CE: A Prone Positioning Protocol for Awake, Nonintubated Patients with COVID-19

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ABSTRACT: Prone positioning of critically ill patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome is an accepted therapy done to improve oxygenation and promote weaning from mechanical ventilation. But there is limited information regarding its use outside of the ICU. At one Boston hospital, the influx of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 strained its resources, requiring sweeping systems changes and inspiring innovations in clinical care. This article describes how an interdisciplinary team of clinicians developed a prone positioning protocol for use with awake, nonintubated, oxygen-dependent patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 on medical-surgical units, with the hope of hastening their recovery and avoiding deterioration and ICU transfer. A protocol implementation plan and staff educational materials were disseminated via the hospital incident command system and supported through daily leadership huddles. Patient eligibility criteria, including indications and contraindications, and a clear nursing procedure for the implementation of prone positioning with a given patient, were key elements. Nurses' feedback of their experiences with the protocol was elicited through an e-mailed survey. Nearly all respondents reported improvements in patients' oxygen saturation levels, while few respondents reported barriers to protocol implementation. The prone positioning protocol was found to be both feasible for and well tolerated by awake, nonintubated patients on medical-surgical units, and can serve as an example for other hospitals during this pandemic.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

The American journal of nursing