Development, Implementation, and Impact of a Proning Team During the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit Surge

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BACKGROUND: Prone positioning has been used as an intervention to improve oxygenation in critically ill patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. During the COVID-19 pandemic, resources were even more limited given a surge in acute respiratory distress syndrome patients, which outstripped intensive care unit (ICU) capacity at many institutions. LOCAL PROBLEM: The purpose of this article is to describe the development and implementation of a proning team during the surge in ICU patients with COVID-19 and to measure the impact of the program through surveys of staff involved. METHODS/INTERVENTIONS: A proning protocol and educational plan was developed. A proning team of redeployed staff was created. A survey of ICU registered nurses and proning team members was used to evaluate the benefits and challenges of the proning team. RESULTS: The proning team was successful in safely performing more than 300 proning and supinating maneuvers for critically ill patients. There is overwhelming support within the institution for a proning team for future COVID-19 surges. DISCUSSION: The development and implementation of the proning team happened quickly to assist with the surge of patients and off-load work from ICU registered nurses. Despite the success of the proning team, more clearly defined roles and expectations, as well as additional education, are needed to further enhance teamwork and workflow. CONCLUSIONS: Creation of the proning team was a creative use of resources that helped manage the large and medically complex patient population. This work may serve as a guide to other health care institutions.

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Dimensions of critical care nursing : DCCN