Nursing absenteeism following the introduction of the Northwick Park Dependency Scale Hospital version (NPDS-H) in the rehabilitation setting

Matthew Lowe, Nick Santamaria, Mark Tacey, Lisa Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The aim of this study was to examine the effect of the introduction of the Northwick Park Dependency Scale Hospital version(NPDS-H) on nursing staff absenteeism at the rehabilitation in patient unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital. The study sought to investigate if adjusting staffing levels based on the NPDS-Hpatient dependency scores would result in a change to the personal leave profile of the nursing staff.

The eight-month observational study was conducted over two four-month stages. In Stage One the NPDS-H was introduced into the rehabilitation unit to measure baseline level of patient dependency and the staff absenteeism was recorded. In Stage Two the NPDS-H was used as a trigger for enlisting additional staff to assist with the unit’s workload. The outcome measure utilised in the study was nurses’ personal leave hours.

Results revealed that personal leave significantly decreased from the fourth week of the Stage Two period by an average of 17.4 hours per week (p=0.046) whilst the average NPDS-H score was higher during the same period, indicating that the unit was comparatively busier during this time. Hence, the results of the study suggest that the NPDS-H may be a useful patient dependency measurement instrument and when used to determine and adjust nursing workforce requirements results in a decrease in nursing staff personal leave.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Rehabilitation Nurses Association Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Rehabilitation nursing
  • dependency
  • absenteeism

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