A "bundle" of ventilator care processes (peptic ulcer disease prophylaxis, deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, elevation of the head of the bed, and a sedation vacation), which may also reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) rates, can serve as a focus for improvement strategies in intensive care units (ICUs). Between July 2002 and January 2004, teams of critical care clinicians from 61 health care organizations participated in a collaborative on improving care in the ICU.
ICU team members posted data monthly on a Web-based extranet and submitted narrative descriptions describing the changes tested and the strategies implemented.
For the 35 units that consistently collected data on ventilator bundle element adherence and VAP rates, an average 44.5% reduction of VAP was observed.
The goal-oriented nature of the bundle appears to demand development of the teamwork necessary to improve reliability. The observations seem sufficiently robust to support implementing the ventilator bundles to provide a focus for additional change in ICUs.