|Search the Press Room|
"These results are truly remarkable – a testament to the hospital's deep commitment to dramatically improve the quality of the health care it provides. Strong Memorial, along with the other hospitals, have shown that ventilator-associated pneumonia, which now occurs all too frequently in U.S. hospitals, can become a thing of the past,"said IHI President Donald M. Berwick, M.D., M.P.P. "The challenge now is to make these improvements permanent and to make this the new standard of care across the country."
Ventilator-associated pneumonia, or VAP, is a lung infection that can develop in patients dependent on mechanical ventilators to help them breathe. IHI estimates that 15 percent of patients on ventilators develop this serious complication, and an estimated half of those who develop VAP die from it, making it the leading killer among all of the hospital-acquired infections with an estimated 26,000 annual deaths.
In August 2002, Strong formed an ICU Patient Safety Taskforce, which worked with the IHI to develop a new and comprehensive approach to patient care, using the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) as a pilot test area. Using evidenced-based best practices as a foundation, the group created a bundle of care procedures for VAP that includes items such as raising the head of the bed to an angle of 30 to 45 degrees, maintaining meticulous oral care and gradually weaning a patient off the ventilator.
The results have been stunning. After the full implementation of the VAP bundle, the MICU went more than a year without one case of ventilator-associated pneumonia, and in 850+ days since its introduction to the unit, only two patients have contracted VAP.
Michael Apostolakos, M.D., director of Adult Critical Care, said the dedicated work of the staff, nurses, residents and attending physicians brought about the remarkable reduction in infections.
"Assuring that these known standards and best practices are adhered to has reduced and virtually eliminated a complication that at one time, we thought was inevitable, "Apostolakos said. "Ventilator-associated pneumonia now is rare here."
"What we have done has not really cost any money and it has produced huge results,"said Barry Evans, R.N., project manager. In fact, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses has honored the program with its Baxter Excellence in Patient Safety Award (see below).
The VAP bundle was extended to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and the Cardio-Vascular Intensive Care Unit about a year ago and it has produced similar reductions in infections. Training is currently underway to introduce it to the Kessler Family Burn/Trauma Unit as well.
The Medical Center and James P. Wilmot Cancer Center recently received $2.5 million in research funding from Reps. Thomas Reynolds and James Walsh to help build its research capability. The funding was included in the 2006 defense spending bill.
The Wilmot Cancer Center will use the funding to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research aimed at improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Various departments throughout the Medical Center are expected to tap into the funds as they conduct research to better understand the cellular and molecular basis of the most common cancers, including breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer, as well as leukemia and lymphoma.
"I'm pleased to see the support from Representatives Reynolds and Walsh for expanding cancer research here at the University of Rochester,"said University of Rochester President Joel Seligman. "Research is the key to improving cancer survival. For example, the development of a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer began right here at the University of Rochester. Our scientists found the critical component of the vaccine that could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year."
Cancer is one of the most prevalent and pervasive diseases that people face. The Wilmot Cancer Center and University of Rochester Medical Center are committed to providing the best possible care for people in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region, said C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., CEO of the Medical Center.
"We are dedicated to conducting cutting-edge research to bring new discoveries that will lead to cures,"Evarts said.
The Wilmot Cancer Center is in the midst of a comprehensive campaign to raise $42.5 million to construct a 163,000-square-foot, four-story building and recruit 25 additional clinicians and scientists to expand research. To date, $20 million has been raised in the community
The new building and programs will let more Rochester area residents with cancer stay close to home for the very best care and accommodate a growing number of people from outside the region coming to Rochester for Wilmot's expertise. It's expected the new building and programs will lead to Wilmot Cancer Center doubling its workforce, bringing the number to 1,200 employees, and create an additional 700 jobs to support the operation.
"We appreciate the efforts by our delegation to support the Wilmot Cancer Center as we expand our state-of-the-art cancer care for the people of upstate New York," said Richard I. Fisher, M.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
For Kathy Adamski, a curriculum coordinator for the Ambulatory Clerkship (ACE) at the School of Medicine & Dentistry, United Way services were the last thing on her mind as she and her family adopted a beautiful little boy a few years back. Physically healthy, highly intelligent and "pretty darned cute" according to his mother, Jared was welcomed with open arms by Adamski, her husband and four grown children. But the happiness soon gave way to concern, as she and her family slowly discovered that Jared had an extremely rough start as a baby and toddler.
"In addition to being born addicted to cocaine, we learned his first few years of life included abuse, trauma, severe neglect, at times malnourishment, and even abandonment," Adamski said. "He's a beautiful child who just happened to be on the receiving end of a really rotten deal."
As time passed, the family saw escalating degrees of dangerous behaviors develop. After consulting numerous professionals, Jared was diagnosed as being seriously emotionally disturbed with multiple disorders.
"In spite of now having a family who deeply loves him, the nature of his illness lends to an overall worsening of his condition throughout his childhood," Adamski said. "With the right support from family and community, he may be helped, but in all likelihood, he will never be cured. Our goals for Jared are very simple: all we hope for is to keep him safe, and enable the best quality of life he is capable of enjoying."
Several United Way agencies have played an integral role in helping the Adamskis find the help that Jared so desperately needs. Through Hillside Children's Center and the Hillside Family of Agencies, Jared has had access to inpatient and outpatient emergency care services, as well as intensive home-based counseling services for Jared and the entire Adamski family.
In addition, Jared is now able to attend the Hillside/Halpern Education Center in Webster, where he benefits from all manner of services; on-site psychiatric care, social worker interaction, and excellent teaching in an environment friendly to the emotionally disabled.
"Amazingly, most of the services were and continue to be provided at absolutely no cost to us – or to other families who need them," Adamski said. "As a result of the assistance we've received over the past several months, and help we're slated to receive in time to come, Jared has the potential to be stable more of the time, be in a safe school setting he can enjoy, and has the opportunity for a much better quality of life than we could possibly have provided for him on our own."
You will soon be receiving your 2006 United Way pledge packet by way of the many volunteers here at the University. Last year, thousands of University faculty, staff, and retirees pledged over $1 million to the Greater Rochester United Way/Red Cross Campaign – the first time we achieved this benchmark.
Remember, giving to the United Way directly helps us here at the University in many ways. More than 830 University workers and members of their families received assistance through United Way funded services last year, and many of our patients cared for in our hospitals often need the support of services funded by the United Way. The University also receives close to $1.3 million in funding raised by the United Way for programs in our Mt. Hope Family Center, the Children's Institute, Strong Memorial Hospital, and Visiting Nurse Service.
For more information, call our United Way office at 273-4722 or visit www.rochester.edu/unitedway. The campaign runs through March 31.