Improving Adherence to a Mechanical Ventilation Weaning Protocol for Critically Ill Adults: Outcomes After an Implementation Program

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• Background

Despite multiple reminders, education sessions, and multidisciplinary team involvement, adherence to an evidence-based mechanical ventilation weaning protocol had been less than 1% in a general systems intensive care unit since implementation.

• Objective

To assess the effectiveness of using an implementation program, the Model for Accelerating Improvement, to improve adherence and clinical outcomes after restarting a mechanical ventilation weaning protocol in an adult general systems intensive care unit.

• Methods

A prospective comparative design, before and after implementation of the Model for Accelerating Improvement, was used with a consecutive sample of 129 patients and 112 multidisciplinary team members. Clinical outcomes were rate of unsuccessful extubations, rate of ventilator-associated pneumonia, and duration of mechanical ventilation; practice outcomes were staff's understanding of the mechanical ventilation weaning protocol, perceptions of the practice safety climate, and adherence to the weaning protocol.

• Results

After the intervention, the rate of unsuccessful extubations decreased, and staff's understanding of and adherence to the weaning protocol increased significantly. The rate of ventilator-associated pneumonia, duration of mechanical ventilation, and staff's perceptions of the practice safety climate did not change significantly.

• Conclusion

Implementing the Model for Accelerating Improvement improved understanding of and adherence to protocol-directed weaning and reduced the rate of unsuccessful extubations.

CE Online

To receive CE credit for this article, visit the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses' (AACN) Web site at, click on “Education” and select “Continuing Education,” or call AACN's Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329 and request item No. 1124.

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