, December 2, 2010

Increased MICU staffing can enhance patient survival and enable patients to breathe sooner without assistance, according to research published in Critical Care Medicine.

The researchers analyzed the files of patients in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore two years before and two years after a move from a 10-bed MICU to a 29-bed state-of-the-art facility.

The changes resulted in a 19 percent decrease in mortality in the ICU and a 16 percent decrease in hospital-wide mortality.

Even in a high-functioning MICU, "targeted reorganization and investment has been associated with further, substantial improvements in patient outcomes," the investigators report. "By establishing an even higher standard of ICU staffing and care, it may be possible to effect even greater increases in survival," and "potentially even greater overall cost effectiveness than previously estimated with traditional, high-intensity physician staffing."

The observational study was composed of 1,263 patients admitted to the UMMC MICU before the move to new quarters, and 2,424 admitted after the move.

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