Objective: To analyze a 4 1/2-year experience caring for hemodynamically stable mechanically ventilated patients on a nonmonitored respiratory care floor (RCF) for therapeutic outcome, utilization, and costs.
Design: A retrospective medical records review.
Setting: ICUs and an RCF of a university-affiliated tertiary care center.
Participants: Two hundred twenty-four patients requiring more than 24 h of mechanical ventilation cared for on the RCF.
Results: The mean age of patients was 67 +/- 17 years. Of the admissions, 58% were from the medical ICU, 28% were from surgical ICUs, and 9.4% were from general medical floors. Patients spent 50 +/- 66 days mechanically ventilated on the RCF. Overall survival was 50.4% with 93.8% of surviving patients successfully weaned from mechanical ventilation. Survival by diagnostic group demonstrated highest probability of survival in patients with trauma and lowest in patients with multisystem failure. Of the survivors, 39% were discharged home, 34% to a rehabilitation unit, and 24% to a skilled nursing facility. Savings based on differential of costs between the ICU and RCF, primarily from reduced staffing requirements, were estimated at $4.1 million.
Conclusion: Use of a nonmonitored RCF for the care of hemodynamically stable mechanically ventilated patients yields acceptable therapeutic outcomes while providing the institution with increased flexibility in critical care bed management and significant financial savings.