The authors consider methods for determining staffing requirements for a Phase I PACU. Given that the total number of nursing hours per day is limited by budgetary constraints, PACU staffing can be adjusted to minimize the percentage of days that the PACU is full and cannot accept additional patients from the OR. Except for very small PACUs, the number of staffing options is so large that computer optimization methods must be used. In addition, patient acuity must be incorporated into the staffing plan. Methods are described for adjusting staffing requirements when some patient acuities differ from 1 nurse:2 patients, when patients transition from one acuity to another, and when acuity is not known for all patients.
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