A Step Forward in Critical Care

Changes bring better outcomes and happier patients.
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Patients who are sick enough to require intensive care will often need the care of multiple specialists, including cardiologists, neurologists and nephrologists. Due to the severity of their illness, multiple organ systems are involved. In traditional (open) intensive care unit models, each of these specialists would work on their own area of specialty, which at times results in fragmented care. In response to this, Monmouth Medical Center instituted a new and different approach, changing to a closed ICU model.

“In this model, each patient is under the direct care of an intensivist, a physician who is trained and board certified in critical care medicine,” says Chandler Dean Patton, m.d., who is responsible for admitting patients into the ICU and directing their care with their team of physicians.” The intensivist will lead the ICU team and with the input of the primary physician and specialists, coordinate the care of the patient.”

In moving to the closed ICU model, Dr. Patton, who has more than 24 years of experience in pulmonary disease critical care, worked in collaboration with RWJBarnabas health colleague Fariborz “Bobby” Rezai, M.D., FCCP, director of the intensive care unit at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, which successfully implemented the closed ICU model on July 1, 2007.

“An intensivist, as opposed to the primary care physician and single-organ specialist, is better equipped to provide leadership in the management of the critically ill patient,” Dr. Rezai says.

“Since so much is at stake while caring for the critically ill, the task demands an integrated approach that combines the services of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other ancillary staff,” says Bill Arnold, president and CEO of Monmouth Medical Center.

Studies show that the closed ICU model “improves outcomes, decreases length of stay and results in better communication with caregivers and family members,” Dr. Patton says, “but most ICUs still use an open model, due to lack of intensivists.”

For that reason, Arnold says, “We are lucky to have Dr. Patton to provide his leadership in helping Monmouth Medical Center provide truly exceptional care.

Maureen Bowe, R.N., Bill Arnold, president and CEO of Monmouth Medical Center, Fariborz “Bobby” Rezai, M.D., and Chandler Dean Patton, M.D

What is Critical Care Medicine?

According to the society of critical care medicine, an intensivist provides critical care, which is the long-term treatment of patients who have an illness that threatens their life. It is different from emergency medicine, which is the short-term treatment of those patients, and the treatment of patients who have a minor injury, such as a sprained ankle or a broken arm.

Source: The Society of Critical Care Medicine 

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