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Implementation of a guideline for the treatment of pain, sedation, agitation and neuromuscular blockade in the mechanically ventilated adult patient in the emergency department

Authors White K, Szumita P, Gilboy N, Keenan H, Arbelaez C

Published 8 April 2011 Volume 2011:3 Pages 21—27


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Kristin E White1, Paul M Szumita1, Nicki Gilboy2, Hillary A Keenan3, Christian Arbelaez2
Department of Pharmacy Services, 2Department of Emergency Medicine, 3Center for Clinical Investigation, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Purpose: When emergency department (ED) overcrowding includes admitted mechanically ventilated (MV) critically-ill patients without an open intensive care unit (ICU) bed, emergency providers must deliver ICU level care in the ED. Implementing standardized hospital based clinical guidelines may help providers achieve uniform care standards for assessing and managing pain and sedation for the MV patient.
Objective: This paper is a description of a hospital performance improvement project that was implemented in the ED. The objective of this study was to measure the degree of adoption of a hospital-wide clinical guideline for the management of pain, sedation and neuromuscular blockade in MV patients into clinical practice in the ED.
Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed for all mechanically ventilated patients who were admitted from ED to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Patient charts were reviewed before (December 2005) and after the implementation of the guideline (June, August, and December 2006). Data was collected and analyzed for the ED visit only and no ICU data was used. The primary outcome was the degree of adoption of the guideline by emergency providers into their daily clinical practice.
Results: A convenience sample of 170 adult MV patients who were admitted to the ICU during the preselected time period was analyzed. There were no demographic differences between groups of patients observed during each month interval, age (P = 0.34), gender (P = 0.40), race (P = 0.14), and Hispanic ethnicity (P = 0.84). Overall, there was an increase in the provider use of propofol (P < 0.01), RASS sedation scale (P < 0.01), and a decrease in the use of a paralytic agent (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: There was partial adoption of a guideline into their clinical practice by emergency providers in a busy urban emergency department. Across the 12-month implementation period, there was improvement in the assessment of and use of analgesia and sedation for MV patients.

Keywords: clinical guideline, critical care, ICU, emergency department, sedation, pain, neuromuscular blocker

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