Respir Care. 2020 Aug 25:respcare.07960. doi: 10.4187/respcare.07960. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: High-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) is an option for respiratory support in patients with acute hypoxic respiratory failure. To improve patient outcomes, reduce ICU-associated costs, and ease ICU bed availability, a multi-phased, comprehensive strategy was implemented to make HFNC available outside the ICU under the supervision of pulmonology or trauma providers in cooperation with a dedicated respiratory therapy team. The purpose of this study was to describe the education and implementation process for initiating HFNC therapy outside the ICU and to convey key patient demographics and outcomes from the implementation period.
METHODS: HFNC therapy was implemented at a tertiary hospital in the Midwest, with systematic roll-out to all in-patient floors over a 9-month period. Utilization of the therapy and patient outcomes were tracked to ensure safety and efficacy of the effort.
RESULTS: During the implementation period, 346 unique subjects met study inclusion criteria. Median (interquartile range) hospital length of stay was 8 d (4-12), and median duration of HFNC therapy was 44 h (18-90). Two thirds of subjects (n = 238) received the entire course of HFNC therapy outside the ICU, and more than half of subjects (n = 184) avoided the ICU for their entire hospitalization. Moreover, 6% of subjects in the study group escalated from HFNC to noninvasive ventilation, and 5% of subjects escalated from HFNC to mechanical ventilation.
CONCLUSIONS: A comprehensive implementation process and a robust therapy protocol were integral to initiating and managing HFNC in all hospital locations. Study findings indicate that patients with acute hypoxic respiratory failure can safely receive HFNC therapy outside the ICU with appropriate patient selection and staff education.