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More lives saved with 24/7 enhanced staffing in medical ICU
Date:11/29/2010

In a first-of-its-kind study to measure the impact of the highest recommended specialist staffing levels in an intensive care unit, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that increased staffing by specially trained physicians and other health care professionals can enhance patient survival and enable patients to breathe sooner without assistance. The results of the study have been released online ahead of print in the journal Critical Care Medicine.

The researchers analyzed the files of patients in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore two years before and two years after a move from a 10-bed MICU to a 29-bed state-of-the-art facility with larger patient rooms.

"The older MICU was already performing very well in the care of patients, and yet we found the changes with the transition to the new MICU made an even greater difference. The changes resulted in a 19 percent decrease in mortality in the intensive care unit and a 16 percent decrease in hospital-wide mortality," says principal investigator Giora Netzer, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology and preventive medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Prior to the move, the MICU was staffed eight hours daily, seven days a week, with physicians who specialize in intensive and critical care medicine. The unit also had a nursing ratio of one nurse for every 1.7 patients, a ratio that is associated with better outcomes. The physician staffing level was consistent with the recommendations of the Leapfrog Group, an organization that publishes a national, public comparison of hospitals on key safety and quality issues.

After the move, UMMC's MICU adopted an even higher level of staffing, 24-hour critical care physician coverage, as recommended b
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Contact: BILL SEILER
bseiler@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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