"Other staff couldn't ignore it. This was serious, this was a big deal," she says. Also, the nurses involved in the program found that getting patients up and moving took fewer people and less time than they initially thought it would. It also got easier with practice.
The program's six-month results were impressive. In addition to the half million dollars in savings, there were some remarkable patient outcomes, too.
"We did not have any pressure ulcers, no patient falls, and no ventilator-associated pneumonia," says Merritt. "Sometimes in an ICU those kinds of measures are just kind of unheard of."
Merritt adds that one "unexpected" outcome was that the ICU's HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores improved, too. Patients and families really liked the program and responded well to it, she says.
Also, the unit's "communication skills became better because it was at the forefront for always talking with patients and families," Merritt says.
Now, the initiative is permanent, and as of February 8, early progressive mobility is protocol is throughout the Duke Raleigh ICU. That's a long way from a bingo game.