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3 Ways to Reduce Length of Stay in the ICU

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The Cost of Long-Term Care

The longer a patient remains in the ICU, the more health concerns they can develop — which increases costs for both you and your patient.1 The development of hospital-acquired pressure injuries in the ICU is common, as well as pulmonary and mobility issues. These concerns not only affect a patient’s health, but they can be expensive, too.

The average cost of hospital-acquired pressure injuries is $10,708,2 while for pulmonary complications, this cost can increase to $25,498.3 Fortunately, there are three ways you can reduce the ICU length of stay.

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1. Prioritize Patient Mobility

In just one week in the ICU, patients can start losing mobility, leading to:

  • 20% loss of muscular strength4
  • 1% loss of bone density5
  • 2% loss of muscle mass6

Prioritizing mobility in the ICU means installing an ICU mobility protocol to help improve oxygenation and muscle strength.

It’s not as daunting as it appears to create a patient mobility protocol in the ICU because there are pre-existing options you can choose from, including the ICU Liberation Bundle A-F, Bedside Mobility Assessment Tool 2.0, and AACON Early Progressive Mobility Protocol.


2. Support Skin Breakdown Prevention

Pressure injuries are some of the most common concerns patients and care teams face in the ICU.7 What is a pressure injury? It is the breakdown of skin integrity because of pressure, which can occur often when bony protuberances come into repeated and consistent contact with external surfaces. 8

Having the right support surfaces is integral for pressure injury prevention.9 It’s important to choose those that offer shear prevention, moisture control, and pressure relief. 


3. Initiate Pulmonary Therapy

Pulmonary complications are common in the ICU, where patients often have to receive invasive ventilation. Immobility only makes the risk of pulmonary issues worse, requiring a pulmonary rehabilitation protocol that includes kinetic therapy, chest physiotherapy, and early mobilization.10

Initiating pulmonary therapies as early as possible and continuing their use throughout a patient’s stay in the ICU can help get them off ventilation sooner and reduce ICU length of stay.11


How the Progressa+ ICU Bed Reduces ICU Length of Stay

The Progressa+ ICU Bed addresses the core issues of mobility, pressure injuries, and pulmonary complications. This true ICU bed makes it easier to implement early mobility protocols because it helps patients move, providing turn-assist technology and safety features to make each movement easier. 

Its turn-assist features also help the care team turn patients more easily, with automated turning redistributing pressure that doesn’t require staff to perform cycles of weight redistribution. 

And because microclimate, shear, friction, and pressure are factors that cause pressure injuries, having a bed that can prevent moisture issues while avoiding shear and friction and relieving pressure is ideal. 

The goal of the Progressa+ ICU Bed is to treat or prevent pulmonary complications (or other complications associated with immobility), treat or prevent pressure ulcers; and to achieve the medical benefits that can come with continuous lateral rotation therapy or percussion/vibration therapy.

Percussion and vibration features help mobilize secretions in the lungs so that they’re more easily removed, with the bed making treatment possible in the Trendelenburg, supine, or side-lying positions.12 

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Contact Hillrom Today

Reducing the length of stay in the ICU is essential for both you and your patients. Contact Hillrom to learn more about the Progressa+ ICU Bed today.