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Shifting Care of Chronic Ventilator-Dependent Patients from the Intensive Care Unit to the Nursing Home

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Abstract:

Background: Among the most resource intensive and challenging of medical needs is the treatment of patients requiring long-term or chronic mechanical ventilation. Expenditures are significant, and definitions of "successful weaning," are often inconsistent. A weaning program was initiated for patients referred to a standalone nursing home ventilator unit.

Methods: Weaning entailed standardized weaning protocols, enhanced socialization, a multidisciplinary approach to care, empowerment of staff to initiate weaning, and aggressive utilization of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) in selected patients.

Results: Sixty-eight (67%) of 102 patients were successfully weaned during a six-year period. NPPV facilitated successful weaning in 27 (26%) of 102 patients. Of the 28 chronic ventilator-dependent patients admitted with a neuromuscular etiology for respiratory failure, NPPV was utilized in 73% (8/11) of the successfully weaned patients. Total variable costs per ventilator per patient per day for the years 1998–2000 were $319.79, $302.75, and $297.59. Six-year cost savings for referring hospitals were estimated at $18.5 million.

Discussion: Incentives were aligned between the hospital, nursing home, and physicians to develop a financially stable model. Developing an off-site nursing home ventilator unit resulted in significant cost savings to the referring hospitals and positively affected patient flow.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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