Georgia Hospital Earns Award for VAP Prevention

Vol. 21 •Issue 21 • Page 25
Employee Highlights

Georgia Hospital Earns Award for VAP Prevention

Nosocomial pneumonia is a leading cause of death from hospital-acquired infections, with an associated mortality rate of approximately 30 percent. Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) refers specifically to hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia that has developed in patients receiving mechanical ventilation.

To help prevent VAP, respiratory therapists and nurses caring for patients on mechanical ventilation should participate in protocols aimed at its prevention. A program should incorporate readily available methods whose efficacy and cost-effectiveness are supported by clinical studies and local experience.

The benefits derived from protocols to prevent VAP can be demonstrated in terms of both improved clinical outcomes and reduced costs of medical care. Among the most important elements of this strategy is the presence of a dedicated group (RTs, nurses, infection control specialists) that takes charge of the process and a mechanism for tracking VAP rates.

With that said, VHA Inc., a national health care alliance, has recognized WellStar Douglas Hospital in Douglasville, Ga., for providing excellent care to patients in its intensive care unit. The 2008 VHA Leadership Award for Clinical Excellence honors organizations that have distinguished themselves from other VHA members by meeting or exceeding national performance standards.

VHA serves more than 1,400 not-for-profit hospitals nationwide, and WellStar Douglas Hospital is one of 49 VHA-member hospitals to be recognized for preventing VAP in ICU patients.

“Intensive care patients are extremely vulnerable to infections,” said Trent Haywood, MD, JD, chief medical officer at VHA. “WellStar Douglas Hospital has achieved what was once thought of as unattainable: Zero cases of VAP over a long period of time (653 days as of Sept. 11).”

To receive the award, WellStar had to demonstrate its ICUs applied specific processes to eliminate or reduce the risk for VAP.

Melissa Staie is the respiratory therapy supervisor at WellStar Douglas Hospital.