BACKGROUND: Patients with respiratory failure needing mechanical ventilation are common in the intensive care unit. These patients often require sedative and analgesic agents to alleviate their discomfort and to avoid causing associated safety issues. However, prolonged post-awakening confusion and changes in perception after withdrawal from sedatives and analgesic agents are common in daily practice. Thus, the optimal use of sedative and analgesic agents remains an important issue in the intensive care unit.
PURPOSE: To optimize sedation by raising the rate of accuracy for administering analgesic and sedative agents in the intensive care unit from 30.44% to 60.88%.
METHODS: We first analyzed the problem from the current situation of the daily practice and revised the protocol of using analgesic and sedative agents. In order to achieve an optimal outcome, the authors further arranged staff education and bedside training and established an audit system to check and improve protocol adherence.
RESULTS: The rate of accuracy for administering sedatives and analgesics improved from 34% to 93%.
CONCLUSIONS: With appropriately scaled protocols of sedatives and analgesics administration, intensive care nurses may easily target the consistent and optimal assessment and provide pain relief prior to sedation, which will improve the quality of sedation and patient safety.