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Science Update: SCH nurses work to decrease ventilator associated pneumonia
Nurses in critical care units are studying the impact of sedation protocols on patients' risk for pneumonia.

The Swedish Covenant Hospital nursing staff is constantly refining practices and programs to ensure the best treatment for our patients. An important component of this is active research.

Evidence-based practice project in critical care
Mark Richardson, RN, BSN (Nurse Educator) is leading an ongoing study on sedation protocols in the ICU and IMCU. The study focuses on if changes in critical care intubation protocols decrease the number of days patients are on a ventilator, and consequently their risk for ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) rates. The study was developed in 2009 based on preliminary research which indicated that the risk of VAP is exponentially increased when a patient is intubated and on the ventilator for longer than 48 hours.

Data collection examining the length of time Swedish Covenant Hospital patients are intubated began in October 2009, and has continued on and off through this spring. The new protocol, based on the Iowa Model of Evidence-based Practice, requires staff to assess mechanically ventilated patients daily for their neurologic status. This project combines multiple disciplines, including nursing, medicine, pharmacy, pain management and respiratory therapy.

Results from this research are expected by the end of the year.

For more information on this research, please contact Mark Richardson at ext. 2644.