Sweet! You just graduated from your Critical Care fellowship and landed a great job in the community. No more PGY paychecks or 80+ hour work weeks. Things are looking up! But after showing up for your first day, you quickly realize things are MUCH different than when you worked at that massive tertiary care hospital just a month ago.
Is your cardiology, nephrology, or podiatry consultant really blocking your ICU patient from being transferred out of the unit? Dr. Jeff Zilberstein is here this week to discuss the trials and tribulations of managing critically ill patients in the community, as well as talk about his experiences and success as a community ICU director.
ICU Directorship in the Community
- A majority of community ICU’s are open units with multiple consultants that “co-manage” admitted patients.
- Beware of malaligned incentives that can affect the ICU triage process
- Standardization is CRITICAL, it’s important that your ICU as a consistent structure and flow
- ICU note standardization
- Development multidisciplinary care protocols
- Need to continuously reinforce protocol utilization
Gaining the trust of referring physicians, surgeons, and administration was probably the biggest hurdle in developing a new ICU program.
Developing a new culture
- Placing the intensivist as the lead physician in patient care is critical.
- Triage: Have the intensivist decide on ICU appropriate admissions
- Aggressive patient transfers out of ICU
- Monitor the results of your interventions. If you don’t keep track of your changes, you’re just a cowboy.
The Zilberstein Experience at Northwest Community Hospital ICU
- Severity of illness increased, while admissions and length of stay decreased
- No change in the readmission rate
- Decrease in unplanned extubations
- Increased cost savings
- Intensivist led, team-based ICU care appears to improve outcomes
- Intensivist led, team-based ICU care improves resource utilization – Most hospitals do not have too few ICU beds, but rather:
- Too many inappropriate admissions
- Excessive lengths of stay
- Ineffective bed turnover
- In an ideal world, maybe this should be our admission algorithm
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