Cardiovascular Critical Care Complex pulls AACN Beacon Award gold-level hat trick

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ChristianaCare’s Cardiovascular Critical Care Complex (CVCCC) has earned an unprecedented third consecutive gold-level Beacon Award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

The award signals continued staff-driven excellence in improving patient clinical outcomes that exceed national benchmarks and achieving the highest levels of satisfaction among patients and their families, as well as the nurses who serve on the unit.

The CVCCC unit maintains a Tier 1 (highest) rating in employee engagement in the Press Ganey Employee Engagement survey.

The CVCCC first earned a Gold Beacon Award — the highest recognition of the critical care nursing profession — in 2013 and received a gold honor again in 2016. Each designation is for three years.

“The unit’s three-time gold-level achievement is a first at ChristianaCare, said Chief Nurse Executive Ric Cuming, Ed.D., RN. “This remarkable series of honors is directly related to the hard work and commitment of each of the CVCCC’s extraordinary nurses and their interdisciplinary partners.”

Key indicators for any critical care unit include optimal pain management, as well as reducing or eliminating patient falls, ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI).

The CVCCC team closely focuses on sustaining a restraint-free environment and extubating patients from ventilators as soon as medically appropriate. In March, the unit earned a ChristianaCare Zero Harm Award for achieving 12 consecutive months without a methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection, and they have marked significant sustained periods without CLABSI, CAUTI, and VAP occurrences.

The AACN also noted the unit’s innovative physical environment designed to promote healing and improved patient outcomes and satisfaction — features such as open visitation, daily quiet time, elimination of unnecessary alarms, private rooms with natural light, and the support of both a Healing Touch certified practitioner and the volunteer-based Mended Hearts support group.

“The unit’s three-time gold-level achievement is a first at ChristianaCare, This remarkable series of honors is directly related to the hard work and commitment of each of the CVCCC’s extraordinary nurses and their interdisciplinary partners.”

Ric Cuming, Ed.D., RN

The unit has demonstrated its dedication to enhancing the patient experience and optimizing patient and family satisfaction through increasingly high performance on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers (HCAHPS).

The 26-bed CVCCC provides evidence-based intensive and progressive care for critically ill cardiac medical and surgical patients, including those treated for myocardial infarction, acute decompensated heart failure, cardiopulmonary arrest, post-cardiovascular intervention and post-cardiothoracic surgery.

Nurses in ChristianaCare’s Cardiovascular Critical Care Complex have improved patient outcomes that exceed national benchmarks.

The unit provides specialized care for patients requiring cardiac-assist devices, such as bridge-to-transplant and destination left-ventricular-assist device, extra corporeal membrane oxygenation and intra-aortic balloon pumps, and serves those requiring slow, low-efficiency daily dialysis transfusions and fluid resuscitation, pericardial drains and targeted temperature management.

Nearly 90% of the CVCCC’s registered nurses hold a BSN or higher; 27% of the staff is actively seeking advanced degrees; and 57% are specialty certified.

Nearly half of the staff has worked on the unit for at least five years. The unit maintains a Tier 1 (highest) rating in employee engagement in the Press Ganey Employee Engagement survey.

In addition to the CVCCC, six other ChristianaCare’s intensive care units are Beacon-designated: the Medical Intensive Care Unit, Transitional Medical Unit, Cardiology Short Stay Unit, Transitional Surgical Unit, Neuro Critical Care Unit and Surgical Critical Care Complex.

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