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ChristianaCare Earns Third Consecutive Apex Recognition Award for Excellence in Respiratory Care

ChristianaCare one of only nine health systems to receive the honor for three consecutive terms

For exceptional care in ensuring patients are able to easily breathe during their hospital stay, ChristianaCare has earned its third consecutive Apex Award in the Acute Hospital category.

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Conferred by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), the award recognizes ChristianaCare for its “exemplary demonstration of best practices in respiratory care.”

ChristianaCare is one of only 18 health systems nationwide to earn this award and one of just nine to receive the honor for at least three consecutive terms.

As a key component of hospital care, respiratory care is an important contributor to the overall quality and safety of a hospital. For patients and their families, ChristianaCare’s continuing recognition in this category is further reassurance that the health system’s quality is among the best in the nation.

“At ChristianaCare, we commit to being exceptional today and even better tomorrow,” said John S. Emberger, BS, RRT-AACS, FAARC, CPHQ, director of Respiratory Care at ChristianaCare. “This recognition belongs to all the respiratory therapists on our team. They are committed to following evidence-based practices and to ensuring that every action they take is safe. It’s a deep privilege to lead a team so committed to our organization’s core values of love and excellence.”

ChristianaCare’s respiratory team comprises nearly 150 caregivers who provide respiratory care within hospitals and outpatient settings and manage the mechanical ventilators and artificial airways used to help ICU patients breathe. To support continuous improvement, the team rigorously measures and tracks quality, patient satisfaction, safety and operational performance. That work has made an impact that extends beyond ChristianaCare; for example, the respiratory team’s success in standardizing practices to reduce infections and inflammations that can occur in patients on ventilators was published in the peer-reviewed journal Respiratory Care.

Another key ingredient to the team’s success has been its ability to attract and retain top talent. ChristianaCare’s respiratory department is set up with clinical career ladders that provide the opportunity for caregivers to broaden their skills and responsibilities through their participation in quality improvement projects.

“Our respiratory therapists are always seeking ways to improve and grow,” said Michael Benninghoff, D.O., MS, section chief for Medical Critical Care, and the medical director of respiratory care at ChristianaCare. “They have played a significant role in helping our ICUs achieve excellent outcomes in caring for many of our sickest patients. They measure their performance and continuously look for ways to innovate.”

The Apex Recognition Award was developed in 2017 as a way for the AARC to recognize respiratory care departments that demonstrate high quality care.

“Respiratory care departments dedicate themselves to delivering excellent care for patients everywhere. They are a vital component to a patient’s care team, making a positive impact for the quality of patient care,” said AARC President Carl Hinkson, MSc, RRT, RRT-ACCS, RRT-NPS, FAARC. “Earning the Apex Recognition award is a tremendous honor. It shows how these teams reach high standards and bring their specialized skills to their health care colleagues. Congratulations to ChristianaCare as one of our 2023-2024 Apex Recognition Award recipients.”


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About ChristianaCare

Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, ChristianaCare is one of the country’s most dynamic health care organizations, centered on improving health outcomes, making high-quality care more accessible and lowering health care costs. ChristianaCare includes an extensive network of primary care and outpatient services, home health care, urgent care centers, three hospitals (1,430 beds), a freestanding emergency department, a Level I trauma center and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, a comprehensive stroke center and regional centers of excellence in heart and vascular care, cancer care and women’s health. It also includes the pioneering Gene Editing Institute.

ChristianaCare is nationally recognized as a great place to work, rated by Forbes as the 2nd best health system for diversity and inclusion, and the 29th best health system to work for in the United States, and by IDG Computerworld as one of the nation’s Best Places to Work in IT. ChristianaCare is rated by Healthgrades as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals and continually ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek and other national quality ratings. ChristianaCare is a nonprofit teaching health system with more than 260 residents and fellows. With its groundbreaking Center for Virtual Health and a focus on population health and value-based care, ChristianaCare is shaping the future of health care.