute ischemic stroke patient management. We hypothesized that patients exposed to ED nursing shift changes (SC) may develop pneumonia (PNA) more frequently and have worse early outcomes than do patients who have continuity of care until stroke unit admission. METHODS-: Consecutive acute ischemic stroke patients presenting to our ED were studied using chart review and prospectively collected registry data. We evaluated the association of patient presence during an ED SC (ie, 07:00-08:00, 19:00-20:00) with length of stay in the ED, PNA rates, and early outcome measures (discharge disposition, modified Rankin Scale score, and death). RESULTS-: Three hundred sixty-six consecutive acute ischemic stroke patients met the criteria. Of those, 54.9% were present during an SC. After adjusting for baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, admission glucose, and intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator, patients present during SC were half as likely to be discharged home or to inpatient rehab (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.26-0.96; P=0.04) and were 2.5 times more likely to develop PNA (OR, 2.54; 95% CI, 1.02-6.30; P=0.045). After additional adjustment for time in the ED, the difference in favorable discharge disposition was no longer significant, but SC was associated with 5 times the odds of PNA (OR, 5.35; 95% CI, 1.34-21.39; P=0.018) compared with patients with continuity of care. CONCLUSIONS-: In our center, acute ischemic stroke patients present during an ED nursing SC experienced higher rates of PNA and had decreased rates of favorable discharge disposition compared with patients with continuity of care. Strategies to prevent PNA and improve hand-off communication during SC may reduce this risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3226-3230
Number of pages5
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • acute stroke
  • complications
  • nursing
  • outcomes
  • pneumonia
  • shift change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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