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Application of a trauma intensivist model to a Level II community hospital trauma program improves intensive care unit throughput



Application of a trauma intensivist model to a Level II community hospital trauma program improves intensive care unit throughput



Journal of Trauma 69(5): 1147-52; Discussion 1152-3



Critical care-trained trauma surgeons are the ideal care provider for severely injured patients. This "captain of the ship" (COS) assumes complete responsibility of the patient, from initial resuscitation to eventual discharge. Unlike American College of Surgeons-verified Level I centers, many nonacademic, community hospital trauma centers use a more fragmented approach, with care in the intensive care unit (ICU) delegated to a committee of multiple specialists. We hypothesized that dedicated trauma intensivists as COS in a community hospital could improve ICU outcome. Beginning from September 2005, dedicated full-time trauma intensivists, without any resident coverage, assumed primary responsibility of all trauma patients admitted to a Level II Pennsylvania state verified trauma center. The ICU care was uninterrupted 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Subspecialty consultations, for recommendations in care only, were selectively obtained as clinically indicated. We compared the 3 years before the implementation of the COS model (PRE: 2003-2005) with the 3 years after the model (POST: 2006-2008). A p-value ≤ 0.05 was considered significant. There were equal numbers of patients admitted to the ICU setting in both the periods. In the PRE and POST periods, both age (46.9 years vs. 52.4 years; p < 0.001) and Injury Severity Score (16.1 vs. 16.7; p = 0.01) were of significance. We observed significant differences in ventilator days (mean, 8 days vs. 6 days; p = 0.002) and mean ICU days (4.9 days vs. 4.4 days; p < 0.001) across the study periods. Days to tracheostomy also achieved statistical significance (9.1 vs. 8.1; p = 0.03). The number of medical consults decreased by 19% in the POST group (p < 0.001). Hospital stay days were not statistically different (7.4 vs. 7.2; p = 0.18). After adjusting for higher age and Injury Severity Score in the POST period, we noted no difference in the expected mortality rate. A trauma intensivist-driven model can be successfully adopted in a nonacademic community trauma program, without the need for a residency program. A decentralized ICU care model produces inefficiencies, diminishes the role of the trauma service, and decreases the overall throughput of trauma patients.

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Accession: 051607784

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21068618

DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181f5a867



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