Background: 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.
Methods: ICU team members posted data monthly on a Web-based extranet and submitted narrative descriptions describing the changes tested and the strategies implemented.
Results: 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.
Discussion: 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.