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$2.3 million NIH grant to UCF will help improve critical patient care
Date:6/10/2014

More than one hospital television drama has played out an emergency room scene where a patient has to be "tubed" to re-establish breathing.

Intubating and placing patients on ventilators saves lives, but it also comes with risks especially for people who are critically ill. According to several studies, use of ventilators is associated with complications, such as pneumonia. If this occurs, the patient's risk for death doubles. Pneumonia in these patients occurs from many factors, including leakage of saliva and other fluids from the mouth into the lungs around the breathing tube, termed aspiration.

UCF College of Nursing Interim Dean and Orlando Health Distinguished Professor Mary Lou Sole hopes to change the odds for patients by improving the way nurses manage their patients' care when they need a ventilator.

She has spent more than 20 years studying nursing care practices for managing the patients who have breathing tubes, both as a researcher and a practicing nurse. She started her career in a hospital intensive care unit and saw first hand the complications she studies.

In her preliminary research, Sole found that many critically-ill patients have a lot of saliva and other fluids in the mouth increasing their risk for pneumonia, and she identified the best way to remove these fluids. The National Institutes of Health recently awarded Sole a $2.3 million grant to determine if regular removal of fluids that accumulate in the mouth and the back of the throat can also help prevent aspiration.

About 300,000 people require ventilators each year. Patients who develop pneumonia have an increase in up to $40,000 in costs and hospital stays of up to 10 additional days. And it's not a comfortable process for patients either.

"We want to prevent complications," Sole said. "We want to improve outcomes, reduce harms and improve the quality of life for patients. If we can do that, there also will likely be a d
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Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
zenaida.kotala@ucf.edu
407-823-6120
University of Central Florida
Source:Eurekalert  

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$2.3 million NIH grant to UCF will help improve critical patient care
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