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ICU Mobility Program Saves $500K in 6 Months

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, March 18, 2014

A program to get mechanically ventilated and post-operative ICU patients up and moving quickly represented a huge culture change for nurses, but it reduced length of stay and eliminated pressure ulcers and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

A nurse-driven ambulatory initiative at Duke Raleigh Hospital's ICU saved $589,824 over six months, and is projected to save nearly $1.2 million over a year.

The whole thing kicked off with bingo, trivia, t-shirts, and lots of food at a two-day event last April.

That event ushered in the ICU's six-month early progressive mobility (EPM) program that was made possible by a $10,000 grant from American Association of Critical-Care Nurses' Clinical Scene Investigator Academy. The AACN CSI Academy aims to "empower bedside nurses as clinician leaders and change agents" through programs that are developed and implemented by nursing teams, according to AACN.

Duke Raleigh's EPM work aimed to get mechanically ventilated and post-operative patients up and moving sooner, sometimes as soon as they're admitted to the ICU, in an effort to decrease the cost and length of stay as well days on mechanical ventilator.

Research has shown that getting ICU patients moving sooner can also reduce the amount of muscle wasting and infections, says Kristin Merritt, MSN, MBA, RN, NE-BC, CCRN, ICU neuroscience nurse manager at Duke Raleigh.

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4 comments on "ICU Mobility Program Saves $500K in 6 Months"


Paula Pless (5/6/2014 at 1:45 PM)
The article does not indicate how the patients were mobilized. In order to make it easier, safer and more efficient SPH equipment needed to be used. What equipment facilitated the early movement of dependent patients? As well as how were patients mobilized while they were improving their functional mobility status? It is critical that we recognize the need for patient lift equipment to mobilize patients who would otherwise in the "old days" be manually lifted. The reason why many patients are not mobilized early on is due to the physicality of manually lifting and the lack of SPH equipment. Quality and length of stay gain a positive impact from SPH programs. I am assuming that this facility has ceiling lifts, Booms and other SPH equipment. I wish the article would have detailed those important details. Could someone respond and indicate the SPH piece of this success story. Paula Pless Director SPH Kaleida Health Western NY

Patti Williams, RN (3/24/2014 at 1:37 PM)
Kudos to the Nurses at Duke Raleigh Hospital!!

Stefani Daniels (3/18/2014 at 6:27 PM)
I don't know if I should be happy or humiliated...as a critical care nurse in the 1970s, getting patients out of bed - especially the fresh CABG patients, was an expectation not an event.