About the Intensive Care Unit
The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) specializes in the management of adult and geriatric medical and surgical patients who have or are at high risk for a variety of life-threatening conditions. All ICU patients require intensive, multidisciplinary assessment and management to stabilize and/or prevent complications, thereby achieving optimal outcomes and decreasing the length of inpatient stay.
The unit is comprised of 14 full-service intensive care beds under the guidance of an Intensivist and a multidisciplinary critical care team composed of nurses, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, pharmacists and case coordinators.
Intensivist-Physician Model: Progressive Practice
Patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Sibley Hospital are cared for 24 hours a day by a team of health professionals led by intensivists. Intensivists are physicians who have received additional training in the care of critically ill patients. All intensivists at Sibley are board certified in critical care in addition to their primary field of medicine, such as internal medicine, pulmonology, surgery or anesthesia.
Other members of our ICU team include critical care nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, physical therapists and case coordinators. The entire team makes daily rounds on every patient and develops a plan of care for the day, which is communicated to the patient and the patient’s family, primary care doctor and any other physicians involved in the patient’s care. This coordinated approach has been shown to improve the quality of care and lead to better overall outcomes.
Critical Care Nurses: Expertise at the Bedside
The ICU’s registered nurses specialize in critical care; they have received training based on the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses practice guidelines and are certified in advanced life support. Under the leadership of a nurse manager, the nursing staff applies the latest evidence-based protocols to care of the complex and critically ill medical and surgical patients at Sibley Hospital. They advocate for patients and their families by using the nursing process to assess, plan, implement and evaluate nursing care of the sick and provide an individualized plan of expected treatment outcomes for each patient. Nurses are experts in a wide variety of treatments and technologies in the critical care setting, such as hemodynamic and cardiac monitoring systems, mechanical ventilation therapy, vasopressors and antiarrthymic therapies, as well as many other advanced life support devices.
As charge nurse Jane Lewis, R.N., states, “Our nurses are committed to quality and excellence at all levels of patient care and strive to provide an optimal and compassionate experience for all patients and families during their stay in the ICU.”
Daily Rounds: Customized Care
The ICU team collaborates on daily rounds for each patient to ensure continuity of care in planning for short- and long-term patient care. The interdisciplinary team draws on the latest research, technology and patient response to current treatments to implement and revise care for our patients.
Jane DuMars, RRT, explains that “In daily rounds we discuss the plan of care with our physicians, pharmacists, dieticians, nurses, case coordinators and physical therapists to formulate the best possible interventions for the wellness of our patients.”
Patient Safety at Sibley
The ICU received the American Hospital Association’s certificate of achievement for high standards of excellence in reducing ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). VAP is the second most common hospital-acquired infection and is responsible for 25 percent of the infections that occur in intensive care units. Strict and consistent adherence to best practices has reduced VAP rates well below national rates and enhanced the quality of care of ventilated patients in Sibley’s ICU. Similar safety training and measurement is in place throughout the ICU.