Weakened by critical illness or surgical trauma, many patients in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) are unable to breathe without the aid of mechanical ventilators (breathing apparatus.) These mechanical breathing machines pump air through tubes into the lungs of patients. Sometimes, the tubes delivering air to the patient allow bacteria or secretions to enter into the lungs. As many as 15 percent of ICU patients on breathing machines develop ventilator-associated pneumonia. Already debilitated by their medical condition, patients often have little ability to fight off the added bacteria causing further complications and in some cases death.
At Randolph Hospital a team spearheaded by our Intensive Care Unit (ICU) worked to identify evidence-based interventions that would reduce the number of ventilator-associated pneumonia patients. Since full implementation of the established interventions we have continued to see positive results leading to fewer complications for patients on ventilators. The evidence-based interventions put into place include: