A team of health-care professionals at the University of Virginia Health System’s Transitional Care Hospital has found a way to provide more accurate patient-hydration measurements while also reducing a patient’s risk of infection. In addition to proving a better method of patient care, the process led to the National Association of Long Term Hospitals giving its 2013 Goldberg Innovation Award to U.Va.
Devoted to patients who require long-term acute care, the Transitional Care Hospital provides an alternative to extended stays in the Health System’s intensive care units.
For chronically, critically ill patients, accurately measuring fluid balance – the amount of fluid a patient takes in and their urinary output – is a key piece of information in detecting problems and providing the best care.
Dr. Sharon Esau, medical director at the Transitional Care Hospital, came up with a new method to measure the fluids in super-absorbent pads used by patients; that pre-empted the need to use catheters and bags to capture and measure urinary output, which can cause infections.
The results were immediate; staff received more accurate output measures to help make better patient-care decisions while reducing catheter use by 33 percent and cutting the rate of catheter-associated infections.
The national award is given annually for an innovative process or technology used in a long-term care hospital.