ICU Mobility Program Saves $500K in 6 Months

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, 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.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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