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ICU Mobility Program Saves $500K in 6 Months

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, March 18, 2014

"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.


Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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4 comments on "ICU Mobility Program Saves $500K in 6 Months"


Paula Pless (5/6/2014 at 1:45 PM)
The article does not indicate how the patients were mobilized. In order to make it easier, safer and more efficient SPH equipment needed to be used. What equipment facilitated the early movement of dependent patients? As well as how were patients mobilized while they were improving their functional mobility status? It is critical that we recognize the need for patient lift equipment to mobilize patients who would otherwise in the "old days" be manually lifted. The reason why many patients are not mobilized early on is due to the physicality of manually lifting and the lack of SPH equipment. Quality and length of stay gain a positive impact from SPH programs. I am assuming that this facility has ceiling lifts, Booms and other SPH equipment. I wish the article would have detailed those important details. Could someone respond and indicate the SPH piece of this success story. Paula Pless Director SPH Kaleida Health Western NY

Patti Williams, RN (3/24/2014 at 1:37 PM)
Kudos to the Nurses at Duke Raleigh Hospital!!

Stefani Daniels (3/18/2014 at 6:27 PM)
I don't know if I should be happy or humiliated...as a critical care nurse in the 1970s, getting patients out of bed - especially the fresh CABG patients, was an expectation not an event.