New ways to help shorten hospital stays for your critical care patients
Thursday, February 27, 2020
As a hospital administrator, your ongoing goals are to ensure your facility provides the best care outcomes possible and to get your patients quickly and safely back home. Your care teams may be able to accomplish these important goals more easily through innovations being developed via cutting-edge research.
Read on about these simple, yet potentially game-changing developments. A few simple implementations could benefit your patients enormously.
Consider vitamin C for ICU patients.
A recent study from University of Helsinki and University of Sydney researchers found that since critically ill patients recovering may have low vitamin C plasma levels, giving them up to 4 grams per day when medically safe and appropriate could shorten an ICU stay by 8%. Vitamin C can have a beneficial effect on patients dealing with a variety of conditions from infections to post-surgical recovery.
Use an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery protocol to help bariatric surgical patients recover faster.
Research from last year, presented at the American College of Surgeons Quality and Safety Conference, found that using an enhanced recovery pathway cut these patients' hospital stays in half, reduced readmissions by 33%, and cut the need for take-home opioid prescriptions by 95%.
The protocol used involves educating patients about pain management; eliminates use of a PCA pump and standard opioids in favor of using multimodal pain meds; and follows a pain relief protocol instead of giving opioids as patients ask for them.
Employ a standard medication in a new way to fight delirium.
Many ICU patients suffer from delirium while recovering from serious illness. However, a recent study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that simply administering acetaminophen can help reduce the incidence of this condition and subsequently shorten a stay in a critical care unit.
Fight inflammation every step of the way.
A second Beth Israel study found that cancer patients who are treated for inflammation both as a preventative measure and after chemo or surgery may actually be able to avoid recurrences of their disease in the future.
Keep innovation individualized.
Hold frequent staff research updates during which you can present and discuss various developments with your physicians and nursing staff. Urge your teams to evaluative and utilize this information carefully on a case-by-case basis. Also, inform and explain any innovative treatments so that your patients understand how all treatments may benefit them. Knowledge is power — and so is communication!
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