Inside Dominican's Critical Care Unit
The 16 rooms of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) -- or Critical Care Unit (CCU) as it's also known -- are more open so nurses can stay close to patients and communicate easily with each other. And, there's a myriad of high tech equipment, including all sorts of tubes and wires that may be attached to the patient, supporting and monitoring critical body functions.
The key factor requiring intensive care is instability of their blood pressure or blood volume -- called hemodynamics. Nurses and doctors in Dominican's CCU treat patients after open heart and certain other surgeries, lung disease significant enough to require a ventilator, overwhelming infection, severe gastrointestinal bleeding or a serious head injury.
One of the most common concerns of families is the many wires and tubes that may be attached to their loved one's body while in the CCU. The staff uses a wide range of invasive monitoring and assistive devices to help people in crisis.
In addition to receiving round-the-clock care, each patient is visited by an interdisciplinary team of nurses, doctors and other health care professional every day. Staff from pharmacy, respiratory therapy, nutritional services, physical therapy and chaplain services are included. This improves communication tremendously.
Dominican's ICU staff always works to keep families knowledgeable and comfortable about their loved one's care. One communication tool is an easy-to-use information kiosk. The freestanding computer terminal located in the waiting room provides families with basic, objective information about critical care, the Dominican unit and its staff.
Dominican's CCU treats more than 1,000 patients a year.
Critical Care Team Joins Collaborative to Continue Improving
In the never-ending effort to improve outcomes and quality of life for patients, many quality improvement efforts in hospitals continue to focus on critical care.
At Dominican, members of a multi-disciplinary Critical Care Outcomes Committee undertook a series of initiatives as part of a collaborative spawned by the Institute For Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Since the focus at Dominican is always customer/patient satisfaction, our patients and families also have a role in the ICU efforts as well.
Our aim: make critical care process more efficient and effective for the benefit of patients, and integrate in the culture the ability to be agile and adaptable.
Specifically, Dominican intends to:
- Further reduce CCU mortality
- Further reduce CCU length of stay
- Further reduce adverse events per CCU day
- Further reduce complications of CCU stay
Dominican's innovations in critical care are on the leading edge in the field, but that is what it takes in today's high-expectation, low-resource health care environment.