PARTNERSHIP SUCCESSFUL AT WEANING PATIENTS OFF VENTILATORS

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A unique partnership at Tampa General Hospital is generating positive results for patients on ventilators.

Ventilator-dependent patients are medically complex and often have multiple morbidities. Providing care for these patients is costly, and they have extended lengths of stay compared to many hospitalized patients.

In a partnership with Boca Raton, Florida-based Special Care Unit, Tampa General Hospital operates a Progressive Care Unit to wean patients off ventilators. “It is separate from an ICU. It is a step-down level of care from an ICU. It has its own dedicated area in the hospital,” says Sam Nimah, CEO of Special Care Unit.

The Progressive Care Unit has staff members from Tampa General Hospital and Special Care Unit, he says. “It is a jointly staffed unit, with staff from Tampa General as well as Special Care Unit to provide a unique opportunity for ventilator-dependent patients to wean off the ventilator at a rate of greater than 80%. It is staffed with dedicated nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and case managers. All of the staff are dedicated to the unit.”

The Progressive Care Unit provides an exceptional patient experience, with daily intensive rehabilitation efforts, Nimah says.

“Most hospitals have a rehabilitation department that is responsible for rehabilitation opportunities and consults throughout the hospital. They may have to go to dozens of patients on a given day across the hospital. But hospitals are controlled chaos—there are multiple activities going on at any given moment. So, a physical therapist may show up in a patient’s room, and they may be off getting a CT scan, or they may have had a rough night and they are sleeping. In those circumstances, the physical therapist has to move on to the next patient. In the Progressive Care Unit, we have a dedicated team, so if a patient is not ready for their rehab it is no problem—we will be there when the patient is ready.”

BY CHRISTOPHER CHENEY

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