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

y the American College of Critical Care Medicine. In addition, clinical pharmacists were assigned to evaluate patients at the bedside daily. Also, the number of respiratory therapists was increased to bring the pre-move ratio of one therapist for every 24 patients to the post-move ratio of one therapist for every 10 patients. The nursing staffing remained unchanged.

"We believed that increasing staffing levels to meet the American College of Critical Care Medicine guidelines would save more lives, but the recommendations had never been tested in an intensive care unit," says Dr. Netzer. "This was the first study to actually examine the effect of those recommendations. We found that taking the staffing to an even higher level may save even more lives."

Dr. Netzer continues, "Other research indicates that if every urban intensive care unit adopted the Leapfrog Group's recommendations nationally, we would save 50,000 lives per year. Our study suggests that if all units increased the staffing even further to the levels that we achieved, we could actually save an additional 20,000 lives if implemented nationwide."

The researchers conducted a single-center, retrospective, observational study of 1,263 patients admitted to the University of Maryland Medical Center MICU between April 19, 2004, and April 18, 2006, before the move to new quarters, and 2,424 patients admitted between September 5, 2006, and September 4, 2009, after the changes.

Patients admitted to the new MICU were similar to those before the changes. There were no differences in gender, co-existing illnesses and risk factors or expected intensity of care. The medical director of the MICU did not change nor did the nursing leadership. There was no change in laboratory, radiology or consultant services after the switch, which continued to be fully available 24 hours daily.

In addition to greater survival rates, the changes in MICU staffing resulted in o
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Contact: BILL SEILER
bseiler@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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