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Atlantic General Hospital's ICU Staff Improves Patient Safety Practices/Receives National Patient Safety Award

Atlantic General Hospital’s intensive care unit is part of a statewide collaborative recently honored with the 2005 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for innovative measures taken to improve patient safety.

Through this collaborative – the Maryland Patient Safety Center – Atlantic General receives ongoing training as well as joint support from other Maryland Hospital Association members to improve their patient safety practices.

Since the Safety Center’s creation in May 2004, Atlantic General Hospital’s ICU team has implemented several improved safety procedures such as daily weaning trials for patients on ventilators to prevent pneumonia and strict control of patients’ blood sugar level to reduce infection.

In 2005, Atlantic General Hospital’s ICU has had only one case of ventilator acquired pneumonia. In addition, the ICU has not had any blood stream infections related to central catheter (PICC line) use in the past five months. These measures, as well as others, have contributed to a decrease in ICU length of stay and a decrease in ICU mortality rate.

“The ability to participate in the state-wide collaborative to improve care was truly an opportunity for us to be able to improve the safety of patients in our community in accordance with best practice. The team effort at AGH resulted in problem resolution in an interdisciplinary atmosphere,” says Colleen Wareing, Vice President of Patient Care Services. “Our participation significantly raised the level of awareness of safety issues in our Critical Care Unit. The Senior Leadership Team looks forward to expanding this awareness throughout other facility through participation in the next segment of the Maryland Patient Safety Collaborative.”

Atlantic General Hospital’s operating room staff is scheduled to implement new patient safety practices tailored to the OR environment at the end of October 2005. The emergency department is scheduled for January 2006. About the Maryland Patient Safety Center The Maryland Patient Safety Center brings health care providers together to learn the causes of unsafe practices and put practical improvements in place to prevent harm to patients. The Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) and the Delmarva Foundation, jointly operate the Maryland Patient Safety Center. The MHA represents all of Maryland's hospitals and has been recognized for its involvement in quality of care and patient safety through the MEDSAFE initiative, Quality Indicator Project, and educational activities through the Maryland Healthcare Education Institute (MHEI). Delmarva Foundation, a national not-for-profit quality improvement organization, has been working with hospitals, physicians, home health agencies and nursing homes in Maryland for more than 30 years. For more information, visit