Powell BM, Gilbert E, Volsko TA. Reducing Unplanned Extubations in the NICU Using Lean Methodology. Respir Care. 2016 Dec;61(12):1567-1572. Epub 2016 Nov 15. PubMed PMID: 27899538.
Unplanned extubations can lead to iatrogenic injury and have the potential to contribute to serious safety events. We adopted lean methodology to reduce the unplanned extubation rate in a Level 3b NICU. We hypothesized that the use of a rapid-cycle PDSA (plan, do, study, act) initiative would reduce the unplanned extubation rate.
Baseline unplanned extubation data were collected from November 1, 2012 to June 6, 2014. A voice of the customer survey ascertained perceptions regarding unplanned extubation causes and impact on care. The confidential survey contained 2 open-ended and 4 closed-ended questions and was distributed to a random sample of nurses and respiratory therapists. A fishbone diagram helped to identify opportunities. Six improvements were identified and rolled out in 2 phases using didactic and kinesthetic techniques. Phase 1 standardized the process for turning intubated infants, assessing endotracheal tube (ETT) placement with growth, and communicating tube position with caregivers. Phase 2 addressed respiratory plans of care, correcting ETT migration, establishing ETT re-securement methods, and standardizing position during radiography. The Fisher exact test was used to determine differences in the number of unplanned extubations per 100 intubated days. Descriptive statistics were used to report survey results. Statistical significance was established at P < .05.
A 68% (17 of 25) survey response rate was realized. Baseline data revealed 3.8 unplanned extubations/100 intubated days, and 2.7 unplanned extubations/100 intubated days occurred in the post-improvement phase (P = .01). We noted a statistically significant decrease in the number of intubated days between the pre- and post-improvement groups (P < .001).
Staff underestimated the prevalence of unplanned extubations but recognized the need for improvement. Rapid cycle PDSA significantly reduced the unplanned extubation rate. The decrease in intubated days may have been a by-product of the post-improvement phase improvements, which encouraged practice changes.
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