Nurse Lauren Waleryszak (left) and physical therapists Kenroy Greenidge and Jennifer Zanni help a patient into a wheelchair on the MICU. Getting patients on ventilators out of bed has reduced length of stay on the unit. It also prevents pressure ulcers.
Moving in the MICU
The hospital’s sickest patients are benefiting from less sedation and more physical rehabilitation therapy.
For years, Roy Brower had heard about the unusual goings-on in the intensive care unit at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. There, patients didn’t lie in bed day and night under heavy sedation; they were up and walking the halls with ventilators, an idea so at odds with routine ICU practice that some consider it impossible.
Brower was so doubtful, in fact, that he took a trip to Utah to see for himself. "I asked the nurse manager and nurse practitioner, 'What do you do with a patient who's on a ventilator and delirious and squirming in bed who looks like he's going to pull something out?'" recalls Brower, director of Hopkins' medical intensive care unit. "Without hesitation they said, 'It's time to get moving. He's got all this extra energy he doesn't know what to do with, so let's go in there and help him do something useful.' I was stunned by this response."