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An Institutionwide Approach to Redesigning Management of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

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Background: Despite widespread training in basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) among hospital personnel, the likelihood of survival from in-hospital cardiac arrests remains low. In 2006 a university-affiliated tertiary medical center initiated a cardiopulmonary (CPR) resuscitation redesign project.

Redesigning the Hospital's Resuscitation System: The CPR Committee developed the interventions on the basis of a large-scale view of the process of delivering BLS and ACLS, identification of key decision nodes and actions, and compartmentalization of specific functions. It was proposed that arrest management follow a steady progression in a two-layer scheme from BLS to ACLS. Handouts describing team structure and specific roles were given to all code team providers and house staff at the start of their month-long rotations. To further increase role clarity and team organization, daily morning and evening meetings of the arrest team were instituted. Site-specific BLS training, on-site ACLS refresher training, and defibrillator training were initiated. Project elements also included use of unannounced mock codes to provide system oversight; preparation and distribution of cognitive aids (printed algorithms, dosing guides, and other checklists to ensure compliance with ACLS protocols), identification of patients who may be unstable or a source of concern, event review and analysis of arrests and other critical events, and a CPR website.

Conclusion: A mature hospital-based resuscitation system should include definition of arrest trends and resuscitation needs, development of local methods for approaching the arresting patient, an emphasis on prevention, establishment of training programs tailored to meet specific hospital needs, system examination and oversight, and administrative processes that maximize interaction between all components.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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  • 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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