Patients that have serious illnesses often are admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). A majority of these patients are also on mechanical ventilation to assist with breathing after experiencing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) as a result of “either direct or indirect pulmonary injury” (Morton & Fontaine, 2013, p.233). Mechanical ventilation is used to treat a patient that cannot breath on their own. Unfortunately, invasive artificial airways often come with their own complications and high costs.
Mechanical ventilation is well know to cause ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) and other nosocomial infections. Studies also show that the longer the length of time on a ventilator, the higher it correlates with hospital re-admissions and a draining of ICU resources (Douglas, Daly, Brennan, Gordon & Uthis, 2011). There is evidence based support for getting patients off of ventilators and sedation, as quickly and safely as possible.
In the article, “Collaborative practice: development, implementation, and evaluation of a weaning protocol for patients receiving mechanical ventilation,” authors write about how patients are typically weaned off of the ventilator and identified a problem with the fact doctors decided subjectively to wean patients and it is not based on protocols (Grap, Strickland, Tormey, Keane, Lubin, Emerson, & … Sessler, 2003). The doctors would use different parameters and those parameters varied from each doctor and each hospital (Grap, 2003).
Grap et al., have focused on using a multidisciplinary approach to wean patients off of their ventilators sooner; this approach utilizes a standardized protocol for weaning the patients (2003). The article researched the medical respiratory ICU (MRICU) protocol which is composed of several scales, guidelines, and assessment tools to help identify if the patient is ready to be weaned (Grap et al., 2003). The article showed that “[p]atients receiving mechanical ventilation have shorter hospital stays and lower costs when a weaning protocol is used” (Grap et al., 2003, p. 455). The article also supported nurses autonomy and working with the respiratory therapist to individualize the weaning process; this encouraged strong communication within the interdisciplinary team (Grap et al., 2003).
Douglas, S., Daly, B., Brennan, P., Gordon, N., & Uthis, P. (2001). Hospital
readmission among long-term ventilator patients. Chest, 120(4), 1278-1286.
Grap, M., Strickland, D., Tormey, L., Keane, K., Lubin, S., Emerson, J., & … Sessler,
C. (2003). Collaborative practice: development, implementation, and
evaluation of a weaning protocol for patients receiving mechanical
ventilation. American Journal Of Critical Care, 12(5), 454-460.
Morton, P. G., & Fontaine, D. K. (2013). Essentials of Critical Care Nursing; a
holistic approach. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.