SOMC’s Rapid Response Team Featured In National Publication

Southern Ohio Medical Center has been acknowledged in a national publication for its success with a program that brings intensive care to patients outside the Intensive Care Unit.

Since September 2005, SOMC has deployed Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) to respond to calls from staff members concerned about patients outside ICU who show signs of failing health. The program was recently recognized for its outstanding work in the February issue of the Voluntary Hospital Associations’ national newsletter.

Christie Aeh, nurse manger of the ICU, says the RRT program at SOMC is similar to those in other area hospitals. However, SOMC’s outcomes are very unique, exceeding those of other hospitals in the state.

“It’s quite an honor to be held so highly among other hospitals,” Aeh said. “The program has worked so well for us and our patients and we hope to further improve upon its effectiveness far into the future.”

Each RRT consists of ICU nurses and a respiratory therapist on-call 24 hours. When a staff member becomes concerned about a patient’s condition due to changes such as rapid heart rate or lowered blood pressure, the RRT is called to intervene.

Upon arrival, the RRT receives a bedside report from the receiving unit and evaluates the patient. The team then collaborates with the department nurse and supervisor to determine the best treatment options for the patient.

SOMC’s program was created as part of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s “Save 100,000 Lives” campaign.

“Rapid Response Teams provide staff with the necessary resources to seek immediate help when handling patients who may be showing signs of deterioration, often determining the difference between life and death,” Mamie Snook, clinical nurse specialist for Heart and Vascular Services at SOMC, said. “Because of this, the RRT program has proven to be very beneficial to our hospital and patients.”

“In a nutshell, RRT brings the Intensive Care Unit to the bedside of any patient anywhere within the hospital,” Dr. Elie Saab, medical director of the ICU, said.

“The RRT is helpful because it provides nurses and other hospital staff with a group of clinicians who can be called at any time to give critical care expertise,” Amy Carter, assistant nurse manager of the ICU, said. “Many times, nurses know when something isn’t quite right with their patients, and these teams allow us to act ahead of time before conditions can decline.”

SOMC also has been participating in the VHA’s database, which tracks the effectiveness of a hospital’s RRTs, and has been recommended as a mentor hospital for the RRT model.