Cardiac ICU Earns Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence

December 18, 2007

An honor designed to recognize the nation’s top hospital intensive care units (ICUs) was recently bestowed upon Strong Memorial Hospital’s 14-bed cardiac-vascular intensive care unit (CVICU/7-1600). The Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence, sponsored by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, is given to those ICUs that exhibit high quality standards, exceptional care of patients and their families, and healthy work environments.

Each year, about 70 staff members provide specialized care for nearly 1,000 patients on the 14-bed cardiac-vascular ICU, who are undergoing treatment for a wide range of cardiac issues. Many are enrolled in the artificial heart and heart transplant programs, which provide a high level of sophisticated and coordinated care. 

In addition, the CVICU is also home to the area’s only Critical Care Transport Team, which operates a customized ambulance to handle transports for critically ill cardiac patients in the outlying region. These patients are often too sick to travel by regular ambulance, and require the extensive training of staff, and the specialized equipment in order to make the one- to two-hour trip to Strong Memorial.  More than 100 such transfers are handled each year.

“Since its inception in 1998, the CVICU’s multidisciplinary team has been committed to providing service excellence in every aspect of patient care,” said nurse manager Larry Stalica, R.N., B.S.N. “We have relied on the latest evidence-based practices to ensure the highest quality of health care possible, and the Beacon Award recognizes those efforts.”

The honor is an acknowledgement of Strong Memorial’s ongoing focus regarding quality improvement of patient care, said Kathy Parrinello, chief operating officer for Strong Memorial Hospital. “We are so proud of our staff and the dedication they exhibit each and every day. This award is well deserved.”

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Karin Christensen
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