BACKGROUND: Ventricular assist device (VAD) patients are at high risk for morbidities and mortality. One potentially beneficial component of the Joint Commission VAD Certification process is the requirement that individual VAD programs select 4 performance measures to improve and optimize patients' clinical outcomes.PROBLEM STATEMENT: Review of patient data after our program's first certification visit in 2008 showed that, compared to national recommendations and published reports, our patients had suboptimal outcomes in 4 areas after device implantation: length of hospital stay, receipt of early (<48 hours) postsurgical physical therapy, driveline infection incidence, and adequacy of nutritional status (prealbumin =18 mg/dL).METHODS: Plan-Do-Study-Act processes were implemented to shorten length of stay, increase patient receipt of early physical therapy, decrease driveline infection incidence, and improve nutritional status. With 2008 as our baseline, we deployed interventions for each outcome area across 2009 to 2017. Performance improvement activities included staff, patient, and family didactic, one-on-one, and hands-on education; procedural changes; and outcomes monitoring with feedback to staff on progress. Descriptive and inferential statistics were examined to document change in the outcomes.OUTCOMES: Across the performance improvement period, length of stay decreased from 40 to 23 days; physical therapy consults increased from 87% to 100% of patients; 1-year driveline infection incidence went from 38% to 23.5%; and the percentage of patients with prealbumin within the normal range increased from 84% to 90%.IMPLICATIONS: Performance improvement interventions may enhance ventricular assist device patient outcomes. Interventions' sustainability should be evaluated to ensure that gains are not lost over time.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1526924820958129
View details for PubMedID 32985349