Quality and safety in intensive care-A means to an end is critical

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Critical Care, 2010, 23 (3), pp. 109 - 129
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Background: To achieve improvement in healthcare quality and safety, all four domains (outcome, process, structure and culture) must be considered in conjunction with the best available clinical evidence to improve patient care and reduce harm. A range of improvement initiatives have targeted processes of care in recognition of: (1) complexities of patient care and (2) evidence that a large portion of adverse events are preventable, occur during ongoing care, and result in poorer patient outcomes. Purpose: The aims of this paper are to: (1) outline national and international quality and safety initiatives; (2) identify evidence-based processes of care applicable to the general adult ICU patient population; (3) summarise the literature on relevant quality improvement strategies. Methods: An integrative literature review was conducted by: (1) database search of Ovid Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE and Cochrane for articles published between 1996 and October 2009; (2) identification of additional studies from articles obtained; (3) purposive internet search identifying relevant quality and safety initiatives. Findings: Quality improvement initiatives across the globe were identified, with ensuing focus on how the development, implementation and evaluation of evidence-based processes of care can lead to improvements in the delivery and outcomes of intensive care practice. Variation in practice and methodological limitations of existing studies were also noted, highlighting the need for innovative approaches to improving processes in the ICU. Conclusion: This integrative review has outlined potential for achieving practice improvements in intensive care and highlighted the need for further evaluative research to improve patient care at the bedside. © 2009 Australian College of Critical Care Nurses Ltd.
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